Saturday, June 12, 2004

JOHN SADLEIR and WILLIAM KEOGH - 19th Century Irish Turncoats .......

....... Ireland , 18th Century ; as a race , we had almost been ground down - 'Landlords' , over-crowding , poverty , hunger, depression ; a "wretched and destitute people" , as the philosopher Berkeley called us . The British 'ruling class' , too , put the boot in .......

" I hoped to be excused for representing to His Majesty the miserable situation of the lower ranks of His subjects in this kingdom , that from the rapaciousness of their unfeeling landlords and the restrictions on their trade , they are amongst the most wretched people on earth . "

- that was said in 1770 , by the then British Viceroy , who was apparently content to simply report to "His Majesty" on the poverty in this country and not do anything about it . Then , in 1776 , an English agricultural specialist , a Mr. (or should that be 'Master' ?) Arthur Young , wrote (re his visit to Ireland) -

- " Landlords of consequence have assured me that many of their cottiers (ie 'tenants') would think themselves honoured by having their wives or daughters sent for to the bed of their masters , a mark of slavery that proves the oppression under which such people live . The cottages of the Irish, which are called cabins, are the most miserable-looking hovels that can well be conceived .

The furniture of the cabins is as bad as the architecture ; in very many consisting only of a pot for boiling their potatoes , a bit of a table , and one or two broken stools . Beds are not found universally , the family lying on straw . "

So the only time an Irish female slept in a bed was when "her master" was in it - and Irishmen were "honoured" when that happened ! As Oscar Wilde said - " To know nothing about their great men is one of the necessary elements of English education . " Enough said ...



war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.


"....... Ireland 1921 ; we were preparing to ambush a patrol of British Auxiliaries near the Macroom Road in Cork ....... "

" We could not get a clear view of the road from where we were , so we decided to send the two local IRA Volunteers across the road into Clohina Wood ; my uncle went with them . They crossed the river by the little plank bridge , and soon signalled to us from an excellent position in the Wood . We had not long to wait - one of our two riflemen returned with a suggestion that their position would be a good one for the Lewis-Gun . I had just told him that since we had little hope of stopping the British lorries , I was going to follow them down the road with a raking fire , and that I had command of all the four hundred yards to Aha Tiompain .

He agreed that I was in a better position , and had mounted the fence to leave when I dragged him down again - the first lorry was almost on the firing line . The chagrin of our riflemen was terrible - my comrade made a movement as if to dash down the steep slope to the road , as he had left his rifle on the other side . I tried to console him - " It will be all right , " I said , " Dan will take care of it . " As if in answer , a rifle spoke loudly from Clohina Wood ; I opened fire into a steel-plated lorry . The British Auxiliaries sat on the floor of that lorry , around the sides , their legs extended inwards . It passed from my sight for the time being , so I turned my attention to the next lorry , and favoured each with a burst of fire , then quickly changed the drum for a full one .

Six British lorries were now speeding down the road to Aha Tiompain - I enfiladed them generally , and the rifles near me were still firing at right-angles to the road . Soon the six lorries , three Tenders and three steel-plated Crossleys , passed from my sight just beyond the cross-roads . The seventh and last British Tender had stopped just underneath us ; it was quite close , too close to sight it even , for it had been 'ditched' under the lee of a high bank . We could not locate a single one of its occupants , but some of them appeared to be very active , for they maintained a heavy fire at us . Our two riflemen in Clohina Wood could not see them because of a thick hedge , on their side of the road . The Auxies could not cross the road to fire through the hedge because of us , but they tried another method .

Crouching under the bank on our side , the Auxies fired grenades over the hedge - but these fell in the Wood and exploded with a lot of noise but did no harm to us . We had brought no hand grenades with us , and now regretted it , for a few grenades dropped over the bank would have routed-out the Auxiliaries on to the road again . It would have been madness to cross the fence and run down the steep slope to fire down on them , so the only method left was to send a few men to have at them from the Renanirree side , if possible ......."


ETHIOPIA - A Brief History .......

(First published in 'HOT PRESS' Magazine , 6th May 1988 , Volume 12 , No. 8 , page 28).

Re-produced here in 10 parts .

(2 of 10).

The Tigreans have been fighting their own battle for independence since the mid-70's ; lately they've been making some progress militarily , the two guerilla groups having delivered a double blow to the Ethiopians around St. Patricks Day last (ie 17th March 1988). The Tigreans attacked the legendary 'royal' city of Axum , while the Eritreans won a critical tank battle in the North . The Ethiopian government's response was swift and dramatic - 'National Mobilisation' was ordered and the government signed an accord with Somalia which would let them re-deploy troops from the South-Eastern frontier for Northern duty . Meanwhile , they evacuated all foreign relief workers from the troubled regions .

In famine terms , the effect could be devastating - even before this latest crisis , Aregani Hajos , Regional Chief of the government's 'Relief and Rehabilitation' Commission estimated that at least two million of the combined 5.7 million population of Eritrea and Tigre were in peril . The famine itself , he believed , was worse than it was in 1984 - 1985 , with only improved logistics and organisation saving the people from equal or greater devastation .

With the escalation of war activities and the evacuation of relief workers , those buffers are no longer in operation . The prospect , indeed , is bleak .......