Tag Archives: Irish Slavery meme

Spirited Away le Maggie Plummer – Léirmheas

Is dócha go gcuimhneoidh léitheoiri an bhlag seo ar na haltanna a phostáil mé anuraidh inar thacaigh mé le Liam Hogan ó Luimneach, duine a bhfuil cion fir déanta aige le troid in éadan mhéim (nó mhiotas!) Sclábhaíocht na nGael. Is píosa raiméise é seo, cacamas athbhreithnitheach a bhfuil cuma bhréagach na staire air. De réir na méime seo, cuireadh neart Gael chuig na coilíneachtaí i dTuaisceart Mheiriceá agus i Muir Chairib sa tseachtú haois déag, san ochtú haois déag agus fiu sa naoú haois déag, díoladh mar sclábhaithe iad agus caitheadh ní ba mheasa leo ansin ná mar a caitheadh leis na sclábhaithe Afracacha. Is é an ‘ceacht’ atá le baint as seo, dar lena lán, ná más féidir le Gael-Mheiriceánaigh iad féin a tharraingt amach as ainnise na sclábhaíochta, ba chóir go mbeadh Afra-Mheiriceánaigh ábalta an rud céanna a dhéanamh. Ni nach ionadh, is Forchiníochaithe Geala iad an chuid is mo de na daoine a chuireann an raiméis seo chun cinn.

Má amharcann tú ar Irish Slavery ar Twitter, tá a lán barúlacha ann ar nós ‘The Irish were slaves too’ agus a lán barúlacha eile a bhréagnaíonn iad. Ó am go chéile, áfach, bíonn teachtaireacht ann faoi leabhar darb ainm Spirited Away le Maggie Plummer. Tá léirmheasanna léite agam ar an úrscéal seo faoi na ‘Gaeil a goideadh’ roimhe seo, ach roinnt seachtainí ó shin, shocraigh mé go gceannóinn cóip de agus go léifinn é. Ní as siocair go raibh dúil agam san ábhar, ach mheas mé gur chóir do dhuine éigin atá in éadan na méime é a léamh agus léirmheas ionraic a chur ar fáil.

Is raiméis lom an leabhar seo ó thús go deireadh. Tosaíonn sé le Plummer ag labhairt ar an ‘taighde’ a rinne sí ar théama Sclabhaíocht na nGael. Deir sí gur díoladh Gaeil tríd an chéad trí scór bliain den 17ú haois agus go raibh suas le 100,000 duine i gceist. Mar a chonaic muid roimhe seo, is figiúr randamach an 100,000 a chum Thomas Addis Emmett (agus a luaigh James Connolly agus A.M. Sullivan ina dhiaidh.) Nil sé bunaithe ar fhianaise ar bith. Na Gaeil a fuadaíodh nó a gabhadh mar chimí cogaidh i gcogaí Chromail, is mar sheirbhísigh dhintiúir a cuireadh chuig na coilíneachtaí iad, ní mar sclábhaithe. Tugadh dintiúr suas le deich mbliana do na príosúnaigh chogaidh. Is cruálach agus is uafásach an scéal é go bhféadfaí dintiur níos faide ná sin a thabhairt do pháistí, mar níor saoradh iad go raibh bliain agus fiche bainte amach acu.

Is le moll amaidí a thosaíonn an leabhar seo agus téann rudaí chun sioparnai as sin amach. Insíonn sé eachtraí cailín a bhfuil sracadh inti darb ainm Frederica (Freddie) O’Brennan. Tá Freddie trí bliana déag d’aois agus ina cónaí i gCill Chainnigh nuair a thosaíonn an leabhar sa bhliain 1653. Seo i ndeireadh ceann de na tréimhsí ba mheasa agus ba choscraí i stair na hÉireann. Bhí cogaíocht agus gorta agus galar i ndiaidh slad a dhéanamh ar an tír (mar a deir Plummer sa réamhrá, cé go bhfuil na meastúcháin faoi chéatadán an phobail a fuair bás ró-ard, mar is gnách le Plummer). Ach de réir cosúlachta, níor chuir na heachtraí tubaisteacha sin isteach ar mhuintir Bhraonáin. Bhí feirm acu, a lán bia, roinnt capall agus bó, agus cairt. Agus arán agus mil.

Ar ndóigh, ní raibh ach fíorbheagán daoine de bhunús Gaelach in Éirinn sa tseachtú haois déag a raibh Béarla acu. Agus nuair a bhain siad úsáid as an Ghaeilge, bhíodh a gcuid ainmneacha i nGaeilge. Ní O’Brennan nó Ó Braonáin a bheadh uirthi, ach an leagan baininscneach, Ní Bhraonáin. Agus maidir le Frederica nó Freddie, ní ainmneacha Gaelacha iad sin. Bheadh sé chomh maith ag Plummer Cheyenne nó Chelsea nó ainm randamach ar bith eile a roghnú ó scuad áitiuil na ngárthóirí molta in Montana. Níl leagan Gaeilge ann de Frederica, go bhfios domsa, agus ní bheadh an t-ainm sin in úsáid ag Gaeil in Éirinn sa 17ú haois. Mar an gcéanna leis an ainm Ryanne. Is ainmneacha Gael-Mheiriceánacha iad sin, ni ainmneacha Gaelacha.

Tá Freddie amuigh ag marcaíocht ar chapall breá nach mbeadh sí ábalta é a choinneáil, is dócha, agus cogadh dearg ag dul ar aghaidh sa tír, agus nuair a fhilleann sí ar an teach, tá saighdiúirí Chromail ag tógáil a hathar leo. Tá sé le dul chun na Spáinne le troid ar son na Corónach, mar dhea. Cé acu coróin, áfach? Coróin na Spáinne? Ba phoblacht nó ‘commonwealth’ é Sasana in 1653 agus bhí Cromail ann mar cheann stáit in áit rí nó banríona. Agus ní raibh cogadh ann idir na Sasanaigh agus na Spáinnigh go fóill.

Ar scor ar bith, deir duine de na saighdiúirí Sasanacha go gcaithfidh siad imeacht agus an fheirm a fhágáil, ach fágann sé na rudaí luachmhara uilig acu, rudaí ar nós na mbó agus na gcapall. Ó aidhe, agus tá cead acu an Bíobla a thabhairt leo fosta. Teaghlach Caitliceach in Éirinn sa 17ú haois, agus Bíobla acu. Tugann siad aghaidh ar Ghaillimh, mar a bhfuil aintín dá gcuid ina cónaí. I nGaillimh, bualann strainséir bob ar Freddie agus a deirfiúr Aileen. Cuirtear ar bord loinge iad agus cuirtear chuig oileáin Mhuir Chairib iad.

Ag an phointe seo, éiríonn gach rud cineál gáirsiúil. Díoltar na cailíní ar ceant mar sclábhaithe agus iad lomnocht. Bíonn íomhánna de na ceantanna lomnochta seo coitianta go leor ar line i gcomhthéacs ‘Sclábhaíocht na nGael’. Is seanphictiúir ón 19ú haois déag iad, pictiúir Fhrancacha a bhí lonnaithe i saol na seanRómhánach nó i saol na nArabach, cosúil leis an cheann thuas.

Díoltar Freddie, brandáiltear le hiarann te í agus éignítear í. Tá an chuid seo tipiciúil de chineál ficsean stairiúil ar a dtugtar bodice-ripping i mBéarla (scéal réabtha cabhlach). Is iontach an méid uaireanta a luann Plummer an focal cabhail (bodice). Cibé rud a tharla do na cailíní óga Gaelacha a cuireadh chuig oileáin Mhuir Chairib – agus ní duine saonta mé agus is cinnte gur imríodh mí-úsáid ghnéasach ar chuid de na daoine óga seo – ní sclábhaithe a bhí iontu. Níor díoladh mar sclábhaithe buana iad. Ní dhéantaí iad a bhrandáil, mar ní earra nó sealúchas nó maoin a bhí iontu. Agus is rídheacair a shamhlú gur cuireadh cailíní óga ar ceant lomnocht faoin tseanPhiúratánach sin Cromail, cibé rud a tharla go príobháideach. Bhí Cromail agus a chuid maolagán sásta go leor babaithe a dhúnmharú ach daoine gan éadaí in áit phoiblí – sin scéal eile ar fad!

Lena rá ar dhóigh eile, níl a fhios ag an údar faic na fríde faoi Éirinn sa tseachtú haois déag agus níl a fhios aici faic na fríde bídí faoin sclábhaíocht ná faoin tseirbhíseacht dintiúir sa Mhuir Chairib sa tréimhse sin.

Aisteach go leor, ní dóigh liom gur ciníochaí í Plummer. Bíonn Afracaigh nó Bundúchasaigh Mheiriceá uasal, cineálta sa leabhar seo. Is Sasanaigh iad an chuid is mó de na drochearraí in Spirited Away. Agus is aisteach an dóigh a mbíonn sí ag díol an leabhair seo ar Twitter taobh le daoine a chreideann nach bhfuil daoine de bhunús Afracach chomh maith le daoine geala ó thaobh na géineolaíochta de. Ar dhóigh, cuireann sé i gcuimhne dom duine a bhíonn ag freastal ar linseálacha le líomanáid a dhíol agus a ghnóthaíonn neart airgid as. Mise? Níor linseáil mise duine ar bith riamh! Níl mise ach ag díol líomanáide le duine ar bith atá á hiarraidh …

Lena rá ar bheagán focal, is cacamas an leabhar seo. Cuireann an drochscríbhneoireacht agus an drochthaighde ó mhaith é. Ní fiú faic é. Duine ar bith a mheasann go bhfaighidh siad eolas iontaofa faoi stair a shinsear ó Éirinn (agus ar an drochuair, tá a lán daoine dá leithéid ann, de réir na léirmheasanna deimhneacha ar Amazon), tá dul amú air nó uirthi.

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Spirited Away by Maggie Plummer – A Review

Readers of this blog may remember that I posted a number of items last year in support of Liam Hogan of Limerick, who has done great work in standing up to the Irish Slavery meme. This is a piece of revisionist nonsense masquerading as history. The meme claims that the Irish were sent to the colonies in North America and the Caribbean in the seventeenth, eighteenth and even nineteenth centuries as slaves and that they were treated worse than African slaves. The usual ‘moral’ drawn from this is that if the Irish-Americans could pull themselves up from the degradation of slavery, African Americans should be able to do the same. Not surprisingly, most of the people who promote this nonsense are White Supremacists.

When you look at Irish Slavery on Twitter, there are lots of comments saying that ‘The Irish were slaves too’ and lots of comments saying the opposite. However, every few tweets, there is one about a book called Spirited Away by Maggie Plummer. I have read reviews of this ‘novel of the stolen Irish’ before, but just recently I decided to buy a copy and read it. Not because I wanted to, but because I felt someone should read it and provide a review.

This book is absolute nonsense from beginning to end. It starts with Plummer’s ‘research’ about the theme of Irish Slavery. She states that the Irish were sold as slaves throughout the first six decades of the 17th century and that up to 100,000 Irish were treated this way. As we have seen, this figure of 100,000 is a random figure invented by Thomas Addis Emmett (and later quoted by James Connolly and A.M Sullivan.) It is based on no evidence at all. The Irish who were kidnapped or taken as prisoners of war in the Cromwellian wars were sent as indentured servants, not as slaves. Prisoners of war could be given up to ten year indentures, while children, perversely, couild be kept for longer until they reached the age of majority.

The book starts with a great deal of silliness and gets worse. It recounts the adventures of a spirited girl called Frederica (Freddie) O’Brennan, who is thirteen and living in Kilkenny in the year 1653 at the start of the book. This is the end of one of the most traumatic periods in Irish history. The land had been ravaged by war and disease (as Plummer states in the introduction, though her estimates about the proportion of the population who died are characteristically high). Yet the O’Brennan household had not been affected by these catastrophic events, apparently. They had a farm, plenty of food, several horses and cows, and a cart. And bread and honey.

Of course, very few Gaelic Irish people spoke English in the 17th century. And where they spoke Irish, they would have used Irish forms of their name. This girl would not have been called O’Brennan. She would have been called the female form, Ní Bhraonáin. As for Frederica or Freddie, she might as well have called her Cheyenne or Chelsea or any other random name from the local cheerleading squad in Montana. There is no Irish form of Frederica and nobody would have called their child that in 17th century Ireland. The same goes for Ryanne. These are Irish –American names, not Gaelic names.

Freddie, as she’s known, is out riding a fine horse which probably would have been taken from her by somebody in this time of war, and comes back to find English soldiers leading her father away. He’s being taken to fight for the Crown in Spain, apparently. Whose Crown? The Spanish Crown? Because at this stage, England was a Republic, or Commonwealth, with Cromwell at its head. And the English were not fighting the Spanish in 1653.

Anyway, an English soldier tells them to get off their farm, but leaves them all the valuable things like cows and horses. Oh, yes. And they take their Bible with them. An Irish Catholic family in the 17th century. With a Bible. They head off to an aunt living in Galway. In Galway, Freddie and her sister Aileen are tricked and forced to go on board a ship. They are sent to the Caribbean.

Here, the whole thing becomes pretty lurid. There is a naked slave auction. Images of such slave auctions are common enough on line in the context of ‘Irish Slavery’. They are taken from 19th century French pictures of slave auctions in Ancient Rome or in the Arab world, just like the one above.

Freddie is sold, branded, raped. It’s typical of a certain genre of historical fiction called bodice-ripping. It’s amazing how often Plummer mentions bodices. Whatever happened to young Irish girls who were sent to the Caribbean – and I’m not naïve enough to think that such sexual abuse didn’t happen – these people weren’t slaves, sold in perpetuity. They wouldn’t have been branded because they weren’t property. And it’s hard to imagine that slaves were auctioned naked under the old Puritan Cromwell, whatever happened in private. Cromwell and his roundheads were quite happy to slaughter babies but people naked in a public place – that’s another matter entirely!

In other words, the author knows damn all squared about Ireland in the seventeenth century and damn all cubed about slavery and indentured servitude in the Caribbean.

Strangely, it seems to me that she is probably not a racist. Black characters are generally depicted as noble or kind, while the villains are all English. Which makes it doubly strange to find her peddling her wares on Twitter beside people who think African Americans are genetically inferior. In a way, it reminds me of someone who attends lynchings to sell lemonade and makes a huge amount of money out of it. Me? I never lynched anybody. I’m just selling lemonade to whoever wants it …

In summary, this book is dross. It is badly-written, badly-researched and entirely devoid of merit. Anyone who thinks this will inform them about the history of their Irish ancestors (and sadly, there seem to be a lot of them, judging by the positive reviews on Amazon) is deluding themselves.

Sharon A. Hill

I have just read a very interesting post by Sharon A. Hill. I always enjoy reading what Sharon Hill has to say, even if I don’t always agree with her. She writes well and argues intelligently, and this article was no exception. You can find it here: http://sharonahill.com/how-can-people-be-so-stupid-a-skewed-perspective/

She was discussing the attitude of the sceptical community to the phenomenon of people who believe the earth is flat. (This has been in the news recently because of a conference of Flat Earthers.)The prevailing attitude among those who regard themselves as sceptical and rational has been a mixture of cruelty, smugness and mockery.

As she says: “One comment expressed elimination of such people from society. Yeah, really. As with the Darwin Awards discussion, there are too many people who practice some very intolerant humanism. If I was exploring the concept of skepticism and saw that this kind of sentiment was acceptable, I’d be turned off right away.”

I actually agree with her about the Darwin Awards, where people who have contributed to their own demise in stupid ways are somehow regarded as improving the human gene pool. In my opinion, it’s tasteless, juvenile and does no service to Darwinism by linking it to this kind of callousness.

However, anyone reading my blog will quickly realise that I am quite capable of cruelty, smugness and mockery. I am quite prepared to twist the knife when I think someone is promoting stupid ideas like Cassidy’s theories on the origins of American slang or the Irish Slavery Meme and I make no apology for this.

The problem I have with Sharon A. Hill’s view is that it is over-kind. Yes, there are many reasons why people believe stupid things. As Sharon Hill says: “It’s not a lack of intelligence or because they skipped out on science class, it’s far more nuanced and complex than that.” However, this can lead to a kind of rampant relativism, where evidence doesn’t matter and people have to be allowed their beliefs, regardless of how daft they are. I know that isn’t what Sharon Hill wants, but I still think it can lead to that. And isn’t there something a little patronising about NOT criticising people who are saying really idiotic things? Shouldn’t they have to take responsibility for the nonsense they are spreading? Is there anything wrong with asking someone to provide evidence for their beliefs or shut up if they can’t? Or pointing out the networks of cronyism (like all those friends of Cassidy who lied their arses off to support him) or the foul political agendas that sometimes underlie these weird belief-systems (like the White Supremacist supporters of the Irish Slavery Meme)? And if some sceptics are very smug and arrogant, they are nowhere near as smug and arrogant as some of the True Believers, who disdain any kind of rational approach but treat people who use logic and evidence as blinkered establishment stooges.

I realise that Sharon A. Hill is a kind and decent person. Perhaps I’m not. Perhaps there is something aggressive and destructive about me that drives me to adopt this tone with people I consider to be supporters of obvious rubbish. And there is one point that she makes which I think is true, that this kind of mockery and unkindness generally doesn’t help to change the minds of people who believe silly ideas. If anything, it can make them more entrenched, because admitting that they believed something stupid is admitting their own folly.

However, I think this misses the point. People who have committed to believing silly things may become more entrenched in their silliness as a result of such criticism but what about the thousands of people who haven’t made their minds up yet? While the core of supporters around Cassidy seem to be as unwilling to admit the truth as ever, the casual nonsense published about Cassidy’s ideas in newspapers every St Patrick’s Day has disappeared, he is less quoted in books and articles and his book seems to be out of print now. In other words, it may not work on True Believers, but it certainly helps to stop them recruiting more innocents to their viewpoint. And if it works to that extent, I’m all for it.

The Accidental Racist

A few weeks back, there was a big to-do over a letter by Mike McCormack, National Historian of the AOH (hopefully ex-Historian of the AOH by now, if that organisation has any respect for its good name at all!) in the magazine History Ireland. McCormack made a gratuitous, childish and entirely unwarranted attack on Liam Hogan, the Limerick historian who has done such excellent work in challenging the racist Irish Slavery Meme.

Bizarrely, McCormack characterised some of Hogan’s work as ‘Paddy-bashing’. Why? Well, Liam Hogan has been criticising the spread of the Irish Slavery meme among Irish Americans, and the way that racists and people who are ignorant of their own heritage have used this fake revisionist version of history to belittle the terrible injustices suffered by the African American community by saying that the Irish were slaves too and that they suffered worse than African Americans but they aren’t ‘bitching and moaning’. That this kind of racist nonsense has been spread far and wide, shared by hundreds of thousands of people of Irish descent, is undeniable. Go on line looking for Irish Slaves on social media and you will find plenty of hateful, nasty comments directed at groups like Black Lives Matter. Mike McCormack, in his absurd letter, claimed that Hogan is distorting the truth and exaggerating this racist presence on the internet in order to depict Irish Americans as racists. Apparently, because Mike McCormack doesn’t know any racists in the Irish American community, there aren’t any, and people like Hogan are being racist against Irish Americans by pointing out the spread of this racist poison in that community.

Liam Hogan isn’t a racist. Neither is Mike McCormack, judging by some of the articles he has written. The problem is that McCormack is refusing to look at the implications of the Irish Slavery meme honestly. There were no Irish slaves. There were Irish indentured servants, some of whom were involuntary (prisoners of war or effectively poor people kidnapped from Ireland). Their servitude was time-limited (even the prisoners, who were characteristically given servitude contracts of ten years). It was totally different from the slavery that African Americans were subjected to.

The problem with revisionist theories like the Irish Slavery Meme is that there are many people who don’t share the racist views of many of the people who spread them. They aren’t racists but the ideas they are spreading are clearly giving support to those who do hold racist views. To give just one example, one of the most popular Irish Slavery books is Rhetta Akamatsu’s book The Irish Slaves: Slavery, Indentured Servitude, and Contract Labor Among Irish Immigrants. Rhetta Akamatsu is presumably not a white supremacist, as her husband is of Japanese descent. But her book is badly researched and full of mistakes (for example, the Amazon Irish slaves of 1612, who didn’t exist), which is unsurprising in that she is not a proper historian but a writer specialising in books about the paranormal. One revealing article says that she often sits down to watch her favourite programmes, including Ancient Aliens! I’ll say nothing …

There are lots of these accidental racists. Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin ended up in hot water in 2016 with a badly-considered tweet about how three hundred thousand Irish were sold as slaves. Máirtín Ó Muilleoir of Sinn Féin is part of a media consortium which owns IrishCentral, which carried an appalling article peddling nonsense originating in the claims of a Holocaust-denier called Hoffmann. (I notice that the article is now no longer available on IrishCentral. Perhaps if they’re removing lies from that site, they could ditch the rubbish by Brendan Patrick Keane as well!) Neither Adams nor Ó Muilleoir are racists, and the policies of their party are clearly and unambiguously opposed to all forms of racism. The fact that they have found themselves on the wrong side in these debates is down to stupidity, not malice.

And it’s very interesting that, though Barry Fell was not a racist, the ideas that he spread about Europeans coming to the New World fit in well with a whole tradition about the spread of civilisation from the drowned continent of Atlantis, ideas which suggest that civilisation came from white people and wasn’t developed independently by Amerindians. (Norman Totten, a friend of Barry Fell’s, set up a straw man in his posthumous defence of Fell, which you can read here: http://www.equinox-project.com/esop81.htm In reality, none of the three comments quoted accuses Fell of being racist – they state, quite rightly, that Fell’s theories can have racist implications.)

It’s also interesting to note that while I’m sure Fell wasn’t a Maori-hater, he spent a long time in New Zealand and his ideas about white settlers in ancient times in the Pacific fits in with the ideas of 19th century writers like Tregear, whose beliefs were nonsense but were pro-Maori (author of The Aryan Maori: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Tregear). Fell’s ideas and Tregear’s theories have given rise to a looney-tune far-right movement in New Zealand which has completely reversed Tregear’s respect for the Maori and claims that Celts went to Aotearoa in ancient times and that the Maori are therefore just blow-ins who have no prior claim to the land. This is probably the closest correspondence you could find to the use of the White Slavery Meme as a means of attacking African Americans.

In other words, you don’t have to be a racist to be an accessory to racist ideas. You should always check the accuracy of the ideas you are claiming. I don’t really care if Mike McCormack is a racist or not. But he should be as worried as I am about the spread of racist memes about Irish history. He should be doing everything in his power to stop such ideas in their tracks but because of his ignorance and lack of historical knowledge, he has helped to propagate the most vile pieces of nonsense and propaganda about the forced breeding of young Irish girls with ‘Mandingo warriors’, not because he is a white supremacist who hates black people, but because his sense of ancestral victimhood is more important to him than the truth.

Irish ‘Slaves’ In The Amazon

In my last few posts, I have switched from attacking Daniel Cassidy and his ignorant supporters. My recent posts have been concerned with Liam Hogan and his heroic struggle against the Irish Slavery Meme, a ridiculous piece of fake history which tries to show that the Irish were sold into slavery in America and the Caribbean and that they suffered worse than the African slaves. Of the people promoting this rubbish, the majority of them are White Supremacists and other Neo-Nazis, while others are people of a strong Irish nationalist bent who like the glow of victimhood they derive from it.

I am not a historian and anyone who is interested in this subject should read Liam Hogan’s excellent work on the subject, where he has patiently and intelligently dissected the lies and nonsense being put forward by the revisionists. However, I have noticed that there is one subsidiary claim about Irish ‘slavery’ which has been spread far and wide, yet it is completely untrue. While Liam Hogan has dealt with the real facts about this (https://medium.com/@Limerick1914/as-intentional-as-the-forgetting-that-follows-82a309014d45) I don’t think he has tackled the false version directly. (If he has and I have missed it, my apologies!)

The false claim is that the first ‘record’ of Irish slaves in the New World was in 1612, when a group of Irish ‘slaves’ were ‘sold’ to a settlement in the Amazon. For example:

Putting two and two together, King James I started sending Irish slaves to the new world. The first recorded sale of Irish slaves was to a settlement in the Amazon in 1612, seven years before the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown. (http://www.thenewportbuzz.com/the-irish-slave-trade-the-slaves-that-time-forgot/7191)

The facts of the matter are quite clear. In 1612, a group of Munster Irish settlers went to the Amazon. They were led by two brothers from Youghal called Purcell. None of them were slaves. They went voluntarily, with the aim of growing tobacco and trading with the English and the Dutch. Here’s one source that tells it like it is, without any fake claims of slavery:

The first Irish settlement in Latin America is thought to have been along the Amazon, set up by the Anglo-Irish tobacco trader Philip Purcell in 1612. Purcell and a colourful character who followed him in 1620, Bernard O’Brien …

Who is this libtard revisionist trying to whitewash Irish slavery out of the record? Actually, this is from a book (Wherever Green Is Worn: The Story of the Irish Diaspora) by that well-known bleeding heart, snowflake and Brit-lover Tim Pat Coogan (yes, I’m being sarcastic, and why the f*** not?)

So, if these people were free men and not Irish slaves, why do so many people online repeat the nonsense that they were slaves? The answer is that it is based on a misinterpretation of one of the main texts in the development of the Irish slaves meme, an article called England’s Irish Slaves (1995) by Robert E. West.

This article (http://www.ewtn.com/library/humanity/slaves.txt) is one of the principal texts which conflates and confuses slavery with indentured servitude and has therefore given rise to the myth of Irish slavery. However, it doesn’t state that Irish people were sold into slavery in 1612 in the Amazon. Here’s what it says:

Records are replete with references to early Irish Catholics in the West Indies. Gwynn in Analecta Hibernica, states: ‘The earliest reference to the Irish is the establishment of an Irish settlement on the Amazon River in 1612.”(1)

West wasn’t saying these were slaves. He was setting out the context for the Irish in the Americas. Someone else has then looked at this and because of the provocative title with the word ‘Slaves’ in it, has assumed that these Irish people were unfree. As with so many elements of the Irish slavery meme, bad reading of texts and endless copying of secondary sources without checking the facts has turned this baseless nonsense into ‘a thing’.

Of Irish Slaves and Irish Slang

I have recently had cause to criticise the absurd ‘Irish Slavery Meme’ which has been challenged by a number of historians, most notably Liam Hogan of Limerick. While this may seem like a deviation from the aims of CassidySlangScam, which is primarily about the Irish language and more specifically about the ridiculous fake Irish etymologies produced by the late Daniel Cassidy, there are clear parallels between these two dishonest sets of claims.

In both cases, a meme which is almost entirely rubbish is being circulated virally, often by horrible people with a particular agenda. With Cassidy’s work, many of his supporters are naïve and foolish people who believe they are defending the Irish language when they support Cassidy’s ridiculous made-up rubbish. With the Irish Slavery Meme, many of them are White Supremacists who claim that their ancestors had it worse than African slaves but you won’t find them bitching and moaning and asking for positive discrimination, blah blah blah …

In both cases, the meme is of relatively recent origin. Cassidy’s ludicrous nonsense first started to spread when he published his first articles in 2003. The Irish slavery meme has precursors going back over a hundred years in the work of Thomas Addis Emmett but didn’t go mainstream until  the publication of To Hell or Barbados, a highly inaccurate book written by a journalist (not a historian) and published in 2001. It has never had any currency among genuine historians.

In both cases, there is a core of genuine information surrounded by immense quantities of guff. In both cases, the genuine information is non-controversial and accepted by both sides. In the Cassidy case, there is a handful of derivations which are accepted (shebeen, puss, phoney etc.) by all dictionaries but most of Cassidy’s claims link English expressions to made-up ‘Irish’ phrases. In the Irish Slavery meme, there is no doubt that a certain number of people were essentially kidnapped from Ireland and transported against their will to the colonies (especially for a few years in the 1650s) where they were forced to work as indentured servants for a number of years. The followers of this meme vastly inflate the numbers involved, claim that the indentured servants were slaves or were treated worse than slaves, and that this ‘Irish slave trade’ continued for hundreds of years.

In both cases, we find some of the same names supporting this rubbish: IrishCentral and Niall O’Dowd; Donnacha DeLong; Mike McCormack.

In both cases, the fakeness of most of the evidence presented can easily be established. It’s just that people are either too lazy to go looking for it or unwilling to have their fantasy version of the world challenged by facts.

In both cases, anyone who argues that this meme is fake news and completely untrue is verbally attacked by people who claim that their position is ‘anti-Irish’ or Anglophile, or that they are ‘deniers’, as if denial of lies is a bad thing!

In both cases, this results in the claim that orthodox academia has somehow suppressed the truth about the Irish origins of American slang or the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Irish slaves and that these ‘truths’ should be acknowledged by academics or taught in schools – even though there isn’t a shred of evidence that these things happened.

Why The Rubber Bandits Were Conned

I have decided to write a brief post here just to explain to casual visitors why the Rubber Bandits were conned when they decided to publish a list of some of Daniel Cassidy’s fake derivations of American Slang from Irish on August 11th. Anyone who wants to know more can look at the older posts on this blog, where the material below is explained in greater detail.

Daniel Cassidy was born into a lower-middle class Irish-American family in NY in 1943. His father ran a bar and he was raised in the green pastures of Long Island (though he carefully cultivated the image of streetwise ghetto man-of-the-people). He was a bright child and went to NY Military Academy (alma mater of Donald Trump) on a music scholarship. From there, he went to Cornell University. While at Cornell, he wrote some poetry which was published but he then got into drugs and flunked out without a degree.

He worked for a little while in the NY Times, went to California, then ended up in rehab for two years. He learned to play guitar in rehab, cut an album (unsuccessful) and became a musician. For years, he disappears from the radar. Then he wrote some scripts. He claimed that he sold one of these scripts to Francis Ford Coppola but in different interviews, he mentions two different scripts as the one he sold. In the mid-90s, he produced a couple of pro-Sinn Féin video documentaries about the Six Counties, which aren’t even mentioned on IMDB.

He became a Professor of Irish Studies (!) in 1995 at a small radical college in SF called New College of California. How he became a professor when he didn’t have any qualifications is a mystery, but it seems clear that Cassidy himself claimed to have degrees he didn’t. According to one allegation from a person who contacted me, he was a serial sleaze who continually hit on female students. He used his position to cultivate ‘friendships’ with high-profile Irish-Americans and Irish people who could be useful to him. In 2007, he published a book called How The Irish Invented Slang, a nonsensical piece of crap which claims that lots of American slang comes from Irish. However, because Cassidy didn’t speak any Irish, he just made up lots of bizarre phrases which have never existed in Irish. Honky-tonk, apparently, comes from aingíocht tarraingteach, which means something like attractive peevishness. Baloney is from béal ónna, which Cassidy claimed meant nonsense (literally ‘naïve mouth’). Geezer comes from gaosmhar, which Cassidy claimed means wise person. It doesn’t. And in many cases, Cassidy simply ignored the fact that the words already had perfectly clear derivations. A longshoreman is a ‘man along the shore’, not an old-fashioned Irish word for a sailor. There are hundreds of these fake, made-up derivations. Almost none of these claims has any substance, and the handful that do were plagiarised by Cassidy from other people.

The book was criticised immediately and strongly by real scholars but Cassidy and/or his wife used sock puppet identities to attack anyone who told the truth about the book. Meanwhile, Cassidy’s friends and cronies were ever-present, boosting his reputation, providing good reviews, generally lying their arses off in support of the book. And because the book pretended to be a radical departure, a man-bites-dog story about how Anglophile scholars had systematically excluded the story of Irish’s influence on English, lots of people who think with their arses instead of their brains were quite prepared to make this arrant raiméis a viral phenomenon.

Cassidy fell sick shortly after the book was published and died of cancer in 2008. Unfortunately, the book and the ridiculous theories are still with us.

In short, if you ever look around and wonder why the world is such a shite place and why we have the leaders we have, look no further than the Cassidy Scandal. The same stupidity, pomposity, arrogance, narcissism, cronyism and manipulation that have allowed Cassidy’s nonsense to thrive are what fuels people like the Tea Party and Donald Trump and the supporters of the Irish Slavery Meme. Nobody should support this garbage, least of all people who believe in decent, liberal, democratic values.

And that’s why Murchadh Mór is right. The Rubber Bandits left their sense outside with the horse when they chose to support this shite.