SIR – There are copious amounts of amnesia about what the British Empire really entailed, the fact that they didn’t really teach colonial history in their schools, the children doing A-Levels in hHistory didn’t learn a single line of Colonial History. There is no real awareness of all the atrocities.
The fact that Britain financed its industrial revolution and its prosperity from the depredations of the Empire.
Remember India, one of the richest countries in the world in the early 18th century, was reduced after 200 years of plunder, with mass killings, executions of unknown numbers accused of a crime and immediately killed without the benefit of a full and fair trial, greedy landlords and famine, to one of the poorest in the world.
Closer to home, we in Ireland suffered the same fate with plundering, killings of men women and children, penal laws and famine. But let’s be honest they blamed the failure of the potato crop for the famine in Ireland, but Ireland had more than enough of food to feed itself but all the wheat, barley and beef, etc was confiscated and shipped to Britain to feed their own.
All of that is not really known or taught in Britain’s schools. All of us need to be aware of history.
As I always say to young people, ‘if you don’t know where you came from, how will you appreciate where you are going?’ Today, India has a far stronger economy than Britain.
In 1921 this country was partitioned and, to this very day, London is still financially feeding its colonial legacy to Northern Ireland, the economic injustices which creates a lot of problems in giving young people hope, opportunity and above all dignity.
Today we should concentrate on things that we can change in our lives and the lives of others and not lose time on concerns that are beyond our powers with our minds focused on the present since our future is determined by our actions in the present.
This is also true of the past. You don’t have any power over the future or the past. However, you have the power to act in the present in order to direct the course of the future.
Now that Brexit is beginning to tremble like the volcano before its eruption, I ask is the time now right to hold an inclusive All-Ireland conference, chaired by a US representative, to discuss everything that is relevant to the 32 counties of Ireland, with all parties, North and South, at the table – without fear or favour? Then, take the best of each party’s policy from each grouping and gel them together in an amalgam of what the Irish people want.
You could then say that we learned a lot from the good ideas each party has, which we could all embrace. It is time we put our differences aside, join together and get the job done for the future of Ireland.
Life holds a special magic for those who dare to dream.
Michael O’Sullivan, Kilkinnikin Upper, Allihies, Beara.