Tag Archive | Ireland

Sinn Fein’s Breakthrough Brings a United Ireland Closer Than Ever Before*

Sinn Fein’s Breakthrough Brings a United Ireland Closer Than Ever Before*

By John Wight

It would be fair to say that Sinn Fein’s historic electoral breakthrough in the recent elections to Northern Ireland’s devolved Assembly legislature has taken almost everyone by surprise, including them.

With this breakthrough Sinn Fein (in English “we ourselves”) has just shattered the veto of the ruling Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for the first time since the Northern Ireland Assembly was established in 1998, along with the province’s power-sharing government, as part of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought an end to three decades of conflict known as the Troubles.

The new Assembly elections were held after Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness resigned from his post as deputy first minister in protest at the refusal of the Assembly’s first minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, to step down over a financial scandal surrounding a botched renewable energy scheme that she helped to set up and which is set to cost taxpayers in Northern Ireland up to £480 million (US$586m).

Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams, right, and Martin McGuinness speak to the media at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.


Yet though this particular scandal and Arlene Foster’s intransigence may be the proximate cause of the bad feeling between Sinn Fein and the DUP, various unresolved political and sectarian issues emanating from the Troubles also lie at its heart.

For many unionists both inside and outwith the DUP, political parity with Sinn Fein and the Irish republican and the Catholic communities they represent has always been anathema. It has been this way ever since the partitioned British statelet of Northern Ireland was established in 1921, out of the negotiations that ended the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-21. Northern Ireland’s Catholic minority, cut off from the Catholic majority Irish Republic south of the border, were over succeeding generations denied the same civil rights as the Protestant majority in the province.

The modern conflict, the Troubles, erupted in the late 1960s when a mass civil rights movement — non-violent, non-sectarian and peaceful — emerged in Northern Ireland to demand those civil rights for Catholic still denied justice and equality when it came to housing, employment, and political representation. When the movement began to win concessions from the British government the Protestant majority began to feel their dominant position and status under threat, resulting in a wave of sectarian-inspired attacks on Catholic communities in Belfast. It was the need to defend Catholics from this campaign of terror that saw the birth of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), colloquially known as the Provos, in 1969.

Attacks on the civil rights movement continued into the 1970s, culminating in Bloody Sunday in January 1972, when soldiers belonging to the elite British Parachute Regiment shot and killed 17 unarmed protesters in Derry during a mass march for civil rights. This event effectively destroyed the province’s non-violent movement for civil rights, while at the same time increasing support and recruitment to the PIRA.

Young Catholic rioters hurl projectiles 02 March 1972 in Londonderry at British soldiers during a rally protesting the 30 January “Bloody Sunday” killing by British paratroopers of 13 Catholics civil rights marchers in Londonderry.


Roughly 3,600 people were killed during the Troubles, with thousands more maimed and injured. It was a conflict in which atrocities were committed by all sides. It’s high point, its apogee, was the 1981 Hunger Strikes, in which ten republican prisoners at the specially built prison facility just outside Belfast, the H-Blocks, starved themselves to death in protest at the British government’s removal of their status as political prisoners.

The man who led the Hunger Strike and was first to die, Bobby Sands, achieved international fame and recognition. He was lauded around the world by the likes of Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela for his courage and stance in the cause of national liberation. His detractors dismissed and continue to dismiss Bobby Sands as a terrorist, however, along with his comrades. It is a polarization that is still entrenched in Northern Irish politics up to the present day, one that is evident in the current spat between Sinn Fein and the DUP over the position of Arlene Foster.

Northern Ireland First Minister and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster arrives to make a statement at Parliament Buildings in Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland, January 16, 2017.


Another important factor in Sinn Fein’s remarkable electoral breakthrough is the party’s opposition to Brexit. A majority of people in Northern Ireland voted to Remain in the E.U. during the U.K.wide referendum on the issue, held in June 2016. This was no surprise considering that the province has benefited significantly from the U.K.’s membership of the E.U. in the form of agricultural and various other subsidies.

Brexit throws up the issue of the border between British controlled Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, which remains part of the E.U. The prospect of what is currently an open border being changed to a hard border as a result of Brexit, has given rise to serious concerns north and south of the border over a peace process that is far from impervious to such significant political and social shocks.

Ultimately, Sinn Fein’s growing political success and influence in Northern Ireland is testament to the party’s strong opposition to Brexit and a political vision that is far more progressive and compelling than any offered by their unionist opponents and counterparts.

It also places the question of a united Ireland firmly back on the table.


Related Topics:

Northern Ireland Activist Mounts Legal Challenge against Brexit*

After Brexit Scotland, Ireland Referendum to Leave U.K.*

Ireland Marks 100 Years Since Easter Rising Rebellion Against British Rule*

Ireland’s Largest Multinational Company Disinvests from Israel*

Ireland Refuses to Extradite Man to US Because Prison System is too Inhumane*

‘I’ for Iceland and Now Ireland Collaring the Real Criminals, the Banksters*

St. Patrick’s Day*

Winston Churchill’s Brutal Oppression of the liberty-loving Irish*

How a Meeting in Cork Could Save Rural Europe*

How a Meeting in Cork Could Save Rural Europe*

By Ramona Duminicioiu, Stanka Becheva

Three small-scale Romanian farms disappear every hour as a result of national legislation that was crafted with large producers in mind.

Stanka Becheva campaigns on food and farming at Friends of the Earth Europe and Ramona Duminicioiu is a Romanian peasant farmer and coordination committee member of the European Coordination Via Campesina.

Cork, a picturesque city in South-West Ireland might not ring a bell to many people, and the event taking place there this week even less: the Cork European Conference on Rural Development. Unless, of course, you’re somehow involved – for better or for worse – in the European Union’s agricultural debate.

But the impact of this meeting goes beyond farmers or those working in the food sector; they will impact on the future of the entire continent, because whether you live in the city or in the countryside, we all eat. And – with a few exceptions – that food comes from our rural areas.

This year’s conference, which marks 20 years since the signing of the then-groundbreaking Cork Declaration, will take place amidst waves of unrest and crises affecting E.U. farmers. Oddly enough, the document signed in 1996 intended to avoid this.

It highlighted the uniqueness of our rural areas, the need to preserve them and the importance of sustainable rural development, local biodiversity and cultural identity. Policymakers could already see the tell-tale signs that the magic promised by industrial farming had a catch: environmental, social and economic catastrophe.

The assessment made two decades ago in Cork would spread to other fora, as well as European and international institutions. It was the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s turn in 2014 to recognise the important role small-scale family farms played by declaring that year the International Year of Family Farming and later in the year its General Assembly endorsed the need to end hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture in its sustainable development goals.

However, things on the ground have been moving in the opposite direction.

The latest reforms of the E.U.’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have tipped the scales towards big industrial faming and the consequences on the ground are stark. The attention and funds going towards measures supporting rural areas and sustainable small scale production are dwarfed by the money spent on supporting the conventional food and faming system.

The knock-on effects cannot be overstated: just 3% of farms now dominate half of the continent’s farmland. Meanwhile, the drop in milk prices triggered by CAP-driven overproduction has pushed thousands of dairy farmers to abandon their livelihoods and hundreds in countries such as France to suicide. E.U. inaction to redress this is simply consolidating the power of ‘1,000 cow farms’ and wiping the rest from the map.

Corporate food producers are also given a helping hand through proposed free trade deals such as the TTIP and CETA. Through these two, Europe’s small and medium farms wouldn’t stand much of a chance against a flood of cheap US factory farm imports. Only the big and powerful would survive, the devoted followers of an economy of scale approach.

This summer, some national governments have started to wake up to these crises, and are slowly starting to improve policies.

Many of these come in response to the threat of farming wipe-out from abroad – or through the TTIP, should it be agreed. In Romania, large supermarkets will soon have to source at least 51% of their vegetables, meat, fruit, honey, eggs and dairy from ‘short supply chains’ – in other words, food produced in the country.

France will soon introduce mandatory labels of origin for dairy and meat products – and Italy, Lithuania and Portugal may follow suit, while Poland will introduce a voluntary ‘Produkt Polski’ scheme for processed meat in 2017.

Others tackle social and health issues. A recently passed bill in Italy aims to tackle pervasive poor labour conditions, while two German supermarkets have pledged to cut products from cattle reared on GM feed.

These policies are far from complete – the Romanian law – drafted under pressure from large farmers’ unions at the expense of peasants – leaves the definition of ‘short supply chains’ open to interpretation and fails to address supermarket strangleholds over contract negotiations. Labelling schemes alone do not go far enough, and the flip-side of formalising labour laws means undocumented migrant workers lose out.

These individual government actions highlight the failures of the current CAP, and its inability to propose collective solutions to common problems.

Away from capital cities, the real action is happening – as ever – locally, where grassroots movements and those working at the local level are streets ahead of policymakers. Across Europe, supply chains are being cut by local initiatives, with community-supported agriculture projects and farmers’ markets re-localising food and re-empowering farmers.

At the epicentre of the fight back is Romania, where three small farms disappear every hour. This October in Cluj-Napoca, around six hundred small-scale farmers, peasants, indigenous peoples, academics, local politicians and more will meet for Europe’s largest-ever food sovereignty gathering – the second European Nyéléni forum. On the menu: a bottom-up reorganisation of Europe’s food system that empowers farmers and promotes sustainable farming practices.

So, hope and alternatives do exist and are expanding. But local initiatives need to be bolstered by public policies, supported by regulation and public funds. Which is why at this year’s Cork conference EU policymakers must face the facts: it’s time to move away from corporate, industrial agriculture and back to the spirit of the original Cork declaration of 1996: boosting genuinely sustainable, community-supported agriculture.


Related Topics:

A Victory for Farmers, Consumers and Environment

Can’t See the British Woods Without the Trees

Time to Ban Land Grab

Netherlands: German Supermarket Chain Bans Israeli Goods

Return to the Land: When Necessity and Logic Means Wisdom

From the Seed – Dinner Table, to be under EU Control

NWO: Landgrab a European Reality*

Scotland’s Eigg Island: Self Sufficient and Owned by its Residents*

Corporate Landgrab Deprives Small Farmers Who Feed the World- with Less than a Quarter of all Farmland*

More Reason to Hold onto Scotland: Cameron Follows Black Gold to the Shetlands*

Farmers Abandoned by EU from Russian Food Ban*

From Factory Farming to the Dinner Plate: Livestock Sicker than Ever Due to Antibiotics*

How UK investors Devastated Tanzanian Farmers*

Scotland to Ban Growing Genetically Modified Crops*

Scotland Just Banned Fracking Forever*

Brazil Arrests Top Olympic Official for Tickets Racketeering Valued over $3 Million*

Brazil Arrests Top Olympic Official for Tickets Racketeering Valued over $3 Million*

By Amando Flavio

Police in Brazil, where the 2016 Olympic Games are ongoing, have arrested a top official of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for illegal sale of tickets valued over a whopping $3 million.

Patrick Hickey was arrested by the Rio police on August 17, 2016 at his hotel, following revelations of his involvement in spearheading the illegal sale of tickets for the games on the black market.

Until his arrest, Hickey was the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), and also the president of the European Olympic Committee (EOC). Again, Hickey has been an executive board member of the IOC since 2012.

OCI has since issued a statement that Hickey has stepped down from his position as the country’s Olympic chief. He has been replaced with William O’Brien. The EOC has also said Hickey will be replaced by his deputy, Janez Kocijancic as he faces charges in Rio. The IOC, on the other hand said it is conducting its own internal investigations on the issue.

According to the account of the story narrated by Brazilian media, at the beginning of the games, police had received complaints from concerned Brazilian citizens that some top officials of the IOC are conniving with unscrupulous locals, organizing sales of tickets on the black market.

The former Brazilian famous footballer now-turned politician, Romário de Souza Faria, started the allegation of ticket racketeering before the games. Reports suggest Romário specifically mentioned Hickey as the IOC official planning to sell the illegal tickets.

With this lead intelligence, Brazilian police closely monitored Hickey since his arrival in the country for the games. Investigators said they uncovered a group of people they described as “Cartel,” who Hickey had formed, to sell tickets he supplied to them. The police claimed specifically that Hickey tasked the people he recruited to resell the tickets at a higher price than their face value. They said the scheme could have had profits of 10 million Brazilian Reals ($3.1m).

According to The Rio Times, these tickets Hickey gave to his cartel, were tickets given to the OCI by the IOC.

Police reportedly pursued Hickey’s arrest at his hotel in the Barra district of Rio, after establishing these facts. However, Hickey was informed that the police were looking for him, going into hiding in his son’s room in the same hotel. It is believed Hickey had sent his son to the games to help in the sale of the illegal tickets.

However, eventually police arrested him. After Hickey was arrested, he reportedly fell ill and was sent to hospital for medical care, before relocating to the police station for questioning.

Apart from Hickey, police officials have also recommended the arrest and charging of three executives from Ireland, also guilty of reselling tickets for the games. These executives are wanted for illegal resale of tickets, criminal association and fraudulent marketing.

Aljazeera reports of two people arrested in Rio de Janeiro in August, following allegations of Olympic tickets sold on the black market, that were earmarked for the OCI, in the city ahead of the games.

One of the three arrested, Kevin Mallon, an Irishman is said to be the director of a top sports hospitality company, THG Sports. He was alleged to have resold some of the tickets illegally at inflated prices, upwards to $7,800. Police said they recovered from him, more than 800 top-class tickets for the Games.

Before the commencement of the games in Rio, the city’s police were placed on high alert over possible protests against the games. Brazil’s serious economic challenges have its majority of its population wallowing in poverty. Despite the challenges, country officials have ignored these problems, spending millions of dollars on building infrastructure to host the games. This has infuriated many concerned citizens of the country.


Related Topics:

U.S. Olympic Swimmers Fabricated Robbery Story to Cover Damaging Gas Station*

Syrian Athletes at the Olympics are Categorized as “Refugees”*

Olympic Chefs Feeding Rio’s Poor*

Police use Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets against Protesting Brazilian Students*

Northern Ireland Activist Mounts Legal Challenge against Brexit*

Northern Ireland Activist Mounts Legal Challenge against Brexit*

Other legal challenges being brought against Brexit also say the government has no legal power to trigger a formal divorce from the E.U.

A Northern Ireland human rights activist has launched a legal challenge against any British attempt to leave the European Union, saying it would be in breach of the 1998 peace deal that brought peace to the British province.

Raymond McCord’s move is one of several attempts being made to use the courts to stave off a British exit from the E.U.

Northern Ireland voted on June 23 to stay in the E.U., with 56% voting “remain,” putting it at odds with the United Kingdom’s overall 52-48% result in favour of leaving.

Senior Northern Ireland politicians have warned that a British exit could undermine the province’s 1998 Good Friday Agreement peace deal by reinstating a hard border with the Republic of Ireland and by undermining the legal basis for the deal, which contains references to the E.U.

Lawyers representing McCord, whose son was shot dead by pro-British militants in Belfast in 1997, said they had lodged papers in the High Court in Belfast Thursday and were hoping for an initial hearing next week.

McCord is arguing that the British government would be in breach of its domestic and international treaty obligations under the Good Friday Agreement if it leaves the E.U. and that it would be illegal to leave without a parliamentary vote in the British House of Commons.


Related Topics:

E.U. Begins to Fracture post-BREXIT*

Greeks Send an Open Letter to U.K. Citizens about Brexit*

The Americans Declared Independence From Us. We Can Do the Same*

Lord Rothschild Demands Britain Stay in E.U.*

Brexit is a Blow to the Oligarchs*

After ‘Brexit’ Scotland, Ireland Referendum to Leave U.K.*

After ‘Brexit’ Scotland, Ireland Referendum to Leave U.K.*

Scottish and Irish leaders have wasted no time in calling for independence after Britain’s vote to leave the E.U.

Northern Ireland’s deputy leader Martin McGuinness called Friday for a vote to unite the two sides of the Irish border just as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also said a referendum on Scottish independence was “highly likely” after the Brexit referendum resulted in a decision on the United Kingdom leaving the E.U.

After 56%of Northern Irish voters sought to remain in the E.U compared to the 52% of the United Kingdom as a whole who voted to leave, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness demanded that London call a referendum on a united Ireland.

“The British government now has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the North in any future negotiations with the European Union and I do believe that there is a democratic imperative for a ‘border poll’ to be held,” McGuinness told national Irish broadcaster RTE.

“The implications for all of us on the island of Ireland are absolutely massive. This could have very profound implications for our economy (in Northern Ireland).”

Ireland has the EU’s fastest-growing economy but also more to lose from Brexit than any other member state, with far-reaching implications for its trade, economy, security of energy supplies and peace in British-ruled Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile Scotland also voted in favour of staying in the EU in Thursday’s referendum by a margin of 62% to 38%, putting it at odds with Britain as a whole.

“It is a statement of the obvious that the option of a second referendum must be on the table and it is on the table,” Sturgeon told reporters.

“I think an independence referendum is now highly likely.”

Sturgeon said it would be “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be forced to leave the EU through Britain’s exit when Scottish people clearly voted for staying in the bloc.

“I want to make it absolutely clear today that I intend to take all possible steps and explore all options to give effect to how people in Scotland voted, in other words to secure our continuing place in the E.U. and in the single market,” she added.

Scotland held a referendum on whether to separate from the U.K. in 2014, when 44% of Scottish voters favoured a more for independence. Sturgeon said that she was proud of how Scotland voted in the Brexit referendum.


Related Topics:

Greeks Send an Open Letter to U.K. Citizens about Brexit*

U.K. FCA given 24 hr Notice to accept Gold Currency offer of Swissindo in all U.K. Banks*

More Reason to Hold onto Scotland: Cameron Follows Black Gold to the Shetlands*

How Blair Conspired with Whitehall for Ownership of Scottish Oil Fields*

For the People, to the Scots*

Accusations of Rigged Scottish Referendum*

Ireland Marks 100 Years Since Easter Rising Rebellion Against British Rule*

Recent French Revolt 11 Weeks Strong and Counting*

Ireland Latest E.U. State to Defend BDS*

Ireland Latest E.U. State to Defend BDS*

By Kevin Squires

A Palestine solidarity contingent takes part in the Reclaim the Vision of 1916 march in Dublin, on 24 April, marking 100 years since Ireland’s Easter Rising. (via Facebook)


In another blow to the Israeli campaign to criminalize Palestine solidarity activism, the Irish government has affirmed that the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement represents a “legitimate” means of protest “intended to pressure Israel into ending the occupation.”

In the Irish parliament on Thursday, foreign minister Charles Flanagan stated that “while the government does not itself support such a policy,” the BDS movement holds a “legitimate political viewpoint” and that the government does “not agree with attempts to demonize those who advocate this policy.”

Second blow in a week

This is the second major setback Israel has suffered this week to its campaign to delegitimize and criminalize the global movement within the European Union and other Western states.

Ireland is the third E.U. government to make such a statement in recent months.

Earlier this week, Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders said that

“statements or meetings concerning BDS are protected by freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as enshrined in the Dutch constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

In March, the Swedish foreign ministry stated that BDS “is a civil society movement. Governments should not interfere in civil society organization views.”

At Israel’s urging, governments in the U.S., U.K., France, Canada and elsewhere are attempting to introduce anti-democratic legislation, and taking other repressive measures to undermine the BDS movement.

Israel has also said that it is using its intelligence services to spy on BDS activists around the world.

Gilad Erdan, the Israeli cabinet minister charged with combating the global movement, described BDS activists as threats, saying they must “pay the price” for their campaign work.

“With the Netherlands and Ireland joining Sweden in defending the right to advocate and campaign for Palestinian rights under international law through BDS, Israel’s attempt to get BDS outlawed in Europe and to bully its supporters into silence have been dealt a serious blow,” said Riya Hassan, Europe coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

“Israel’s attacks on our movement appear to be backfiring as they have led to European governments and some of the world’s most famous human rights organizations and political organizations across Europe and the world speaking out in defence of our right to advocate BDS,” Hassan added.

“Across European civil society, there is a fast spreading recognition of the BDS movement as a legitimate form of nonviolent, grassroots human rights advocacy for the U.N.-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people,” Hassan said.

Ireland “deeply concerned” about Omar Barghouti

The Irish foreign minister’s comments came in the context of a parliamentary debate concerning Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti, who is facing politically motivated repression by Israel.

Israel is refusing to renew the travel document of Barghouti, a Palestinian born in the diaspora married to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, preventing him from pursuing his campaign work internationally. He has been told that his permanent residency status is being reviewed.

The human rights groups Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Front Line Defenders have all made statements concerning Barghouti’s liberty and safety, with Amnesty and Front Line Defenders designating him a human rights defender.

Responding to a question from the Anti-Austerity Alliance Member of Parliament Mick Barry, the foreign minister said that

“the E.U. delegation in Israel has asked for clarification of [Barghouti’s] position and we will follow all developments in the case.”

Flanagan added that the government was “deeply concerned about wider [Israeli] attempts to pressure [nongovernmental organizations] and human rights defenders through legislation and other means to hinder their important work. We have raised this both at E.U. level and directly with the Israeli authorities.”

The minister also promised that the Irish government

 “will monitor the ongoing developments in this case in conjunction with the E.U. delegation and as part of our broader engagement in support of the role of human rights defenders and the protection of civil society space.”

Flagging friend of Israel

The Irish government’s position will perhaps be especially galling for Israeli officials as Flanagan is considered to be very friendly towards Israel, having formerly been a member of the small Friends of Israel grouping in the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament.

Before becoming foreign minister in July 2014, as chair of the governing right-wing Fine Gael party, Flanagan was a vocal opponent of the BDS movement.

In 2013 he publicly criticized the Teachers’ Union of Ireland for its adoption of a motion to support the academic boycott of Israel.

In 2012, Flanagan lambasted Trocaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, when it began a campaign asking the Irish government to ban products from Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law, calling the move a “very partisan political campaign that is beyond their remit.”

In a 2013 interview with pro-Israel columnist Carol Hunt, Flanagan made clear his belief that “Israel has been demonized by an Irish media slavishly dancing to the Palestinian drumbeat for decades.”

“Israel has a far better and more progressive record on human rights than any of its neighbours,” Flanagan claimed. “The truth must be told.”

But now it would appear that even for certain officials and governments with sympathies towards Israel, including Flanagan, the latest attacks on the civil society BDS campaign are proving either too anti-democratic or too embarrassing to defend.

Notably, in the Irish general election earlier this year, Israel lost three of its most vocal parliamentary friends; disgraced former minister for justice and defense Alan Shatter of Fine Gael and Joanna Tuffy of the Labour Party lost their seats, while former education minister Ruairi Quinn, also of Labour, did not contest the election.

Tuffy was vice-chair of the small Oireachtas Friends of Israel group.

Meanwhile, a pre-election campaign initiated by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign saw around 40 candidates who were ultimately elected to Ireland’s 158-seat parliament sign pledges opposing the Irish arms trade with Israel and supporting the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement due to Israel’s human rights violations.

Israeli funding booted from literary festival

This wasn’t the only bad news for Israel’s propaganda, or hasbara, efforts in Ireland this week.

On Tuesday, the Listowel Writers’ Week Festival announced it would be refusing funding from the Israeli embassy in Ireland to bring an Israeli writer to the festival.

The issue came to light on Sunday when members of Ireland’s artistic community began highlighting on social media that the festival’s brochure listed an event in which the Israeli embassy was explicitly thanked for its support.

After having been contacted by concerned individuals, including many artists, the organizers announced that the festival would honour its commitment to host the Israeli writer Savyon Liebrecht, but was rejecting the Israeli embassy funding.

This move is in line with cultural boycott guidelines issued by PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which call for a boycott of Israeli institutions, not individuals.

“As a Palestinian woman who is exiled from her homeland, I thank the festival for refusing to take Israeli state funding for this event,” IPSC chair Fatin Al Tamimi said,

“This decision is courageous, principled and absolutely the right thing to do. This is a small, but certainly significant, positive gesture that will be appreciated by the Palestinian people struggling for freedom, justice and equality, whether under Israel’s apartheid regime or living in exile.”


Related Topics:

Netherlands Rejects Calls by Israel to Ban ‘Boycott of Israel’*

Israel to Host International Genocide Conference*

The Heart of the Beast: The Sykes-Picot Agreement and Europe’s Colonial Partition of the Middle East*

Israel is the Organ Harvesting and Human Trafficking Global Ringleader, with Help from U.S. and Turkey*

Donor behind pro-E.U. Campaign Holds Big Stake in Israel’s Apartheid Wall

Israeli Military Prison for Refusing to Join the IDF – this is my letter*

3,000 Year Old Plan – The Real Nakba*

A Guaranteed way to Make the Whole World Islamophobic*

British Government Killed 10 Million Iranians In 1919*

British Government Killed 10 Million Iranians In 1919*

The document in the American Archives, reporting the widespread famine and spread of epidemic disease in Iran, estimates the number of the deceased due to the famine to be about 8-10 million

The Big Three at the Tehran Conference Left to right: Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.

By Sadegh Abbasi

One of the little-known chapters of history was the widespread famine in Iran during World War I, caused by the British presence in Iran. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Britain became the main foreign power in Iran and this famine or–more accurately–‘genocide’ was committed by the British. The document in the American Archives, reporting the widespread famine and spread of epidemic disease in Iran, estimates the number of the deceased due to the famine to be about 8-10 million during 1917-19 (1), making this the greatest genocide of the 20th century and Iran the biggest victim of World War I.

Iranian victims of famine and disease, WWI

It should be noted that Iran had been one of the main suppliers of food grains to the British forces stationed in the empire’s South Asian colonies. Although bad harvest during these two years made the situation worse, it was by no means the main reason why the Great Famine occurred. Prof. Gholi Majd of Princeton University writes in his book, The Great Famine and Genocide in Persia, that  American documents show that the British prevented imports of wheat and other food grains into Iran from Mesopotamia, Asia, and also the USA, and that ships loaded with wheat were not allowed to unload at the port of Bushehr in the Persian Gulf. Professor Majd argues that Great Britain intentionally created genocide conditions to destroy Iran, and to effectively control the country for its own purposes. Major Donohoe describes Iran of that time as a “land of desolation and death”. But this event soon became the subject of a British cover up.

Britain has a long record of its several attempts to conceal history and rewrite it in their own favour. The pages are filled with conspiracies that were covered up by the British government to hide its involvement in different episodes that would tarnish the country’s image. One of the clear examples is the “Jameson Raid”; a failed coup against Paul Kruger’s government in South Africa. This raid was planned and executed directly by the British government of Joseph Chamberlain under the orders of Queen Victoria (4) (5). In 2002, Sir Graham Bower’s memoirs were published in South Africa, revealing these involvements that had been covered up for more than a century, focusing attention on Bower as a scapegoat for the incident.

The terrible famine of 1876-79 was spread out across nearly the whole of southern, western and northern India

The records that were destroyed to cover up British crimes around the globe, or were kept in secret Foreign Office archives, so as to, not only protect the United Kingdom’s reputation, but also to shield the government from litigation, are indicative of the attempts made by the British to evade the consequences of their crimes. The papers at Hanslope Park also include the reports on the “elimination” of the colonial authority’s enemies in 1950s Malaya; records that show ministers in London knew of the torture and murder of Mau Mau insurgents in Kenya and roasting them alive . These records may include those related to Iran’s Great Famine. Why were these records that cover the darkest secrets of the British Empire destroyed or kept secret? Simply because they might ‘embarrass’ Her Majesty’s government.

A famine occurred in Ireland from 1845 until 1852 which killed one fourth of the Irish population. This famine was caused by British policies and faced a large cover up attempt by the British government and crown to blame it on ‘potatoes’. The famine, even today, is famous in the world as the “potato famine” when, in reality, it was a result of a planned food shortage and thus a deliberate genocide by the British government .

The true face of this famine as a genocide has been proven by historian Tim Pat Coogan in his book The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy published by Palgrave MacMillan. A ceremony was planned to take place in the U.S. to unveil Coogan’s book in America, but he was denied a visa by the American embassy in Dublin.

Therefore it becomes obvious that Britain’s role in Iran’s Great famine, which killed nearly half of Iran’s population, was not unprecedented. The documents published by the British government overlook the genocide, and consequently, the tragedy underwent an attempted cover-up by the British government. The Foreign Office “handbook on Iran” of 1919 mentioned nothing related to the Great Famine.

Julian Bharier, a scholar who studied Iran’s population, built his “backward projection” estimation of Iran’s population  based on reports from this “handbook” and, as a result, ignored the effect of the Great Famine on Iran’s population in 1917. Bharier’s estimations were used by some authors to deny the occurrence of the Great Famine or to underestimate its impacts.

By ignoring Iran’s Great Famine in his estimations, Bharier’s work faces four scientific deficiencies. Bharier does not consider the loss of population caused by the famine in his calculations; he needs to ‘adjust’ the figure of the official census in 1956 from 18.97 million to 20.37 million, and this is despite the fact that he uses 1956 census as his primary building block for his “backward projection” model. He also ignores the official growth rates and uses his personal assumptions in this regard, which is far lower than other estimates. Finally, although Bharier frequently cites Amani’s estimates , in the end Bharier’s findings contradict that of Amani’s; notably Bharier’s population estimate for 1911 is 12.19 million while Amani put this figure at 10.94 million.

Despite deficiencies in the population estimates offered by Bharier for the period of the Famine and its earlier period, his article offers useful data for the post-Famine period; this is because these figures are generated from 1956 backward. That is to say, numbers generated from 1956 to 1919 are thus credible because they do not include the period of famine. Moreover, this portion of Bharier’s data are also true to that of the American Legation. For example, Caldwell and Sykes estimate the 1919 population at 10 million, which is comparative to Bharier’s figure of 11 million.

Gholi Majd was not the first author to refute Bharier’s figures for this period. Gad G. Gilbar, in his 1976 article on demographic developments during the second half of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, also considers Bharier’s estimates inaccurate for the period.

In an apparently biased review of Majd’s work, Willem Floor confirms Bharier’s model , despite its apparent deficiencies, and takes a mocking tone toward the well- documented work of Gholi Majd to undermine the devastation caused by the British-instigated famine in Iran, to the point of total denial of the existence of such a genocide. Floor also offers inaccurate or untrue information to oppose the fact that the British deprived Iranians from honey and caviar in the north, as he argues caviar was haram (religiously prohibited), while no such fatwa has ever existed in Shia jurisprudence and all available decrees assert that caviar is halal or permissible under the Islamic law. There was a rumour made up by Russians at the time, saying that Caviar was haram and Britain made full use of this rumour.

Britain induced the Ethiopian famines of the 1970s and 1980s

Another criticism made by Floor was to question why Majd’s work does not use British archival sources. A more important question is why Majd should have used these sources when they totally ignore the occurrence of the famine in Iran. The fact that Majd used mainly U.S. sources seems to be reasonable on the grounds that the U.S. was neutral toward the state of affairs in Iran at the time, and made efforts to help by feeding them.


Related Topics:

St. Patrick’s Day*

UK to Pay £20m compensation to Mau Mau Victims*

American and British Taxes Paying for Eugenics in India*

WTO Agreement: India Sells Out on Indian Food Rights*

USAID and Sterilization Camps In India*

India: The re-assimilation of the Jewel in the Crown of Western Empire*

Call for UK to Pay India Reparations for Colonial-era Damage*

The Zionist Holocaust of 66 Million Russians*

You’re not a ‘Hitler’ if you Kill Ten Million Africans*