It seems history is repeating itself, and once again the Irish have to play second fiddle to to third worlders. In the past Irish Slaves to the Americas were treated far worse than black slaves (a well hidden fact) because they were only worth 5 Pounds as opposed to 50 Pounds for a black slave. Not only were there more Irish slaves (another fact the British have kept well hidden), but there was a deliberate program of forced interbreeding between Africans and Irish to make the black slaves more appealing to fetch higher prices. (We get to the gory details further down…)
And now history seems to be repeating itself with Obama seeming to prefer bringing in untold numbers of economic migrants from South America and Third World countries whilst ignoring a bill that is meant to help the 50,000 undocumented Irish living in the shadowy illegal world in USA.
Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins acknowledged the “shadowy” lives and “insecurity” endured by undocumented Irish living in the United States and has pledged that they will never be left aside.
Higgins told the audience that he is “very, very well aware” of what living without documentation must feel like, “the risks and the shadowy life a person has to live sometimes”, and the “continuing insecurity not only for oneself but for others”.
“There are people who are working very hard and contributing to the economy and they are suffering…because of the circumstances in which they find themselves,” he said.
Michael D Higgins promises plight of Irish undocumented will never be ignored.
The President said that the estimated 50,000+ undocumented Irish living the US, working without visas had not only the president’s office’s “hopes and prayers” but also said they were working on a “practical agenda of work” to help them, the Irish Times reports.
Higgins said “We couldn’t have a better or more competent person advancing what is a very important issue for Ireland.”
The event at the United Irish Cultural Center was attended by more than 140 guests, many of them immigrants.
The President said there was nothing more important than caring for immigrants, no matter when the left Ireland. He also commented on those present and what rich and fulfilling lives they had created in their new home.
Currently on Capitol Hill, Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin who has served in the House since 1979, will offer the bill that would allow the Irish access to the unused portion of Australia’s E-3 visa program which was created in 2005 and grants 10,500 high-skilled visas exclusively for Australian nationals each year. Although this will allow for a future flow of Irish immigration into the States it will not resolve the issue to for those who are undocumented.
Speaking to The Irish Voice, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said that it’s important for the Irish to support this bill but added that he is “disappointed” that despite efforts there has not been any progress on US immigration reform. He added that is unlikely that any legislation would be enacted during President Barack Obama’s administration but that immigration reform will remains a top priority.
“Every minister who visits the U.S. has the issue top of their agenda,” Flanagan said. “We recognize that a special dispensation for the Irish is not going to happen. Nevertheless, we feel that in the context of the matter being addressed overall, the shadow must be lifted from thousands of Irish citizens here.
“This is not,” Flanagan added, “just a St. Patrick’s Day issue. And in spite of a lack of progress, we will endure.”
President Higgins was visiting San Francisco as part of an eight-day visit to the west coast of the United States. The main focus of the visit has been on his trips to Seattle and San Francisco. He has scheduled meetings at both Microsoft in Seattle and Google in San Francisco, where the President will meeting with the significant number of Irish staff members.
President Michael D Higgins will visit San Francisco to meet representatives of the arts and cultural community on Monday. He also made the keynote speech on global hunger and poverty the University of California.
On Wednesday he will plant a tree in Berkeley in memory of the five Irish students, and one Irish American student who died there in June. He will also visit the first-responders, volunteers and everyone who helped following the tragic balcony collapse.
An example of how the British Elite saw the Irish in the past
The Irish came as slaves; vast human cargo transported on tall British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women, and even the youngest of children.
Whenever they rebelled or even disobeyed an order, they were punished in the harshest ways. Slave owners would hang their human property by their hands and set their hands or feet on fire as one form of punishment. They were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.
We don’t really need to go through all of the gory details, do we? We know all too well the atrocities of the slave trade.
Yes, we are NOT talking about African slavery! King James II and Charles I also led a continued effort to enslave the Irish. Britain’s famed Oliver Cromwell furthered this practice of dehumanizing one’s next door neighbor.
The Irish slave trade began when James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World. His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.
Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.
From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.
During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.
Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.
As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.
African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African. The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.
In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.
England continued to ship tens of thousands of Irish slaves for more than a century. Records state that, after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, thousands of Irish slaves were sold to both America and Australia. There were horrible abuses of both African and Irish captives. One British ship even dumped 1,302 slaves into the Atlantic Ocean so that the crew would have plenty of food to eat.
There is little question that the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is, also, very little question that those brown, tanned faces you witness in your travels to the West Indies are very likely a combination of African and Irish ancestry. In 1839, Britain finally decided on it’s own to end it’s participation in Satan’s highway to hell and stopped transporting slaves. While their decision did not stop pirates from doing what they desired, the new law slowly concluded THIS chapter of nightmarish Irish misery.
But, if anyone, black or white, believes that slavery was only an African experience, then they’ve got it completely wrong.
Irish slavery is a subject worth remembering, not erasing from our memories.
But, where are our public (and PRIVATE) schools???? Where are the history books? Why is it so seldom discussed?
Do the memories of hundreds of thousands of Irish victims merit more than a mention from an unknown writer?
Or is their story to be one that their English pirates intended: To (unlike the African book) have the Irish story utterly and completely disappear as if it never happened.
None of the Irish victims ever made it back to their homeland to describe their ordeal. These are the lost slaves; the ones that time and biased history books conveniently forgot.