Irish nationalists play colonial victim at home but they benefited abroad

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

When P McEvoy (May 18) and others talk about ethnic cleansing and planting of Ireland by Britain, I feel a lily white tone from Irish nationalists as if to say they wouldn’t do that.

But they did.

They were compliant with ethnic cleansing of North America.

Native American (Indians) were displaced by large numbers of European settlers in the 1800s. The natives were forced to migrate long distances from their homelands to reservations.

A migration widely known as the Trail of Tears because thousands died of disease, starvation and exhaustion. The final defeat of the Native Americans took place in 1890 when some 200 unarmed Sioux men, women and children were killed at Wounded Knee Creek by US government forces.

With the land ethnically cleansed, the rest of the world moved in, including Irish nationalists – where once the buffalo roamed you will today find an Irish pub not too far away.

The removal of the indigenous people was enforced by the Washington government. Yet this doesn’t stop Irish nationalism descending on the American capital every year on March 17 to fawn around the US president – do they seek justice for the Wounded Knee 200?

I think not.

Such is the desire to ingratiate themselves with the Washington elite some will wait outside the White House for up to ninety minutes before giving up and whimpering away.

Every year the Irish triumphantly march down Fifth Avenue in New York on St Patrick’s Day, so regular now that it must surely be considered a traditional route.

But you won’t find any ‘concerned residents’ blocking this march as the original Native American culture has been buried under the concrete which the Irish now proudly step on.

Many nationalities settled in America (including Ulster Scots) but Irish nationalism is unique because while it plays victim to colonisation at home it benefited from colonisation abroad.

It is Irish nationalism’s dirty little secret and when challenged by it will go straight into denial mode followed quickly by a reflex urge to list every British injustice in Ireland for the last 800 years so as to deflect away from the uncomfortable truth.

It is all somewhat sanctimonious and hypocritical.

Thomas Stewart, Belfast