Talk:Great Famine (Ireland)/Archive 9

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Malthusian Argument[edit]

How come this article doesn't explicity mention population demographic. It is just buried in landholding arrangment/argument (which has implication that it was a fault of "British" system). I know Amartya Sen pointed out that many famine happen even when food are plenty and often the economic/political system is at fault. But he did examine population/food aspect first before making his case. Nothing of this kind is done in this article. As with any controvercial topic, narrative should start from "fact" (whatever that mean). Generally, narrative order or article should be in order of historical event (such as potatoe blight), followed by demographic fact (including population and deathtoll and immigration), followed by economic, plolitical and social argument. Why Genocide topic, which many, in the context of Irish famine, consider it as ideological topic or identity politics (i.e. silly ass argument on both side debate) is put at the begining? FWBOarticle

For a number of reasons, but here's the best one: One of the essential elements of Malthus' model is the belief that "Population level is severely limited by subsistence" (quote: Malthus,1798 Essay). Malthus believed that a society's agricultural/industrial development would ultimately lead to: a) unsustainable population growth; b) overconsumption of native resources; and, c) inevitable economic collapse. Thus, if you were going to search for a Malthusian explanation to the Irish Potato Famine the only possible arguement is this: the British successfully avoided points a), b) and c) through the colonization of other regions throughout the world. This point may be entirely valid, but, at the same time, there is no question that the economic gain from the colonization of Ireland was irrelevant compared to the wealth that came from other regions colonized far later in history (India, the African colonies, North America). Furthermore, I've never seen a history which contends that the British really depended on resources which came from the Irish colony (that is, I've never seen a history which argued that, without this colony, the Empire would have been at a great risk of economic collapse). The same can not be said for the Indian and African possessions (without them, the British would have faced massive cuts, especially within the military). Finally, there is no debate among historians that the Irish, who existed at the lowest level of subsistence during the British colonial period, had a far more wholesome and diverse diet before the British invaded, destroyed the native polity and reduced the native population to a status little higher than Serfdom. Malthusian theory can be interesting, but I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who believes that it can be honestly applied to the plight of the Irish. --(Mingus ah um 21:21, 24 April 2006 (UTC))

I took out these two paragraphs because they are, well just terrible. "In 1851, about a quarter of Liverpool's population was Irish-born. The Famine is often seen as an initiator in the steep depopulation of Ireland in the 19th century; however, it is likely that real population began to fall in 1841 with the Famine accelerating any population changes already occurring. Some may argue the Famine was necessary to restore population equilibrium to Ireland given that population increased by 13–14% in the first three decades of the 19th century (using Thomas Malthus's idea of population expanding geometrically, resources increasing arithmetically), nonetheless there is a tendency among Irish historians to dispute this. Statistics show that between 1831 and 1841 population grew by only 5% so this gives more value to those who argue that population was already falling by 1844.

The mass exodus in the years following the famine must be seen in the context of overpopulation , industrial stagnation, land shortages, religious discrimination , declining agricultural employment and inadequate diet. These factors were already combining to choke off population growth by the 1830s. It would be wrong, therefore, to attribute all the population loss during the famine to the potato blight alone." Words and phrases like, likely, some may argue, often seen, a tendency, the use of Malthus and figures without any citations simply muddle the article. The second paragraph speaks for itself. The contextualization of the famine is so long as to make it pointless. If it is not explained properly in the main article than it is the main article that is doing something wrong. Most of the contexts are wrong. Ireland was not suffering from overpopulation, nor industrial stagnation (there was no industry to speak of), nor inadequate diet (contemporary European and English commentators often mention the health of the Irish population thanks to it milk and potato diet).

Exports to England[edit]

The authors fail to mention that a major contributing factor to the Potato famine was that a great portion of Ireland's other food crops, corn, wheat, etc. were being exported to England to feed the population there, leaving essentially ONLY Potatoes to feed Ireland.

Well, these are commercial crops. Obviously, for these food to be allocated to famine relief, the government must purchase it then give it away for free. Of course, the failiure for Russell government to do so is attributed as the main reason crop failiure was transformed to famine.. Idea that there are direct link to total quantity of food and famine has been debunked. Yes, the fact that food being shiped out from famine stricken area seems perverse in subsistent economy. It is not so in more commercialised society. Feel free to present this POV anyway. I hear it's a popular POV in ireland. Vapour

"The fact that food is being shiped (sic)out from a famine stricken area seems perverse in subsitent economy. It is not so in more (sic) commercialized society." ??! Are you kidding with that statment? In a "commercialized society" with no moral compass at all maybe, a society of sociopaths with no ability to see beyond their wallet maybe. I come from as commercialized a society as can be found and it not only seems perverse to me but clear evidence of genocide. While my feelings regarding genocide are certainly my POV there is no question, based on the records kept by the British themselves, that Ireland, throughout the famine was a net exporter of food to England. There was no problem with the Irish production of wheat, rye, beef, poultry, pork or fish. The Irish catholic population was a subsistance population and worked almost exclusively on barter, the Irish rarely had or used currency, so "selling" them food would work only to the extent that they had some small amount of coins or currency. Once whatever supply of money was gone they were intentionally left to die. In reading the article I was looking to see if it contained just the point requested by the initial question.. is there a mention that Ireland during the potato famine was a food rich country? The reason I was looking for this reference was that for many many years while I was aware that there had been a potato famine and that the English government had done little to nothing to alleviate the plight of the Irish, I had always thought that Ireland had little to no food at all. Just saying potato famine, while technically accurate, does not truly bring out the horror of the situation. My only current edit of the article was to add Mr. Gallagher's book, Paddy's Lament to the additional reading list. This is an excellent work on the subject, and extremely well documented from British records. As soon as I can find my copy again, I will be able to add additional detail to the article.

I have reviewed the entire discussion portion of this article and have noticed that the fact that food was consistantly exported from Ireland has come up on numerous occasions, as this fact is IMO extremely important in a basic understanding of the life of the Irish during this time, and is an undisputed historic fact, I feel that the main body of the article should contain this, possibly with some figures. I intend therefore to add a reference to this fact barring someone talking me out of it here in the discussion. This may take a little while as I have to hunt up the numbers and the relevant references.--Casement 05:39, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Such exports are often cited as evidence of deliberate genocide or a moral injustice. The fact is that in a free market economy, the farmers and traders had their own markets which they continued to supply within and outside Ireland. The starving Irish were a world away to them and as such the exporters were no more immoral than the multi-national companies and countries of today continuing to do business as normal when parts of the world are starving. In an ideal world, both situations should not happen, but neither are consious evils of the purpetrators. Ultimately the cultural nature and indifference of the British Government institutions and even, let's not forget, many wealthier Irish was the reason such a tradegy could occur. Dainamo 14:30, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
England raped & stole from Ireland (murdered too) as it did to other counties it took over. They didn't CARE about the Irish only about their Greed. If the Irish did 10% to the British what they did to us you would never hear the end of it. Culnacréann Republic of Ireland 09:58, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

"many wealthier Irish was the reason such a tradegy could occur" This has been comprehensively dispelled by Cormac Ó Gradá, Peter M. Solar and Peter Grey. I suggest you do some historical research before pawning your economic beliefs as the touchstone of nineteenth-century history.

I wish I had the time to clean up this article. Hopefully some scholar will take pity on this site and reorganise it.

Source of blight[edit]

It says here that "Plant pathologist Jean Beagle Ristanio speculates that the pathogen (not a fungus but an oomycete) arrived in Europe on a shipment of potatoes from South America in the 1830s."

But in school I remember being told that the blight caame over with a guano shipment. 13:08, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Name of Article[edit]

Why is this article called the "Irish potato famine" rather than just The Great Famine? Never heard the famine referred to as the "Potato Famine". The potatoes didn't starve; the people did. (Sarah777 08:22, 9 June 2007 (UTC)) Wow! A lot of unreferenced pov masquerading as "discussion" here; I've removed some of it. (Sarah777 08:54, 9 June 2007 (UTC))

Sarah777 Your right in all of that you say. I have a real problem with the use of the term Famine in itself, as there was not a lack of food in the country. Another concern I have is the amount of edits and minor edits which do not include any references or sources. I see a lot of edits to grammar, punctuation and the like with no attempt to cite sources. That is why I placed the tag on the page, all to no effect. This article will never get of the ground unless some editor makes a bold move to remove all unreferenced material, even if this means reducing it to a stub. I would much prefare quality to quantity any day. Regards --Domer48 09:42, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
An editor, without any knowledge of Irish history, about 5 years ago created this page. It's the first time that I have heard it called The potato famine, WP is guilty of an Neologism on this one. The name can be changed on request here Wikipedia:Requested moves. 20:22, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Given the number of links a move/redirect would be the most practical solution; Wikipedia:Requested moves is probably unnecessary in this case. The problem is the new name - in Ireland the episode is known universally and simply as The Famine or The Great Famine. Other famines, in Ireland or abroad are qualified to distinguish them from the famine. Doubtless we'll get objections that to a wider audience in the English-speaking world it isn't so clear which famine "the" refers to! The Great Famine (Ireland) seems the only non-neologistic name. Any thoughts before I make the move? (Sarah777 20:49, 10 June 2007 (UTC))
Probably the better ones would be
The Great Famine (Ireland) or
Great Irish Famine
Yup, agreed there have been great famines in Africa of course, China. But the Great Irish Famine was more about the degradation of a people too, the current name is just too narrow. About 750 links, I'd help change some of them. Is there a BOT available that can do these changes? 21:21, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Redirect means the link changes are not urgent; they can de done over a long period - or not at all! (Sarah777 22:27, 10 June 2007 (UTC))

Sarah777, I would go along with the Great Irish Famine, though I lack the experiance on redirects more than willing to help though? --Domer48 12:26, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

I would prefer Great Irish Famine, with a dab to the 1740s famine. Therefore, if that was the case, then Wikipedia:Requested moves would have to be called in to help with the change. Maybe proposed change should be put on the Irish Notice Board, and left for a few days. 14:27, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Support a move. There's already a Great Irish Famine (1740-1741) - so how about Great Irish Famine (1845-1849). Alternatively, as people are highly unlikely to search under that name, [Great Famine (Ireland)]. Suggest also including a dab link to Great Famine. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 14:58, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Support Great Irish Famine Usually referred to as The Great Famine, but probably in the long term this name won't last on WP. That's why Great Irish Famine rings best, IMHO. Adding the years makes it longish. Difficult call! 15:07, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Support a move to the Great Irish Famine Brendandh 15:34, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Comment - Great Irish Famine is a wee bit neolog, but we must put in "Irish" somewhere or no doubt we'll get flak from folk writing about greater famines (if that's the right phrase). And as there were at least two great famines in Ireland maybe we redirect to Great Irish Famine and have a disamb at the top pointing out the reader may mean 1740 if 1845 isn't what he's looking for. Great Irish Famine already does this with a separate disambig page; but (1845-1849) redirects to the starving spuds! (Sarah777 20:12, 11 June 2007 (UTC))
Well it is the EN/WP. So The Great Famine, is the official name, so The Great Famine it should be? 20:34, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
It's pretty-much a transliteration of "An Gorta Mór", too, and that's a good thing - Alison 20:41, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Support per Bastun's rationale - Alison 20:14, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Support - I'll go with Bastun's idea.(Sarah777 20:59, 11 June 2007 (UTC))
Support, either that or The Irish Holocaust.--Vintagekits 21:25, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Oppose - "Irish potato famine" is a (the most?) common name (see [] or []) and most accurately disambiguates between this any other "great famine" in Ireland and/or elsewhere. It also puts it in the context of the wider European Potato Famine, of which it was a part (in terms of the blight). Calling it the potato famine avoids confusing it with a "great famine" in the classical sense (of a country without food), when in fact far "greater" famines had occurred before without the same lasting consequence. The potato, and its significance in the cause of the famine, is central understanding it and should not be removed from the name. --sony-youthpléigh 22:22, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Fair point, but this sounds more like an argument for Bastun's proposal. Great + Ireland + disambiguation ... - Alison 22:30, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
OK. In keeping with the almost universal consensus with reference to WP:SNOW there is no serious opposition to the move, Done. (Sarah777 22:46, 11 June 2007 (UTC))
Comment: "WP:SNOW" and "universal"? Where did I hear those words before? And why are you replying to my post to announce it? Oh ... !
There's obviously enough dissent at this moment to hold off the moving, IMO. Apart from the fact that a copy/paste move without preserving the edit history is a very Bad Thing (hint, hint) - Alison 23:05, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

(ec) I see Sarah's gone ahead and changed it now. Fair 'nuff. I'm fixing double-redirects now. However ....

What are we going to do with Irish potato famine (legacy)? - Alison 22:47, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

(meeps) - I think we're going to need a 'bot for this - Alison 22:50, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Oops! - never mind. VintageKits reverted ... - Alison 22:50, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
*sigh* And Sarah re-reverted, which I re-re-reverted, but now I'm somehow at Great Irish Famine instead of Irish Potato Famine... Sarah - the discussion is not over - its barely started - and WP:SNOW does not apply. A couple of things - 1. there are several possible homes for the article, still being discussed. Let that debate continue, please. 2. When consensus is reached, it can be moved (not redirected), thus preserving the edit history (though too late now...) 3. I spotted the proposed move only sometime this morning when it was flagged on the Irish noticeboard. Many other editors will not yet have seen the notice there. Give them a chance to have some input. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 23:12, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
"23:02, 11 June 2007 Sarah777 (Talk | contribs) (46,306 bytes) (restore; many weren't aware of the deletion of "British Isles and Ireland" - discussion lasted MUCH shorter time)" Ah - things become clear. 'BI & Ireland' was a POV fork, plain and simple.
Annnyway... before we were so rudely interrupted... the options available are-
1. [Irish Potato Famine] - where it was.
2. [Great Irish Famine] - where it is.
3. [Great Irish Famine (1845-1849)] - to differentiate from Great Irish Famine (1740-1741).
4. [Great Famine (Ireland)].
Any others? BastunBaStun not BaTsun 23:26, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Yeah OK guys; I'm heading into 3RR country here; so I'll pack it up for now. To think I could have written perhaps three Irish geo-stubs if it weren't for my addiction to the TRUTH and the ELIMINATION of POV! Anyway, for what it's worth, I think [Great Irish Famine] is the obvious one; it's the nearest to what the actual victims called it. An Gorta Mór; the Great Genocide. (Sarah777 23:45, 11 June 2007 (UTC))
Umm - "Gorta Mór" means "Great Hunger", right? I don't see any suggestion of genocide in the version as Gaeilge ... - Alison 23:47, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Let's be clear about the nomenclature. It was always called The Great Famine. That doesn't mean that there weren't other great famines elsewhere in the world, Africa, Ethiopia, Sudan, China and more. But in the English speaking world, and in En/Wikipedia especially, we must adhere to the academic name for this particular episode in Ireland's history. Therefore I reiterate that the name should be The Great Famine. Also we must avoid original research here, and also avoid a brand new neologism. And I take Allie's point, excellent! -00:35, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Agree. Only went for Great Irish Famine as a compromise, reaching out to the others. But of course you are right; The Great Famine was always the common name for the Great Genocide. (Sarah777 01:07, 12 June 2007 (UTC))
No, the common name for the Great Genocide is The Holocaust. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 09:21, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Oppose and reiterate the reasons cited by sony-youth. Let's please give this a little more time before renaming or making major changes. Geeman 05:55, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Oppose- it is known as the Irish Potato Famine in the United Kingdom and the British Empire. Astrotrain 07:50, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Comment - If I make a comment like that I would be accused of trolling.(Sarah777 08:33, 12 June 2007 (UTC))

Sarah777, I would not even rise to a comment like that, and since they have never edited on this article I would consider stalking is what drives them. --Domer48 08:59, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps I should expand- it was reported as the "Irish Potato Famine" in the press in the UK and BE (given the event occured during the time of the BE). That name is still used in the UK. Not having edited the article does not deprive one of the right to comment. Astrotrain 09:23, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Astro, I certainly don't say you've no right to comment and the remark wasn't directed at you - as I guess you are aware. But the person I was addressing has taking on the thankless task of policing and editing my talkpage remarks. So you miss the odd bit!(Sarah777 10:00, 12 June 2007 (UTC))
Sarah, your opinions about me are well known, as is your love of crusading against editors you disagree with. Wikipedia is not a war. Consensus was to remove the article you created as a POV fork. Live with it, and stop harrassing me. --sony-youthpléigh 10:29, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Support [Great Irish Famine] is the obvious one;--Domer48 08:00, 12 June 2007 (UTC) P.S Good move

Note: Just a quick bit of google-fu.
"Irish Potato Famine": about 160,000 results
"Great Famine" +Ireland: about 128,000 results
"Great Irish Famine": about 48,900 results
"Great Genocide" about 133 results (many of which, judging by the first page, are not actually about Ireland).
What does this prove? Well, nothing really, except that any of the first three would be valid names for the article. It does show that 'Great Irish Famine' isn't actually a neologism. Given that there are/were other famines, also called 'Great', then personally I think "Great Irish Famine" is probably the best place for the article on WP, given the need for disambiguation and that in Ireland (where, after all, it happened) its most commonly known as the Great Famine. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 15:24, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

And what's your opinion about "Irish Potato Famine"? I see it came out tops of the 'google-fu', but you just didn't like the look of it?--sony-youthpléigh 15:42, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
No, not especially, because all my life I've heard I've heard it referred to as either "the Great Famine" or just "the Famine", and therefore its what I'm used to. The same, I'd guess, as an English person assuming a reference to "The Civil War" means one thing while an American might assume something else. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 16:01, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Aahhh ... WP:IDONTLIKEIT with a splash of WP:IDONTKNOWIT into the mix - sweet! So, despite "Great Irish Famine" being the lowest of the common name returns from Google, you're happy with it? My issue here is not what name the article goes under - Great Irish Famine, isn't such a bad name as to keep me awake at night (although, it is quiet a weak neologism, Great Famine (Ireland, 1845—51) would be more accurate, and less made-up). It really makes no odds; "Irish Potato Famine" will redirect here anyway. The problem I have is with the uninformed bandwagon-like discussion. The original proposal was to change "another pov-ridden name" - pure rubbish! This is a standard and useful name - see Britannica for example - as your 'Google-fu' (love the word!) showed maybe even the most common one. That simple fact can be seen by looking through and too. What ensued was rampant "oh-my-god"-ism and "I don't like it"-itus. The only other contributer to give a reasons cited that the article was made by "an editor, without any knowledge of Irish history ... It's the first time that I have heard it called The potato famine, WP is guilty of an Neologism on this one." Ummmm, no, not even a slight neologism - in fact, one of the oldest names for the famine as Astrotrain pointed out - but then assumptions such as the original creator being "without any knowledge of Irish history" are easily made by someone who admits "it's the first time that I have heard it." Ignorance convinces the fool of his own genius. --sony-youthpléigh 19:47, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, may I draw your attention to WP:CIVIL. There is no need for WP:SARCASM when making your point. (Sarah777 20:39, 12 June 2007 (UTC))
You may, of course, Sarah - but as there was no sarcasm in my post above, and since I believe it was civil, it seems strange. --sony-youthpléigh 21:11, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I beg to differ on the assessment of your comments. I would also like to draw your attention to WP:STALK. (Sarah777 23:48, 12 June 2007 (UTC))
Stop harassing me, now (see diff). I will not warn you again. --sony-youthpléigh 08:06, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
(After edit conflict)What can I say, some editors are fond of the magical fruit ;-)
As you can see from my initial response, Sony, I'd be happy with several options and made several suggestions. Discussion, compromise, consensus... rather than jumping the gun and slapping a redirect on. But to hopefully make clearer what I said earlier, the common name for the famine in Ireland is "The Great Famine". Some more google-fu - this time restricting the search to Irish pages:
"Great Famine" +Ireland about 16,800
"Irish potato famine" about 711.
So the former term is nearly 24 times more commonly used than the latter - in Ireland. As the article is about something that happened in Ireland, the former name seems more appropriate.
But as there are several such "Great Famines" around the world (even a previous one in Ireland), it needs something to disambig it - hence why I'd be okay with [Great Irish Famine]. You'll notice I did also suggest [Great Irish Famine (1845-1849)] and [Great Famine (Ireland)] and asked for other alternatives. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 23:55, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Don't really care much either way but you should compare like with like. "Potato famine" +Ireland [1]: 218,000. "Great famine" +ireland [2] 132,000. --Lo2u (TC) 00:49, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Possibly, though I thought including +'Ireland' and 'Irish' would have been ok. Note, though, that the latter googling (done just before midnight) was done on, not .com, and restricted the search results to Irish pages - hence the smaller numbers. The larger numbers from earlier today were obtained by not restricting the search to Irish pages. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 00:57, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
I see - was wondering about that. Thought it was the old Google IP problem mentioned on Talk:British Isles.
Some editors aren't going to like this. I'm going to say it anyway. Paraphrasing what to the best of my knowledge is Wikipedia policy, common English speaking usage takes precedence - and Google can be used as a way of establishing what this might be. I'd suggest that to make a strong case from Google you might want to restrict your search to pages written in English but it's not really advisable to limit them to geographical regions - although self-identifying terminology might be used as further criteria.
I'm willing to bet that 99.9% of pages mentioning "Ireland" and "potato famine" are talking about the very same "Great Famine" whereas "Great Famine" and "Ireland" might bring up a few false positives. The fact that "potato famine" yields fewer than 3,000 Google results in Ireland[3] is rather persuasive though. The score's 1-1 by these criteria, I think:
1. Most commonly used name in English
2. Current undisputed official name of entity
3. Current self-identifying name of entity
--Lo2u (TC) 01:22, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Surely Great Famine occured in Egypt in ancient times, so that doesn't seem a good name for this oage to me

Victorian era?[edit]

The article contains the following quote: The Famine occurred within the British imperial homeland at a time well into the modern prosperity of the Victorian and Industrial age during a time when Ireland was, even during the famine, a net exporter of food. This is patently wrong - the Victorian era didn't start until 1837, the Industrial Age didn't start until 1760 at the earliest (see Industrial Revolution) and at the time of the famine, Ireland was a self-governing country, not part of Great Britain. GrahamPadruig 01:06, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Hello GrahamPadruig, your points are quite valid, bar the point that Ireland was a self governing country. Ireland lost its parliament through the act of union in 1800. After this time Ireland was meant to become an integral part of the empire, the famine dispelled this myth with catastrophic consequences. You have also highlighted a continuing problem on this Article, that of unreferenced material. As an editor, you can challenge and remove any unreferenced material. Regards --Domer48 08:41, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Your dates are mixed up, I think. The famine was 1845-49, i.e. "well into the ... the Victorian [1837] and Industrial age [1760]." Ireland and Great Britain were unified in 1801 (i.e. Ireland lost self-goverance) and partition was in 1922 (i.e. the majority of Ireland re-gained self-goverance). Start-end dates for the Empire are hazy, but the 19th century is considered its hey-day. The famine occurred during this era i.e. "within the British imperial homeland." --sony-youthpléigh 09:06, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
OK I was confused by the sub-heading "Great Irish Famine may also refer to Great Irish Famine (1740-1741)". I thought this article was referring to the Great Irish Famine. The fact that this confusion can occur is probably why in Britain we refer to the 1845 event as the "Irish POTATO Famine" (or just the Potato Famine for short) to differentiate it from the earlier famine, which was also called "Great". GrahamPadruig 22:44, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I doubt many people in Britain are even aware that there was a "Great" famine in Ireland in 1740-1741. (Sarah777 00:02, 20 June 2007 (UTC))
I agree with you, Graham. See the discussion about the recent name change above. Sarah: evidently there are, and more informed than their Irish counterparts. So, 'Irish potato famine' was "another pov-ridden name" (diff) coined by and editor "without any knowledge of Irish history." (diff)? Let's see how many more confusions this creates. --sony-youthpléigh 06:53, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I also agree with Graham and I would also draw attention to the slightly misleading phrase "British Imperial Homeland" - this is obviously written in with the POV intention to highlight the evil Brits with all their wealth ignoring the suffering Irish, but the sad truth of those times was that the British "government" (not then officially an imperial one) was an equal-opportunity dismisser of humanitarian concerns both at home and abroad and treated the local working class with as much disdain as it could short of causing mass riots. One only has to consider the fact that more than 1/3 of children died in infancy at that time of diseases easily curable by a good basic diet to realise that there was precious little respect at "home" for the common person. The treatment of the Irish poor during the famine was despicable, but this really isn't primarily a nationalism issue, no matter how much some Irish people for understandable reasons would like to spin it that way and no matter how misleading the educational process in Ireland and the US has been on this issue. MarkThomas 07:48, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, you appear to be implying that some British editors are more informed than their Irish counterparts. In this context, what exactly do you mean by Irish "counterpart"? I said I doubt that "many people in Britain" are even aware of the 1740 famine; I don't think I claimed that many people in Ireland are. The point I was making was that this point about "confusion" is a straw man. Also your comments appear to imply that I made a reference to "an editor without any knowledge of Irish history" having written the original article. (Please note that I am not disagreeing with the remark, but in a spirit of politeness and civility, pointing out that I'd hate to see it popping up as "evidence" in an RfC or something). Regards (Sarah777 08:01, 20 June 2007 (UTC))
Sarah, how could I imply that you had said the second remark when I didn't attribute the first one to you? Also, did I not included diffs for each statement that explicity shows who said what?? Or are you trying bewilder discussion along your usual lines? My argument was as stated before. There are many famines known as the Great famine. "Let's see how many more confusions this creates." --sony-youthpléigh 09:02, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I find it very unlikely Sarah777 that you have never heard of the "potato famine" phrase if you are a serious student of this subject. Are you really saying that, or are you just saying it isn't the right phrase to use? If the latter, why claim you've never heard of it? MarkThomas 08:10, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Mark, we crossed over in an edit conflict. You appear to be suggesting that the Irish and Anerican educational systems teach biased versions of British Imperial History, unlike the British educational system. There is ample evidence in the historical record of deliberate and calculated physical and cultural genocide in Ireland by the London Imperial power from circa 1550 to 1850. Is that not on the school curriculum in the UK? I don't think the fact that the Crown was brutal at home as well as abroad is either here nor there. Regarding the "potato famine" what I was really saying was that I had never heard it used - in normal conversation; in history classes or in the local pub. At the bus stop. Atop the 46a. I may have been aware of the term from reading Anglocentric publications, such as Wiki. (Sarah777 08:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC))
(Reply to Mark) Mark, you're missing the point. The blight was a natural phenonom, no one can be blamed for that. The economic sensibilities of the day were widely held and were enacted, at least, for the far greater part in good faith (the wider sensibilities towards the Irish are another concern.) But that a phenonomon that had cost comparable lost of life elsewhere in Europe should cause a 150-year population fall - essentially free-fall for the first 50 years, coming under control following independence, only rising in the country as a whole in the 1960's, and lasting in the worst affected areas of the country until 2006 - is daming (I cannot think of a stronger word) for any administration. That it happened in the homeland (and yes, it was an imperial homeland) of by far the most powerful and wealthy country of its age, is, to quoute CJH in an althogether different context, "grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre and unbelievable" (see GUBU).
What was at fault was that Ireland had for 300 years previously had been run as a colony (politically, economically, socially and culturally): deliberately stagnated and designed in everyway to bolster and never compete with England and the English populous. Under English (yes, specifically England and English) rule, the polity put in place and maintained by English were were driven by a sectarianism, with the blessing and support of the English crown and parliament, to ensure the subjectation of the majority of the Irish population. This subjectation was complete: not only political and cultural, but engulfing that entireity of economy and society. That is at fault for the tragedy of the famine, that is why the blame is laid at England's doorstep. That is why the affects of the blight in Ireland reduce the blight elsewhere to oblivion and inconsequence. That the economic answers of the day caused suffering also in England, as the did everywhere, is irrevelent. The population drop alone evidiences its comparable inconsequence. The famine does not damn the economic answers of the day, far more mundane example can do that more effecively. What the famine damns in the 300 years of English colonial rule in Ireland that preceeded it, and all of the sectarianism that came with it. --sony-youthpléigh 09:04, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, I am not trying to bewilder anything and I object to your claim that such attempts are "along my usual lines". I simply reacted to your post as it read to me; you appeared to combine my text with that of another editor and attribute it all to me. I didn't even read you links. (Sarah777 09:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC))
"I simply reacted to your post ... I didn't even read your links." That, in fairness, and without wanting any more trouble, would be along your usual lines also. --sony-youthpléigh 09:19, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm. OK, I'll have to give you that one:) (Sarah777 09:32, 20 June 2007 (UTC))
"how misleading the educational process in Ireland and the US has been on this issue". Well Mark, God loves a tryer! And Who has not been "misleading the educational process," let me guess??? Please Mark, if you want to be taken seriously, leave it out! Regards --Domer48 09:49, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Suggestions of genocide[edit]

I removed the unreferenced edits and replaced them with referenced ones. Some of the edits which were removed were not bad, and therefor should be sourced and replaced. Regards --Domer48 19:35, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Hmmmmm. In fact you found a bunch of sources that claim it was all the evil imperialist swinish British and added them. Not that I totally disagree with all those, but there is a case for a more balanced view. The "genocide" claim is so freely bandied about now that it is being devalued. I think the Irish Famine was a result of imperialist "laissez-faire" policies used as a cloak for aristocratic indifference and could and did happen in any part of the Empire and would have happened in mainland Britain "if there had been a need". The "genocide" argument is probably wrong because it wasn't a planned attempt to exterminate a race, or even indifferently exterminating a race as your first quote has it, it was merely indifference to the condition of a particular class of people within Ireland, just as the British "government" of the time were indifferent to the condition of many working people in England. True that they didn't actually bring about a mass-famine of the latter, but that was probably just "luck" on the part of the english poor, and many did starve at various times anyway. The sole concern of the British "government" of the day was the wealth of the aristocratic class. Whereas today it is the wealth of the private equity financiers. Plus ca change. MarkThomas 19:57, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Mark, if you wish to engage in a discussion of the subject, I’m only too happy too. But I must insist that you desist from any insinuation that I’m pushing any type of any anti-English sentiment. The contemporary sources I have used have all ruled out genocide bar one! The quotes from the period lend some balance to the argument, though the contemporary sources are all critical of the Governments response, as you are! If you wish to address any deficiencies in the article, by all means do so, just reference them. If I detect any hint of insinuation in future discussions, I will acknowledge it with the charity of my silence. You may detect with my tone, the exasperation I am feeling with the crap that is going on, I will as from now assume good faith, reciprocation would be welcome? Regards --Domer48 20:54, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Actually we do seem to be discussing it. But I've just re-read it and I agree you have put some effort into a balanced set of quotes, so if I've jumped to conclusions prematurely, my apologies. It's actually a pretty good survey of the subject. MarkThomas 21:36, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

This section deals with the suggestions of genocide. As the tilte suggests. All edits must have referenced citations. Regards --Domer48 18:09, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Of the references you provided Domer48, one deals with genocide in an unrelated context (eg, generalised UN definitions of genocide that don't apply here) and the rest don't mention genocide. I provided a reference that clearly contradicts the concept of it being genocide. I don't call that "suggestions of genocide". My edit was clearly nearer the mark. Reverted. MarkThomas 18:21, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
If editors wish to edit article they should provide referenced and cited material, otherwise this information may be challanged and removed. --Domer48 18:27, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that's correct, so where is your evidence that anyone has suggested that it's genocide Domer48? Unless you can provide some, the whole "suggestions of genocide" section should be retitled, since it's basically just your POV. Thanks for pointing this out. MarkThomas 18:31, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Your edits are disruptive and should stop. Unless you provide referenced information you will be challenged. John Mitchel has suggested genocide, and this whole section deals with it. If you persist in this disruptive manner you will be reported to administration!
Don't make false accusations of disruption. This is a disagreement about POV and content. It's hard to see how Mitchel could have used the word genocide since it's essentially a modern term. Perhaps if you can provide that reference? In the meantime, feel free to report me to anyone you like, but better make sure your facts are straight. MarkThomas 18:52, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

3RR at Great Irish Famine[edit]

Hi, you just did a 3RR at Great Irish Famine - I don't want to report you, but given your general conduct towards me, feel that I should - do you wish to apologise and revert it back? I am talking about the "Suggestions of genocide" title. MarkThomas 18:55, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Work away, --Domer48 19:00, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Log of all Domer edits in the past 24 hours: - Can't see the 3RR alleged; but I'd cease reverting as both parties are on 3 reverts by my count, Regards(Sarah777 19:36, 24 June 2007 (UTC))

  1. (cur) (last) 19:51, June 24, 2007 Domer48 (Talk | contribs) (56,851 bytes) (→Nature and extent of the famine deaths - Replaced bad faith edits)
  2. (cur) (last) 19:44, June 24, 2007 Domer48 (Talk | contribs) (56,865 bytes) (Added fererenced Note)
  3. (cur) (last) 19:40, June 24, 2007 Domer48 (Talk | contribs) (56,345 bytes) (→Suggestions of Genocide - Added referneced information)
  4. (cur) (last) 19:33, June 24, 2007 MarkThomas (Talk | contribs) (55,251 bytes) (I quote from the references provided - "it is also my contention that while genocide was not in fact committed")
  5. (cur) (last) 19:25, June 24, 2007 Domer48 (Talk | contribs) (55,236 bytes) (Rv Unreferenced statement, no citation, considered POV)
  6. (cur) (last) 19:22, June 24, 2007 MarkThomas (Talk | contribs) (55,278 bytes) (This edit fits the references, only one of those supplied uses the term "genocide" and that is a generalised UN definition of the term itself proving this is not a genocide!)
  7. (cur) (last) 19:07, June 24, 2007 Domer48 (Talk | contribs) (55,236 bytes) (POV i.e minority view, no ref's. Number of period sources suggest otherwise)
  8. (cur) (last) 16:21, June 24, 2007 Ekilfeather (Talk | contribs) (55,278 bytes) (→In Ireland - added Gillespie info to Customs House Quays)
  9. (cur) (last) 14:54, June 24, 2007 Sony-youth (Talk | contribs) (55,237 bytes) (→Land Consolidation - rm unnecessary commentary)
  10. (cur) (last) 14:44, June 24, 2007 MarkThomas (Talk | contribs) (55,608 bytes) (Most deaths were after Cromwell left Ireland caused by famine and general violence)
  11. (cur) (last) 14:24, June 24, 2007 MarkThomas (Talk | contribs) (55,505 bytes) (More accurate characterisation of current historical opinion on the "genocide" characterisation - and on the orthodox view of Irish nationalism that it was a British deliberate policy)
  12. (cur) (last) 13:16, June 24, 2007 MarkThomas (Talk | contribs) m (54,622 bytes) (As only one of the references cited actually calls it "genocide", it clearly isn't "suggestions" plural)

(Sarah777 19:36, 24 June 2007 (UTC))

Hi Sarah, thanks for that, would not have a clue about 3RR. ;) --Domer48 19:42, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, but you are going to learn the hard way unless you cool it a little bit! Innocent jokes look rather different on an RfC citation, I have discovered. (Sarah777 20:30, 24 June 2007 (UTC))

Presumably you also have no clue about civility? Please note also that I did not place these postings in this talk page, they were copied from the talk page of Domer48 where I had privately asked him to apologise as per WP policies. Thanks. MarkThomas 19:52, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Sorry Mark; I'm not sure if you are addressing me or Domer. Can you clarify? Regards (Sarah777)

Breach of WP:CIVIL at Great Irish Famine[edit]

Just noticed that you also in a comment line accused me of "bad faith edits" which is extremely rude, incivil and false. I intend to complain unless you apologise immediately. MarkThomas 18:57, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Work away --Domer48 19:01, 24 June 2007 (UTC)


While there has been some disagreement with the conclusions reached by Woodham-Smith, the quality of her research has never been questioned. For example Conor Cruise O’Brien, a revisionist of a particularly orange hue commenting on The Great Hunger said of Woodham-Smith, “Her just and penetrating mind, her lucid and easy style and her assured command of the sources have produced one of the great works not only of Irish nineteenth-century history, but of nineteenth-century history in general,” a view evidently endorsed by the The Times, “Mrs Woodham-Smith has made an individual contribution to Irish history. Her thoroughness in research, compassionate fair-mindedness and gift of narrative are all again in evidence.” Regards --Domer48 20:37, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

What was the issue on Woodham-Smith Domer? I tend to agree it's a good source - is that being disputed? Just that there are more "revised" or "modern" sources around? MarkThomas 21:37, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
The point I'm making is that although "there are more "revised" or "modern" sources around,"the disagreement has been with the conclusions she reached and not the quality of her research. The information I used was based only on her research. Regards--Domer48 21:46, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, certainly Woodham-Smith is one of the more careful sources. I think this field is rather full of fevered viewpoints on both "sides", understandably. MarkThomas 21:49, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Since the 150th anniversary there has been a renewed interest in the subject. This has put the revisionists on the back foot somewhat, they will regroup and attempt a resurgence no doubt. What interested parties want now is verifiable and referenced sources, which is the revisionist weak point. It was and is a watershed in the histories of both countries, and let the facts speak for themselves. Regards --Domer48 22:43, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't recall this recent addition quote from my (long time ago) reading of Woodham-Smith, "According to Woodham-Smith, there had been no fewer than 114 Commissions and 61 Special Committees, and of them she says, “without exception their findings prophesied disaster.” and what exactly it relates to - is she talking about the enquiries into the condition of labourers - if so, they were across Britain and Ireland so the apparent large number is slightly confusing in this context. Does anyone have a copy to hand - it appears not to be searchable on Google Books. MarkThomas 08:09, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
She was talking about the conditions within Ireland,it is clearly stated in the quote "to report on the state of Ireland," I have three editions of it, including a 1962 edition, the quote appears at the end of chapter 1. So what do you think she is talking about Mark? Are you again questioning my good faith again? Or if its the case that there were so many Commissions it would be hard to suggest the Government was caught by surprise! --Domer48 08:19, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Stop being provocative and trying to start a fight, or else misleading people about my intentions. Nobody is questioning anyone's good faith. I am just questioning the context and nature of these commissions. I don't think they were directly warning of famine and unless we can see the actual passages it does appear from your comment above that they were on "the state of ireland" - in which case the way you've phrased that in the article intro is not accurate. I am just pointing out that as I don't have a copy of the book, and it's not checkable on Google Books, we are relying on one interpretation. Whilst I am happy to accept your interpretation may be right as you see it, it's always useful for a number of people to both check a source and also the way it is interpreted. MarkThomas 08:54, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Mark, you are being provocative, with "Does anyone have a copy to hand," questioning my good faith! Why do you not go out and buy a copy of the book? And with comments like "it appears not to be searchable on Google Books," strickes me as someone who's limits to references are a sad reflection on you! Do not waste any more of my time on this page! The limit of your interest is no use to me --Domer48 09:11, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
This appears to be very incivil of you - I am trying to get into a sensible discussion of the value and context of the Woodham-Smith quote, which I note that you don't want to engage in. I guess I will have to go back to correcting the material directly, note that I did try to enter into a sensible discussion about it. All I said was that I don't have a copy to hand and asked if others did, hardly justification for such a tirade from yourself. The Google Books mention was simply to advise other editors not to waste time looking for it there. I am not wasting your time, my comments were to see if other editors were interested. Your reasoned input would be welcome as you wrote that particular sentence in the article. If you don't wish to discuss it, that's fine, but it would be reasonable to discuss it if it's going to be altered. MarkThomas 09:23, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
The refs are fine, but having those details in the intro is little crazy. As it is now, a reader doesn't even get a change to be introduced to the topic before being bombarded with times, dates and numbers of crops failures and the inevitable unreliability of dependancy on the potato. This should be kept for discussion further down in the article. Anyone unfamiliar with the subject would be bamboozled by all of these statistics unless we introduce them to what context to interpret them in. (And anyone familiar with the subject would simply wonder at te writing style.) --sony-youthpléigh 09:37, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Big improvement, thanks Sony. I am reviewing other sources on the causes of the famine at present, it appears that Woodham-Smith took rather a hard anti-British view of the causes when she wrote The Great Hunger in the early 60s that is countered by much scholarship since then and we need to cite some of those other views. Particularly the myth that food exports rose during the famine and that they exceeded domestic food consumption, both of which have been shown now to be false. MarkThomas 10:09, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Mark, a word of advice. Please, less of the calling sources you don't agree with "anti-British" or "Republican." It doesn't do anyone any favours. --sony-youthpléigh 10:22, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, OK, but it's hard not to define Woodham-Smith's viewpoint on the Famine as having been caused by the British Government - it's difficult to characterise that as partial without invoking a sense of "anti-Britishness", and I certainly do not intend that to mean that some sort of racism is involved now, particularly amongst editors here. There are many places on Wikipedia where an "anti-British" view is discussed and I don't see it as offensive to label views as being that if they are. It's not meant as a personal comment against anyone editing this article. 10:43, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
And the arch anti-Brit of them all: "The famine was a defining event in the history of Ireland and of Britain. It has left deep scars. That one million people should have died in what was then part of the richest and most powerful nation in the world is something that still causes pain as we reflect on it today. Those who governed in London at the time failed their people through standing by while a crop failure turned into a massive human tragedy. We must not forget such a dreadful event. Britain in particular has benefited immeasurably from the skills and talents of Irish people, not only in areas such as music, the arts and the caring professions, but across the whole spectrum of our political, economic and social life."
Don't confuse unconformable truths with slander. --sony-youthpléigh 11:21, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I hope that I'm not Sony, I do believe that the Irish Famine was caused by the general indifference to the welfare of the poorest prevalant at that time, coupled to anti-Irish racism in Britain and extremist laissez-fairism operating in the British government. And I commend Tony Blair for giving what appears to be an apology for the British role in that. But that doesn't detract from attempting to objectively analyse sources and contexts in Wikipedia articles. We need to give an NPOV analysis of what happened, not one based purely on a partisan view of history. MarkThomas 11:40, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Oh dear. It seems we are going right back to square here. Writing facts which of themselves shed a poor light on, in this case, the British Administration, cannot be regarded as "anti-British"; anymore that writing the truth about Auswitch can be called anti-German. (Sarah777 12:07, 24 June 2007 (UTC))
@Mark: Then it would help if you could summaries your concerns succinctly rather than attacking published material as "anti-British" - not least because it sounds especially odd when the author of that work is an acclaimed historian who was awarded the title of Commander of the British Empire for his work. --sony-youthpléigh 12:08, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Oh come on. I actually don't think I need to defend describing a source as "anti-British", any more than I would expect you to have to defend describing a source as "anti-Irish". Wikipedia editors are not a thought-police. Also (Sony) Cecil Woodham-Smith was a woman, despite the apparently male name. And Sarah777, I don't disagree with your point actually, but you are not describing what I am saying. I am saying that a partisan view of Irish history can color and alter the perception of that history, in both directions. Or are you denying that it is possible to have a partisan view of Irish history? MarkThomas 12:12, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Of course not Mark; anyone can have a partisan view of any history. Today, with almost limitless information available we don't agree on current events - dismissing some sources as propaganda; selecting others. I have issues with Wiki on a grand scale on that front. And I certainly won't be making a federal case of any claims of "anti-Britishness" you make - but I draw the line at being called "racist", especially as I try to use "British" rather than "English" regarding events since 1700; deliberately and for many of the reasons you have given yourself as to why you object to anti-Englishness. (I have no great problem, to be honest with being called anti-British, except as a matter of accuracy; but I don't like being called anti-English when, I assure you, I am not).

(Sarah777 14:11, 24 June 2007 (UTC))

"... is possible to have a partisan view of Irish history?" Yes, Mark it is, and it is now clear in my mind that you hold a partisan view of Irish history, seeing it clearly in terms of "anti-British" and "anti-Irish". I presume that you belong to the latter category and perceive anyone not subscribing to that view as belonging to the former? --sony-youthpléigh 12:27, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't know how you get to that from my comments Sony. I don't see it in terms of "anti-British" and "anti-Irish". Unfortunately however, many do subscribe to one camp or another. I ask you, are you denying that highly partisan views of Irish history do exist and can prejudice how that history gets written up in articles on it in Wikipedia? This seems so self-evident and it is vital that WP not be prey to propagandists. Like you, I want Wikipedia to attempt to be NPOV on these issues, but sadly a determined group of editors do not apparently share this aim. Challenging POV is incidentally a key goal of any committed Wikipedian. MarkThomas 12:53, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, of late, I've only heard you make blanket accusations against "Republician-minded" and "anti-British" historians. On the Oliver Cromwell page, I'm still waiting for an explanation for the unstated "bits of Republican folklore" that "need drastic revision" in the introduction. If an article is biased or contains unmerited information or unsupported interpretation, fix it - but please, less of the random anti-British assertions. Whether Cecil Woodham-Smith be man, woman or rabid Fenian beast, dismissing the published work of a Commander of the British Empire as "anti-British" smacks of mania, and makes it difficult to take any genuine concerns that you have as serious. --sony-youthpléigh 13:23, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, we are all busy, but yes, I am still working on a revision of the Cromwell introduction and hope to get round to it soon! The "folklore" on Cromwell (last time I looked at the article) in my opinion lies in characterising him as a genocidalist in Ireland - I don't think that's a view that very many historians would hold, although a few do. Also, why do you think that a British person can't hold "anti-British" views? As for your accusation of "mania", well, I would say I have grounds for a complaint of gross incivility there, but as it's you Sony, I won't! MarkThomas 13:35, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Just to clarify one other small point Sony, Cecil Woodham-Smith was from an Irish family, not that it matters really. MarkThomas 13:38, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the Fitzgeralds, otherwise known as Geraldine. Among the many contributions of her dynasty to Irish history was this symbol, chosen to represent the British order of chivalry associated with Ireland, and Ireland in the Union Flag. Was your point that historians of Irish stock cannot be trusted? --sony-youthpléigh 13:50, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
If that had been my point, why would I have said "not that it matters" above? Please stop maligning my motives Sony. I only want an NPOV Wikipedia. Part of that is challenging the over-use or over-representation in articles of sources that are themselves POV. Standard WP stuff really. MarkThomas 13:55, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
That's good, but the problem with your approach is your belief that you "actually don't think [you] need to defend describing a source as 'anti-British'." I think you do. You said that your problem with Woodham-Smith's was that her "viewpoint on the Famine [was that it had] been caused by the British Government" and that that, by definition, was "'anti-Britishness'." That is not pursuing NPOV, Mark, that is removing sourced authoritative material that you don't like. --sony-youthpléigh 14:09, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Where have I removed Woodham-Smith? I even went through correcting all the spelling mistakes in the refs to her source! But again, sadly, I am being subtly misconstrued. It isn't my position that sources I happen to think of as POV should be removed. Just that they should be used in WP articles in context and where a picture emerges from the use of other sources that contradict that source, that context should be shown. I also do happen to think that the Woodham-Smith source takes a very anti-British and Irish Nationalist line but that hardly means I would suddenly want to remove it from the article! MarkThomas 14:18, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Okay. I misunderstood you. --sony-youthpléigh 14:20, 24 June 2007 (UTC)


Please note the inclusion of the material by Rubenstein and Sen in this section (which needs to be retitled more neutrally) is prohibited under NOR as synthesis. WP:NOR#Synthesis_of_published_material_serving_to_advance_a_position They are not writing about the Great Irish Famine. This is an article, not an essay. Tyrenius 19:50, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Tyrenius, as problem! Thanks --Domer48 19:53, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Re Title, How about holocaust? LOL, Only yanking your chain. Regards --Domer48 19:57, 24 June 2007 (UTC) Thought I heard someone having a hart attack?? Ha ha ha ....
You're not yanking anyone's chain other than your own, although it is vexatious to have to spend so much time correcting bad edits and then being publicly abused by Domer48 and when trying to deal with it privately in a sensible way having thrown back as mud. Have you ever considered blogging Domer, may be more your scene. MarkThomas 20:00, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Personal attack. Next remark like that and you will be blocked.Tyrenius 20:21, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Mark! Should you really be editing history pages? See here [[4]]. Gold♥ 20:14, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Personal attack. Next remark like that and you will be blocked.Tyrenius 20:21, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Not clear what this has to do with the Irish Famine? Anything at all? MarkThomas 20:17, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
"Suggestions" of Genocide isn't very POV; many people (including myself) regard it as a manifest case of genocide. It is very appropriate to have a section discussing the issue; where all the arguments for and against can be laid out and references. I have just suffered a fortnight long RfC to defend the right to air precisely this view (amongst others). (Sarah777 20:18, 24 June 2007 (UTC))
Without wishing to be impolite, I'd like to point out that it doesn't matter what you regard it as: that is quite irrelevant. All that matters is what the appropriate sources have to say, and representing them from a WP:NPOV in an appropriate balance (i.e. majority viewpoint gets more weight, small minority viewpoints don't get mentioned). It is best to leave all personal opinions out of talk pages: it is a contravention of WP:TPG for a start. The word "genocide" shouldn't even be mentioned, unless a secondary source has specifically used it in the context of this famine. The facts should be laid out, and if they are done so properly, then the reality of events should be blindingly obvious. Certainly Tony Blair's remarks should be included in this article. Tyrenius 20:29, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Removed the text re: T’s excellent advice, as always. Apologies for my recent contribution, i.e that it is net based, obviously preferring to read books. With real pages. But lazy editing on my behalf all the same! Regards --Domer48 20:21, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
"Genocide" (Sarah777) is the intentional effort to murder an entire race. Where is your evidence that this was ever intended by the British in Ireland? There is none. Nobody is saying that you can't air that view, but it's not true. Equally, the RfC as you very well know was not about your right to air such views, it was about your total incivility in doing so, something which many editors contributing to the RfC agreed with. MarkThomas 20:22, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Please stick to what secondary sources have to say, rather than make up your own editorial debate about it. Tyrenius 20:30, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Hi Sarah777, as you have rightly said there are those who have made "Suggestions of Genocide," and this section is addressing them. But we must make sure we use "referenced sources," and be able to back up what we say with "citations." Because just sounding off on the subject, and not being able to back it up is what I would call time wasting. It should be a great Article! Take care, and thanks for the advice, Kind Regards --Domer48 20:29, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Quite, so earlier on when you stated that John Mitchel had called it a genocide, can you please provide the reference for that Domer48? Thanks. MarkThomas 20:35, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
@Mark: Incorrect, if genocide is "the deliberate killing of a whole nation or people"; then, bar some aboriginal tribes wiped out by the British Empire I am unaware of any genocide. Certainly the Holocaust wouldn't qualify on that definition!
@Tyrenius; most emphatically disagree. Genocide has every place in this article; it would be POV not to include it. The fact that commentators didn't use a specific word before it was coined in neither here nor there. In modern English, the genocidalism or otherwise of the famine is openly and increasingly debated. And I will certainly express my views on a talk page where they are directly relevant; in this case to illustrate the the idea that "nobody" has suggest genocide is not true. I am meticulous about keeping my pov out of the articles, something I hope you accept. Regards (Sarah777 20:45, 24 June 2007 (UTC))
Please see WP:TPG: Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views. (emphasis as in the original) If you contravene this, you will be blocked. If there is any matter to be included, then it must be because it is the view of a verifiable secondary source, not because it is your view. Tyrenius 20:58, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Sarah777, genocide is not as you characterise it "the deliberate killing of a whole nation or people", it is the intention to do so. As for the date of the word, the reason I raise that is that Domer48 helpfully suggested that John Mitchel had used it and I wondered how he could have done since it is a modern usage. If we go into anachronistic "interpretations" of what someone once said mapped against the modern term and then call it "genocide", Wikipedia will have a lot more "genocides" on it's books! But seriously, the question is still out there, what serious referenced sources are out there that call the Irish Famine a genocide? Most historians do not describe it so. MarkThomas 20:49, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Trevelyan summed up the establishment attitude, he wrote "being altogether beyond the power of man, the cure has been applied by the direct stroke of an all-wise Providence in a manner as unexpected and as unthought of as it is likely to be effectual." Yes the question of genecide is very much alive in this topic. Gold♥ 20:53, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Your quote doesn't mention genocide. Please stick to sources accurately and don't make POV interpretations. Tyrenius 21:00, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I believe the laissez faire attitude is significant, and notable. I didn't expect it to be expanded. Gold♥ 21:03, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Then the issue is "laissez faire" and the section should be titled accordingly. I assume you have refs. Tyrenius 21:06, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Refs for which aspect? Gold♥ 21:13, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Hi again Sarah777 , since the term has been introduced through the references I supplied, and that is what the section deals with, I think it would be better to deal with improving the article, than having long drawn out conversations based on opinions with no effort to back up with references. We would not like to be accused of being all talk and no action? Kind Regards --Domer48 20:57, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

The talk page is to elucidate the facts and discuss points without edit-warring, which I am trying to do. With respect, I have now asked you Domer48 to give the reference for John Mitchel describing it as genocide, which you earlier stated was the case, and nothing is forthcoming. Sarah777 has contributed an interesting quote from Trevelyan which seems off the point. I think the point here is that older sources are not references for genocide and modern accusations have been repeatedly shown by serious historians to be counterfactual. I therefore propose that we change the subhead "suggestions of genocide" to something less loaded, as clearly this is an attempt to imply genocide when there is no substantial body of opinion outside a very narrow one to justify the use of the term. MarkThomas 21:01, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Hey Mark...I supplied no quote from Trevelyan :) (Sarah777 22:08, 24 June 2007 (UTC))
If modern historians have shown the accusations to be counterfactual, then they have addressed the issue, so there should be sources available to show the discussion. It then becomes valid in the article. Tyrenius 21:10, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Tyrenius, the debate is over whether the word "genocide" has any place in an article about the Famine. (At least that is one of the interlocking debates going on here). You said "The word 'genocide' shouldn't even be mentioned, unless a secondary source has specifically used it in the context of this famine." I disagree; and I strongly object to you apparent assertion that it can't be even mentioned in the talkpage without threat of blocking. Secondary sources have been provided. I politely ask to withdraw you block threat and apologise for having issued it. Regards(Sarah777 22:04, 24 June 2007 (UTC))
The only veto I have stated is on using wikipedia as a soapbox for personal opinions, following your statement above:
"Suggestions" of Genocide isn't very POV; many people (including myself) regard it as a manifest case of genocide. It is very appropriate to have a section discussing the issue; where all the arguments for and against can be laid out and references. I have just suffered a fortnight long RfC to defend the right to air precisely this view (amongst others).
Airing precisely this view of what you regard as a manifest case of something can only hinder progress on this page. There is no objection whatsoever to examining secondary sources' views of this, or any other, matter. I suggest using them closely and accurately per WP:NPOV and WP:POV, rather than informing us of what you regard things as. If that is done, then there won't be any problem.
Tyrenius 03:20, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Genocide per WP:V[edit]

If anyone has any verifiable sources discussing genocide, please list the relevant quote below with the reference. An equivalent, such as "the British government deliberately set out to kill all the Irish people" is also relevant. This section isn't for discussion. It's for factual matter. Thank you. Tyrenius 21:04, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Hi Tyrenius, the opening section deals with the issue, and is referenced. To suggest that it is not a subject that is discussed would be wrong. I mean to suggest it, and not you. Regards --Domer48 21:10, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

If the opening section deals with the issue, then there's no need for a separate section to deal with it. Which section do you mean? I can't see "genocide" there. Tyrenius 21:12, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

A quote

"If my ‘Apology’ then, shall help to convince my countrymen, and the world—that the English are not more sanguinary and atrocious than any other people would be in like case, and under like exigencies—that the disarmament, degradation, extermination and periodical destruction of the Irish people, are measures of policy dictated not by pure malignity but by the imperious requirements of the system of Empire administered in London—that they must go on, precisely as at present, while the British Empire goes on—and that there is no remedy for them under heaven save the dismemberment of that Empire—then the object of my writing shall have been attained."


Paris Jan 10th 1860

Regards --Domer48 21:17, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

The section Suggestions of Genocide

"The most important historiographical debate[citation needed] revolves around the issue of British responsibility for the Famine. Irish nationalist have long accused the British with "the crime of genocide."

Regards --Domer48 21:20, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I can't find that text "disarmament, degradation, extermination and periodical destruction of the Irish people" in the article. Where is it? Tyrenius 21:22, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Tyrenius, I can not type that fast, I thought you just wanted a quote. REgards --Domer48 21:30, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

This should be in the article. Tyrenius 21:36, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Way forward[edit]

This whole debate would be greatly simplified if editors stuck to what the sources say and put that in the article, rather than argue about how to interpret what the sources say. Tyrenius 21:24, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

The notion that sources can't be/don't need to be interpreted is not valid. Most sources must be interpreted all the time. Any sources distant from us linguistically or temporally have to be interpreted by someone. Can you read classical Greek? Or do you quote interpretations which are secondary, tertiary and beyond? If Mitchell said "a deliberate attempt to exterminate the Irish" (no idea if he used those exact words) but didn't use "genocide" (not least because the word didn't exist) it is utter nonsense to suggest translating that into modern English as "genocide" is pov pushing. (Sarah777 22:20, 24 June 2007 (UTC))
Just so we're not quibbling over semantics: paraphrasing is often necessary (if only to avoid copvyios). Paraphrasing is saying exactly the same thing, but just using different words. Your Mitchell example is a paraphrase, but it would be necessary to find he had been that specific. Interpretation, the way I'm using it, can involve a subjective element and should be avoided. If something is "open to interpretation", it means that different meanings can be read into it. It's not our job to read meanings into things, and different people can equally validly read different meanings. This then becomes POV. This use of "interpretation" is different to the use as in "to interpret a foreign language", which again should ideally be saying exactly the same thing, but using different words (in a different language of course). Tyrenius 23:06, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
You know; this brings to mind the phrase used vis a vis Britain and America; that they are "separated by a common language". I often think the same could be applied to Ireland and England. Btw, did I hear an apology for threatening to block me in there anywhere? Regards (Sarah777 23:29, 24 June 2007 (UTC))
If it doesn't apply, then ignore it. Tyrenius 00:49, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Not really good enough Tyrenius. You leave me playing Russian Roulette; I'm just trying to build Wiki. You leave me the the only safe option of avoiding all reference to genocide. Not acceptable. Please retract. (Sarah777 01:16, 25 June 2007 (UTC))
See above, my post 03:20, 25 June 2007. It would be helpful if you look at my remarks on /Genocide. Tyrenius 03:22, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I did indeed read that. Unfortunately I find it fails to address the fact that many referenced sources consider the Great Famine to be Genocide, which is rather important if we are to produce an article that conforms to WP:NPOV. (Sarah777 08:32, 25 June 2007 (UTC))


I have reviewed and commented on that section. Click on the link in the heading. This is not intended to be definitive, but is hopefully a way forward again. It might be an idea to work through the section on the sub page, rather than the main article? Tyrenius 00:49, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Article II (c) of the 1948 (Hague) Genocide Convention[edit]

Article II (c) of the 1948 Hague Genocide Convention. I have being reading it this evening. If you can get it, have a read. Very interesting. It was brought into effect almost 100 years after the The Great Famine, but its relevance is most clear. Shame it wasn't around 100 years earlier. Gold♥ 01:15, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Then let's build that into the article; if the definition of "genocide" correlates with what happened during the Great Famine, then it is was genocide. Period. In fact if what happened in the Great Famine can be shown to meet the UN definition of genocide, them we may have to inlude the term "genocide" in the article title. (Sarah777 01:37, 25 June 2007 (UTC))
That methodology of creating article content is specifically forbidden at Wp:nor#Synthesis_of_published_material_serving_to_advance_a_position. Tyrenius 03:00, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Has anyone written a scholarly paper or in a book that draws on the Hague Convention and describes the Great Irish Famine as an example? If so, that could be referenced in the article. MarkThomas 07:26, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
"Editors often make the mistake of thinking that if A is published by a reliable source, and B is published by a reliable source, then A and B can be joined together in an article to advance position C. However, this would be an example of a new synthesis" - Wp:nor#Synthesis_of_published_material_serving_to_advance_a_position. Fine. But that isn't what is being suggested here. "A" was published by a reliable source before the word was coined to describe what A was saying. (Sarah777 08:27, 25 June 2007 (UTC))
The "C" here would be the concept that the Irish Famine was a "genocide" and therefore you need "A" or "B" to say so and not just pick random quotes from history that seem near the mark and then build a case out of those. Which is why both myself and Gold and Tyrenius are asking for references. All you need is a reference from scholarship stating the case that the GIF was a genocide. I think we have one fairly loose one on the article to that effect but my argument is that we should not use the subhead "Suggestion(s) of genocide" in the context of such a limited reference. MarkThomas 08:34, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
There is no C here. The A is a description of events that are called "genocide" in modern English. Astronomers can tell us today that there was a supernova spotted all over the Northern Hemisphere in 1433; even though not a single witness would have used the term. (Sarah777 10:13, 25 June 2007 (UTC))
I would go with Sony's recent edits, which cover the ground pretty well. Your last point Sarah777 does not address the issue in the article. MarkThomas 10:22, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
@Sarah: I don't think its necessary to say the word. The facts speak for themselves. In fact, the language used by contempories is, in my opinion, more profound and castigating than calling it a genocide. Use of that word would immediately be deflated by edits telling how most historians do not call it such. But, when the Lord Lieutenant writes that "[no other] legislature in Europe that would [...] coldly persist in a policy of extermination," the parallels to the next one that would do so springs off the page. --sony-youthpléigh 10:25, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
@Mark - my last point addresses the flawed thinking that seeks to prohibit the use of the word "genocide"; which is what we are discussing.
@Sony - is what you are suggesting is that a very important aspect of modern debate about the famine not be discussed in the article? Much of this debate is precisely around the word genocide. That something regarded as such (with references) by 'millions of Irish' over 'generations' should be treated as a view held by an 'insignificant minority' is pure WP:BIAS. Nobody is trying to get "the famine was genocide" into the article. What needs to be in there is the referenced fact that very many people regard it as such. I have seen nothing in the arguments advanced on this page to suggest that the article doesn't need a section on the Genocide issue. (Sarah777 10:45, 25 June 2007 (UTC))
If a debate exists, a debate exists, but it will get ripped to pieces and collapse into emphatic arguments based on immature, unreliable and biased sources. That in turn will smear, in the mind of our readers, the genuine judgement of the Famine as being the supreme example of Britain's cold neglect, indifference, bigotry and colonial self-interest and selfishness in Ireland as simple-minded Irish nationalist nonsense. Of course, in the interest of preserving NPOV, if that must happen then that must happen. --sony-youthpléigh 11:15, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't see it like that. Firstly; it won't get ripped apart; except in the eyes of those already partisan. "emphatic arguments based on immature, unreliable and biased sources." - well, to go back to the your own view on the structured bias in Wiki; I think there is more than enough to ensure that a neutral reader (most Americans for example) won't be convinced against the facts by obscure semantics. "That in turn will smear, in the mind of our readers" - let us accept that we have very different groups of readers. (Sarah777 12:04, 25 June 2007 (UTC))
Of the three references there now, all say that no genocide occurred. One refers to a report by the "Irish Famine/Genocide Committee", which (not very surprising given their name) concluded that the British government violated the Hague convention ... ummm ... even though that convention did not exist at the time. The source itself dismisses their argument as "impossible to sustain". It will get ripped to pieces. --sony-youthpléigh 12:20, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I could supply more references which suggest Genocide, if we need more balance. Regards --Domer48 12:28, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Please do. At the moment the section should be renamed "Rejection of suggestions of genocide." --sony-youthpléigh 12:36, 25 June 2007 (UTC)


There are some points in this article that refer only and specifically to famine in India. I am removing them as they are not relevant to this article. I am leaving the quote from the same author which references the Irish Famine as that is relevant - but including other points that just relate to India is obvious synthesis. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 11:23, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree, the items that discuss famines in India at different times seem to be there only to support a position against the government of the United Kingdom at the time and aren't encyclopaedic in this place. A general reference to others is fine but this is an article on the Great Irish Famine which cannot in anyway be connected to a famine in India in the 1940s. Ben W Bell talk 12:04, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Can't agree. There were many famines in India under British rule; the same British Imperial Government that presided over the Irish Famine. (Note Bastun; I'm not suggesting the same individuals were in Government). British policy was genocidal across the globe; so that provides important context for the events in Ireland in the 1840s. Context, not synthesis. (Sarah777 12:18, 25 June 2007 (UTC))
If editors think it would be helpful, I could add referneces which would illustrate that the suggestions contained in this reference, were used by both members of the Young Irelands and Daniel'OConnell's Repeal Association. But only if editors think it is important that it lends to the context for the events in Ireland in the 1840s. Regards --Domer48 12:24, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
The Young Irelanders would be welcome, but it must be pointed out that they were out for the repeal of the union. However, combining the two still sounds like synthesis, but let's see. --sony-youthpléigh 12:30, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony; re The Young Irelanders opposition to the Union; should we scrutinise every source for their views on the Union? That could eliminate a lot of scholarly revisionists! (Sarah777 12:39, 25 June 2007 (UTC))

Leave it with me...One question, what would wanting repeal have to do with the information, would it be the same be said of those who opposed repeal? REGARDS

Basic questions of who is your source, why did they say what, etc. Yes, it would be the same of those who opposed repeal. That's why the Lord Lieutenant view packs so much more wieght - one would imagine that his bias would be pro-governemnt, that he castigates them as he does speaks volumes. --sony-youthpléigh 12:41, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes there were many famines under British rule, but when Britain ruled a large percentage of the known world there is obviously going to be lots of famines. There are also famines out there that occurred without British rule, famines occur every day all over the world, and unless there is specific evidence to link them then they cannot be connected by anything more than the most tenuous of links. Especially when the fungus that caused the potato famine wiped out crops worldwide, but affected Ireland mainly due to the lack of variation in the crop and the subsistence on a single main crop for food supplies. Ben W Bell talk 12:55, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Incorrect. [This paper contrasts the blight and management of it by government ascross Europe. The state of affairs in Ireland was little different, with the exception that:
"... the British authorities could and did make choices, and those were all dictated by the ideologically funded conviction that centralisation of the Irish relief institutions and an open border policy was the best option to perceive the intertwined goals of ending the famine, restructuring the Irish society and making the Irish people pay for what is concerned as ‘their’ crisis.
"The British did not act in an international vacuum. On the contrary, as Gray makes clear, they where very much interested in how continental authorities coped with the crisis. In each country active policy measures were accompanied by sometimes vivid debates about the merits of free trade versus protection. But all in all, in contrast to Britain, actions taken by the continental governments were mostly dictated by very practical motivations."
--sony-youthpléigh 13:19, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
And? What has this got to do with India which is the crux of this conversation. A famine in India in later year has nothing to do with this one. If someone wants to start an article comparing and contrasting famines that occurred in the world in countries where the British Empire was in control then go on ahead, however this is an article on the Irish famine and the Indian stuff seems unconnected to it from what I can read and seems to be only added to draw out the reader against the British Empire rather than as a NPOV context. Ben W Bell talk 13:23, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
You wrote: "... the fungus that caused the potato famine wiped out crops worldwide, but affected Ireland mainly due to the lack of variation in the crop and the subsistence on a single main crop for food supplies." I was replying to that. --sony-youthpléigh 13:27, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Okay, fair enough. I apologise. Ben W Bell talk 13:29, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) - Sarah, you're really suggesting that the Whig government of the 1840s instituted a global policy still adhered to by a Tory government a century later? British policy was genocidal across the globe? Fine, create an article on British genocidal policies, 1847-1944 - but a large paragraph on a famine in India 100 years after the Irish famine is not relevant. It is obvious synthesis, attempting to lead the reader into assuming A + B implies C. As Sony says, far better to let the compelling words of their own Lord Lieutenant condemn the government of the day. If you want to strengthen that aspect I'd also suggest expanding the text relating to the fact that this wasn't a famine in the true sense of the word, that other crops were in plentiful supply but were exported for profit, etc. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 13:01, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Bastun is right about the synthesis as above. As a passing comment, it is also becoming much too fashionable to yell "genocide" at every past event of mass-death in history. Genocide is a special meaning, the deliberate intention to eliminate a race. I don't think the British government has ever done that, at least not officially. When you get down deep and analyse causes, as with the Great Irish Famine, there was indifference, there was casuality and contempt for the poor, there was racism and nationalism and imperialism, but there was no deliberate plan. Even apparent cast-iron cases like the destruction of native people in Tasmania and North America turn out on close inspection to have been largely caused by disease. Using genocide as a political point-scoring term devalues the word and reduces the impact of truly horrible and proven cases like the Holocaust and the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians, Stalin's destruction of various Soviet peoples, etc. MarkThomas 20:59, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Of course on closer inspection you will find too that most Jews also died of disease during the Holocaust and that Turkish historians would dismiss as spurious and unsubstantiated any allegations of genocide against the Armenians. The Ukrainian famine, however, is a very poingnant case to bring up. Like the Irish famine, it was part of a wider food crisis. Like the Irish famine, government handling of the crisis was ideologically and racially motivated. Like the Irish famine, the tragedy as exploited as an opportunity for social, economic and political reform. Like the Irish famine, the enacted policies were made upon another country by a long-beligerant neighbour who had recently unified as a dominant partner with the other. The parllels continue; but unlike the Irish famine, the Ukrainian famine is widely referred to as a genocide. Cold war politics? Maybe. Politics works both ways of course. Otherwise, why would the UK not be judged in the same way? --sony-youthpléigh 21:40, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
A well argued case Sony, I don't know as much in depth about the Soviet famines as I would like. I do recall from my reading of it though that the Ukrainian deaths were motivated at least in part by the desire to punish the alleged "Kulak" class and this was carried out with murderous efficiency, with food being deliberately withdrawn, etc. I am still not convinced that is what happened in the Great Irish Famine - the article overleaf itself discusses efforts by the British Government to alleviate it by sending in wheat, etc. I really don't think they are the same. Also, on the cold war politics point, I think it's the case that most of the information about Stalin's racial/political mass-murders derive from Russian sources who fled the Soviet system, not that this detracts from the basic point but there is more credibility to those cases than just western propaganda. MarkThomas 06:50, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

What crap is this "will find too that most Jews also died of disease during the Holocaust"? It is a load of rubbish. Most Jews died of lethal gas and bullets. An attempt to bring in Stalin is pretty appalling. We know Stalin engineered the famine to wipe out the Ukrainians. The British never did that in Ireland. The Great Irish Famine is a case of neglect, incompetence and indifference. Not Genocide. Led125

Selective Use of "Genocide"[edit]

@Mark; "Using genocide as a political point-scoring term devalues the word and reduces the impact of truly horrible and proven cases like the Holocaust and the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians, Stalin's destruction of various Soviet peoples, etc.". In Turkey it is illegal to call the Armenian massacres "genocide"; Stalin's were collateral damage from a political/nationalist policy; exactly what apologists for British holocausts claim British ones were - a side effect rather than a calculated primary effect. What devalues the term "genocide" is politically motive exceptionalist use of the term. (Sarah777 22:13, 25 June 2007 (UTC))

Only nobody in Britain denies that the famine took place. In Turkey they do. I have no political policy. Genocide is clearly defined and for it to be genocide there must be intent. We know Stalin's intent was murderous; we know the Turk's intent was murderous; we know Hitler's intent was murderous; we know the British intent was not. Led125

We know none of those things actually. Stalin's primary intent was to implement a political programme, just the defence Britain claims. Turkey denies genocide so strongly it has laws against the claim; they don't deny lots of Armenians died. I never mentioned Hitler, so why do you include him? And this whole debate is about the denial of genocide by (mainly) the British. Genocide as clearly defined by the UN would include the Great Famine and the "lack of intent" in the British Establishment is far from being established. They used similar tactics in India and elsewhere. (Sarah777 20:46, 8 July 2007 (UTC))

References and Citations[edit]

Removed unreferenced information, material added to articles should have citations, otherwise they may be challenged and removed. --Domer48 20:47, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

This cannot possibly apply to every sentence and word in an article. The sentence in question conveys context. Sony-youth, you wrote this sentence in originally, what's your take on it? MarkThomas 20:54, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
The assertion that few ascribe the term genocide is being challenged by both authors and historians, and more importantly why there was so little written on the subject. That new books have begun to appear, in particular since the 150 anniversary. There have been a number of books on the subject. Of those which deal with this assertion, Irish Hunger by Tom Hayden, Famine Diary, by Brendan O Cathaoir, and Revision of Irish Nationalism by Desmond Fennell. The request to provide references has been ignored and the unreferenced material wilfully replaced. If editors wish to added material, they should provide references, and be able to cite sources, otherwise their edit may be challenged and removed. --Domer48 21:11, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I didn't write the offending sentence. It was part of the block that I bulleted. If a source is necessary, however, maybe we can use the citation already in the article i.e. "only one modern Irish historian ... can be said to have endorsed [the interpretation of genocide]." One strikes me as a sufficiently low number to support the statement "few modern historians." --sony-youthpléigh 21:41, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony there is more than one, such as A. J. P. Taylor, a noted Historian and a reputable scholar. Now there is more! I'm putting information together on it like I said. Is that ok. Regards --Domer48 21:47, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Of course its okay - but removing stuff on the grounds that its unreferenced, when a supporting reference is just one bullet point below it, appears a little hasty. --sony-youthpléigh 22:08, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony in addressing this, there are two ways to go, a short note to say it is contested, or a whole new section on the current debate on the subject of revisionism. You done the lay out, and this was the only section wich had a lead, why can the referenced sources speek for themselves, why the lead? Regards --Domer48 22:14, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
The sentence was already in the text. I deliberately didn't remove any text for fear it would create trouble. I only reordered text already there so as to make the quotations provided coherent and someway comprehensible. That sentence was the only one that wasn't a direct quote so it wasn't appropriate for a bullet point. That's the only reason it was there. No hidden agenda. No conspiracy theory. --sony-youthpléigh 22:20, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
No Problem Sony, can we agree to let the referenced material do the talking? Regards --Domer48 22:31, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Sure. (At least in the short term. The section needs (re)writing though. Quotes alone aren't enough in the medium term, but I'm sure you know that and it sounds like you're working on building something strong, so you've got my blessing.) --sony-youthpléigh 22:36, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Sound. Regards--Domer48 22:38, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I think we may have to insist on the same standard of reference for all statements in this article. And perhaps, as some editors appear to feel it important, the attitude to the Union should be added. Using the 15:1 thinking, after factoring out Nationalist/Unionist bias if is even 5% of the references support suggestions of genocide we can conclude that opinion is evenly split. Domer; can you find two references (and of course we can dismiss the semantics claiming that actions meeting the Hague definition cannot be called "genocide" because they were perpetrated either before the term was coined or before the Hague Convention.(Sarah777 22:47, 26 June 2007 (UTC))
Good Wikipedia articles are more than just lists of sentences each supported by a reference. The article should create context and can include general text. The real issue here is how to characterise the range of historians who call the Irish Famine a "genocide". In modern academic opinion that is a minority view, and the Wikipedia article should reflect that, otherwise it is POV. MarkThomas 08:15, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Agree Mark, that good Wikipedia articles are more than just lists of sentences each supported by a reference. My concern was that the view denying or failing to support the famine as genocide be accorded the same scrutiny as the view that it is. We all know that very many people in Ireland and America regard the famine as genocide based on the known facts, just as we also know that British historians mainly deny it. But it seems that getting a clear statement of the former is challenged at ever step; whereas the latter pov is being given relatively unchallenged access to the article. Obviously this leads to grave danger of bias. (Sarah777 08:45, 27 June 2007 (UTC))
Its not just British historians who deny it, or the dreaded revisionists of Irish lore. The histoical route to substantiating the genocide claim is a dead-end. More substantive and important is the significance of the famine to British-Irish relations - and that significance is every bit justifiable, deep, devastating and poisoning as to make it paramount to genocide. --sony-youthpléigh 08:54, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
It most certainly is not a dead end! As has been pointed out here repeatedly, under the definition of the Hague Convention the evidence of genocide is strong. (Sarah777 09:04, 27 June 2007 (UTC))
Will do, working on more than that. Whole new section! Regards --Domer48 23:05, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
References added. --Domer48 19:07, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

The referenced information addresses two points, 1) “this account has long been the orthodoxy of Irish nationalism,” there is a clear move back to a more “orthodox” view. 2) “Most historians find it impossible to sustain the charge of deliberate genocide,” the concluusions reached at the time, have themselves been revised. This revision has moved to a more “orthodoxy,” view based on all the new publications. --Domer48 19:40, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Sony, as requested, Additional references deal pacifically with the term genocide. --Domer48 20:45, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Bad faith and disruptive editing[edit]

As the only editor at the minute actually providing referenced material to this article, I take no delight in pointing out that editors, through bias or POV pushing, have and are being disruptive. The vast quantities of unreferenced material in this article, they have blatantly ignored, and focused on only sourced material. No matter what BS excuse they use and there will be plenty, their actions speak louder than words. These editors have in addition abused the talk page and have turned it into a forum for point scoring and abuse. Regards --Domer48 20:06, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Who are you specifically accusing of "bad faith" and "disruptive editing" Domer48? Statements like these about other editors are breaches of WP:CIVIL. Please enlighten us. MarkThomas 20:17, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm sure that Domer had nobody in particular in mind, just a general feeling that editing here and discussion on the talkpage has become more about point-scoring than improving the article. "The vast quantities of unreferenced material in this article, they have blatantly ignored" - Domer. Well, that takes me back to an earlier suggestion that we may have to pay equal attention to ALL the sentences; not in favour of "references strung together" approach (I agree with Mark there) but if may be necessary to avoid bias and ensure we maintain the Wiki policy of WP:NPOV (Sarah777 20:34, 27 June 2007 (UTC))
Sarah, you can read me like a book. Thanks for your encouraging remarks. I will have another section ready soon. It is a pity no one has the were with all to address the rest of the article. Regards --Domer48 20:39, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Domer, I feel sure that with a bit of unoriginal research you will find the wherewithal (note the spelling young Domer). You have a keen mind and a forensic intelligence. And I don't say that to everyone I encounter. (Sarah777 21:28, 27 June 2007 (UTC))

Sarah777, you do not speak for Domer48. Domer48, do you apologise for repeatedly (you have done it previously) describing my edits as "bad faith edits", yes or no? MarkThomas 21:42, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Quote by James Donnelly[edit]

The lead sentence to James Donnelly quote apparently refers to the quote that precedes it. The preceding bullet says that says that only one modern historian endorses the position that a genocide took place. The lead to the Donnelly quote says that "[t]his view though its self has changed since 1996." However the Donnelly quote does not mention endorsements that a genocide. It refers to "key nationalist perspectives." This may be an elusion to genocide, but in all likelihood not - key nationalist perspectives on the famine are manyfold, and the "genocide perspective" is quite the extreme of it. I'm commenting the section quote again, and removing the commentary, as genocide is mentioned no where in the quote. --sony-youthpléigh 21:26, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

It would be my view that the quote is a very good lead into the next two. As its referenced, you will have to come up with another load of references to suggest otherwise. Sara would appear to me to know what she is doing. Can someone else come up with references for the other sections. Regards --Domer48 21:32, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, I think the key word in the phrase - "key nationalist perspectives" - is key. The key perspective being, according to many disagreeing sources, the view that the famine was genocide. Let's call a spade a spade here. If you don't allow that I may, in the interests of WP:NPOV, have to take a keen interest in the politics, language, class and so-forth of the holocaust deniers referenced in the article. (Sarah777 21:35, 27 June 2007 (UTC))
If you think about the noun in the phrase - "key nationalist perspectives" - you will see that its plural, yet Domer and yourself are interpreting it to be one (single) key perspective, and assuming that that single key perspective is the "genocide" question. Your comment, "I may, in the interests of WP:NPOV, have to take a keen interest in the politics, language, class and so-forth of the holocaust deniers referenced in the article", sounds as if you are making it in threat, but in fact is the basis of good historical work. Except for the "holocaust denier" part of course, which you have used as a term of abuse for me in the past. --sony-youthpléigh 21:46, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
<edit conflict - this is what I saw going to write before Domers and Sarah comments above>Just saw got you comment above (I didn't understand what it was in reference to before). Come on! That's not even worthy of the word synthesis. You can't grab something somebody said, another thing said by somebody else, string them together, and claim that they meant something else. Its not even twisting peoples words. Its just plain making up what they said. --sony-youthpléigh 21:36, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Pure BS, Sony you have not added a referenced tap to this article. And all we get is your opinion. Do some work on it and let us judge your work. --Domer48 21:41, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Domer, I have serious misgivings about your last edit, and it makes it very hard to assume good faith. Whereas before the best you could quote to support the argument genocide was "key nationalist perspectives", now Donnelly has said genocide outright? You're making this stuff up. Where's the quote??? --sony-youthpléigh 21:49, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Now now Sony, your assuming bad faith! I'm the only one here is bothered to reference my work not you. Do not ask me for anything again, I have acted in good faith, provided references you asked for, not a kiss my ... or nothing. If you had a wit of cop on you will notice I reverted to Sarah's edit. Are you not going to address my last post? --Domer48 21:54, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Damn right, I'm assuming bad faith. I ask you where the reference to genocide is in Donnelly's quote. You come up with some convoluted that that's what he would have meant if only he had said it by combining something he said with something somebody else said and arriving at something else altogether. Then suddenly, out of the blue, you change the ref to say find that Donnelley did said genocide after all. You're making it up. Where's the quote if he said it? --sony-youthpléigh 22:38, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Dame right, in you’re your rush to suggest I was wrong, you never bothered to read the quotes or the comments. Now for the slow learner, this was my quote,[5]. It was then between you and the cabbage, with you cut here cut there, till Sarah lent a much need hand, with this edit, [6]. I commented that, [7], and told you to read the edit, [8] and you would have realised your mistake, but you lacked the cop on to follow advise. To use to giving it I suppose. By the way no apologies necessary, bias must have just clouded you view. --Domer48 07:46, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Chill out Domer. So are you saying that Sarah or you are misrepresenting Donnelly in order to further your POV? --sony-youthpléigh 08:30, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I see you have copped that it was not me who changed the quote, and while I understand your reluctance to concede the point, asking questions after the fact, only prolongs and perpetuates the view of bad faith! --Domer48 08:36, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Was my quote misrepresenting Donnelly? Your convoluted answers will not extract your head from your… but it might change my skewered view of you, that being one of condescending arrogance, coupled with an adeptness to obfuscation. In plain English, muddying the waters! While I have a natural disposition to humour, I will concede it may be taken the wrong way, but I can admit when I’m wrong? --Domer48 08:50, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Domer, the problem I had from the start was the linking of Ritschel's "orthodoxy of Irish nationalism [that] historians find it impossible to sustain" to Donnelly's "extraordinary surge" and "flowering of famine scholarship" that have given "academic respectability" to "key nationalist perspectives on the famine.” There is nothing to suggest that they were talking about the same thing - that Ritschel's "orthodoxy" is Donnelly's "key perspectives." The fact that Donnelly was quoted in strings of disconnected couplets, whereas everyone else cited is quoted in full, added to my concerns, but when it was changed to have him say (unquouted) that there is "academic respectability to the view that the famine was genocide", that's clearly balderdash and not based on anything in the reference, otherwise it would have been quoted from the start. Before it was mere synthesis and whishful thinking. Now, let's see the quote of him saying that.
It was Sarah who changed it, not you, and so I retract all that I said about bad faith. But this is clearly bogus stuff. Where is the quote? --sony-youthpléigh 09:13, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, that is no problem. Fair play to ye! Everything I put in I reference, and most if not all from my own books. That is why I can get shirty. The banter adds levity I hope you agree? --Domer48 13:22, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
No problems here either. Remember I only commented it out, not removed it, its a great quote, but I'd like to see the whole thing. The banter's great but its a pity it landed the article getting locked this time. --sony-youthpléigh 13:29, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
It wasn’t the banter! I do have a sensitive side though, but I save it for wikiquote. Could you honestly see me in kit gloves for long? I will take pushing to a point! Regards --Domer48 14:09, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
This is obviously right. I have requested and gained full page protection whilst we (attempt) to get some logic into the editing of this article. In the meantime I will also seek clarification as to the status of users Sarah777 and Domer48. MarkThomas 22:41, 27 June 2007 (UTC) Note Note that this earlier comment of mine refers to Sony-youth's contribution above and not to the inserted comment of Domer48, which contains abusive comments ("slow learner", "bias must have clouded your view", "between you and the cabbage") that no committed Wikipedian would use. MarkThomas 08:05, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
You will seek what? OK. 1, 2, 3....10. I am not goadable anymore. I really wish you luck with your investigation! (Sarah777 22:51, 27 June 2007 (UTC))
In fairness Sony, I think you cannot keep asking for references without providing any yourself when asked by Domer. The reference to "holocaust deniers" was in relation to historians who fail to speak the word that describes their own conclusions. Genocide. I am not aiming it at you and I hope you don't have another risible RfC in mind. As for "threats"! I said what I would have to do if you keep putting the bar higher for people who claim genocide. To characterise that as a "threat" is utterly OTT, breaches WP:CIVIL and WP:NPA. (Sarah777 22:04, 27 June 2007 (UTC))
Regarding threats: "If you don't [do something I want] I may have [do something you won't like]"-type statements can generally be assumed to be threats, don't you think. (Albeit quite a strange one in this case, as you were 'threatening' me with doing good research.)
Regarding me adding quotes to the genocide section. As I said before, I was going to leave that to Domer as he seemed most interested - but sure, why not? Seems like an easy job. As soon as the the page gets unlocked, I'll add this:
"The strongly racial element to British attacks on the Irish rural economy and culture, moderated by the bland certainties of free market economics, readily fueled nationalist accusations that the Famine amounted to genocide. Even the term 'famine' aroused suspicion and hostility, since it suggested a thoroughly natural disaster: the 'Great Hunger' was the preferred term. Nationalist perceptions of the Famine as systematic racial exterminations were understandably strengthened by the gloating propaganda of The Times: 'in a few years more, a Celtic Irishman will be as rare in Connemara as is the Red Indian on the shores of Manhattan' (cited in Donnelly 1996:45). Possibly the most influential commentator on the Famine, John Mitchel, demystified the Providentialist explanation: 'The Almighty indeed sent the potato blight, but the English created the famine' (cited in Donnelly 1996: 49). In his excoriating indictment of British rule, Mitchel nonetheless constructed his own epic teleology, in which the Famine proved the defining moment of colonial history. It simultaneously constituted finished and ongoing history, representing the ultimate design of British domination and the catalyst for a reborn nationalism. Mitchel's Famine narratives, for example, shift between 'suspended' history and a perpetual present (Morash 1997b: 42). The famine fused starvation and victimisation, legitimising an emotive relation between hunger and martyrdom which acquired full symbolic resonance during the twentieth in the form of Republican hunger strikes (Kearney 1988, Ellmann 1993).
"The specific charge against Britain, that of creating deliberate starvation in times of plenty, bears little historical scrutiny. Grain production and food exports greatly reduced in the 1840s: even with full productivity and no exports, the food gap left by the potato's failure could not have been filled by cereal crops. Hunger and emigration were recurrent features in Ireland throughout the nineteenth century; lack of dietary variety, and reliance on the potato as a staple crop left the rural population desperately vulnerable. In short, there was no genocide."
Scott Brewster, 1999, Ireland in Proximity: History, Gender, Space, Routledge: London
--sony-youthpléigh 23:05, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
"threatening' me with doing good research" - come on Sony, in the context of the endless accusations being made against me I could do without being accused of issuing threats. You know I wasn't "threatening" in any normal sense of the word. As for the passage above; much good stuff till it got to "In short, there was no genocide". Because there was. (Sarah777 23:34, 27 June 2007 (UTC))

@Sarah: Good. Then you see, where I'm coming from. The argument for why the famine is is said to be genocide is compelling, convincing, and based on fact; and but the argument that the famine was genocide gets shot down on technicalities.

There is no need to over-sell the Famine. We are talking about the one of the top-five worst single man-made famines in history. It was preceeded by centuries of government sponsored sectarianism (economic, social and political) and the response of the government - let alone the opinion of the British people - was to use it as an opportunity to reshape Irish people in the shape of Britons. Its an easy argument to make, but if laboured over the point that it was genocide, it collapses and the real magnitude gets lost.

I get the impression that you and Domer think I'm out to detract from the genocide section and to cull anything I see. Far from it. I just want the argument to be well made. That's why I commented out the Donnelly quote - because it was weak, being based solely on the speculation that when he said "key nationalist perspectives" he mean "genocide."

I know I'm 'contributing' more to talk pages that anywhere else of late, and that that's not pulling my weight - but there are reasons for it, and I promise to add more substantially to the article when I can. --sony-youthpléigh 08:30, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Removing referenced material[edit]

The removal of referenced material is disruptive. If it continues, I will consider it vandilism. --Domer48 22:05, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

You should be made aware Domer48 that accusing people of vandalism in an unjustified manner is quite a serious breach of protocol and a good many editors have in the past been blocked for various periods for it. I hope you are ready to justify such an accusation, I can't see any justification for it. As with the accusations of "bad faith edits" you have levelled against me, this is a breach of WP:CIVIL. Note that due to your and other's edit-warring, I have also applied that this article be fully protected for a week to allow a proper discussion to take place here without the constant barrage of undiscussed significant edits you are currently engaged in. Also as no apology has been forthcoming from you to me in the matter of your abusive comments, action will take place on that. A simple apology and a slight calming down from you would relax all of us and make these steps unnecessary. Right now I don't see you as acting in the best interests of Wikipedia. MarkThomas 22:13, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism, Domer. Vandalism. You can get an automatic spell-checker with Firefox. And I know you only said that you would consider it vandalism IF a certain type of editing continued. And that you have thus far accused nobody of vandalism. (Sarah777 22:17, 27 June 2007 (UTC))
Sarah, I would be lost without you. But this constant harassment is becoming quite tedious. I almost think I’m being goaded and baited into things. All I wish to do is contribute material, not sit on the sideline snipping at my every move. What would you suggest? Regards --Domer48 22:22, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I suggest you guys all chill out, frankly. This revert-warring is in nobody's interest here and nor are the creeping assumptions of bad faith - Alison 22:26, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I would suggest you all go to bed - and heed Alison's advice! Remember if you think you are being goaded, letting yourself be goaded ain't too bright?! Keep plugging away with the good references. You find them; I'll make them stick! (Sarah777 22:40, 27 June 2007 (UTC))
Will do, takes a bit of the pressure off. I will go back to the other articles I'm working on. Referenced quotes are good though. Regards --Domer48 22:58, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Genocide quotes while we are sitting out our block[edit]

"The British government did not commit genocide, any more than did the Politsh gentiles of Dobre, yet both gained considerably, at least in the short term, from the elimination of the respective victims." - Manus I. Midlarsky, 2005, The Killing Trap: Genocides in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press

"Those opposed to teaching the Irish famine as genocide argue that the Nazis consciously set out to murder millions of people in Europe, whereas a naturally occuring crop fungus initally caused the famine. Those individuals in favour of teaching the Irish famine as genocide counter that the British did little or nothing to prevent the human tragedy. A more poetic was of framin gthis last argument is: 'The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the famine.'" - Erve J. Chambers, Paul A. Shackel, 2004, Places in Mind: Archaeology As Applied Anthropology, Routeledge: London

"The belieft that the authorities in London did little to prevent the Irish from starving underpins the recurrent claims of genocide from some quarters in Ireland and particularly Irish America. There is a sense in which England "slept." However, two points need emphasizing here. First, any worthwhile difeinition of genocide inclues murderous intent, and it must be said that not even the most bigoted and racist commentators of the day sought the extermination of the Irish. Certainly, sereotypical images of feckless peasants and lazy landlords abounded, They underpinned an interpreation of the famine as a divine solutin toan otherwise intractable problem of over-population, and justified tough policies. If policy failure resulted in deaths, then (as in the Netherlands in the same years and in India and elsewhere later) they were roughtly the by-product of a dogmatic version of political economy, not the deliberate outcoem of anti-Irish racism. In the late 1840s Whitehall policymakers were no less dogmatic towards Irish famine victimes than, for example, Mau Tse-tung would be towards Chinese peasants in the late 1950s. Yet even the toughest of them hoped for better times for Ireland and, hoever perversely, considered the harshest measures prescribed as a form of communal medicine. A charge of doctrinaire neglect is easier to susteain that one of genocide. Second, modern accusations of genocide underestimate, or overlook altogether, the enormous challenge facing relief agencies, both central and local, public and private, at the time. Nonetheless, there is a case to be asnwered." - Cormac Ó Gráda, 1999, Black '47 and Beyond: the great Irish famine in history, economy, and memory, Princeton University Press

"In sume the Great Famine of the 1840s, instead of being inevitable and inherent in the potato economy, was a tragic ecological accident. Ireland's experience during these years supports neither the complacency exemplified by the Whig view of political economy nor the genocide theories espoused by a few nationalis historians." - Cormac Ó Gráda, 1989, The Great Irish Famien, Gill & Macmillan: Dublin

--sony-youthpléigh 11:39, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

If an argument exists for genocide, it should get some mention. Maybe the "laissez faire" doctrine could be in the same para. Can't labour over this too much, as it is only Wikipedia, and not the Hague. Gold♥ 13:40, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Sony this discussion started over weather the title was applicable, i.e. “Suggestions of Genocide.” I think that we have clearly established that there are such suggestions! You, through referenced sources have made a case against the accusation. This illustrates one important point, “there is a case.” Therefore the title is apt and should not form the basis of any further disagreement. As to your conclusions on the subject, no disrespect, that’s your opinion. As long as the suggestions persist, there will always be disagreement. What we can not do is allow our opinions to influence our conduct in relation to references we do not agree with! Your opinions are perfectly valid, and so are the opinions of other editors, but our collective opinions are not worth a toss. Our role is to present the information, not to interpret it for the reader. That is pushing point of view! What we aim for is balanced neutral information! On this subject, I can argue both sides and present heaps of material for such, but if you review all my most recent edits, you will notice they were all prompted by the acrimonious initial discussion, and were in reply to assertions on the discussion page. Now before the block is lifted, I intend to address the “relief” measures adopted section, Government response. I hope we can navigate it with as little fuse as possible, and adopt an approach of Mutual Corporation. And just to keep in line with my true nature and disposition, are you seriously suggesting it was a “tragic ecological accident.” There is not one, and I repeat not one serious author in this day and age would accept such a conclusion. (Just had to get that out of my system) Regards --Domer48 14:00, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

"Our role is to present the information, not to interpret it for the reader." That would be nice. So how about no more mashing up of quotes and half-quotes from seperate authors on different topics to form third statements that neither of original the sources would substantiate?
If you look back up the talk page you'll see that I never opposed a section on "genocide" for want of POV. My opposition was because I feared that such a section would get hammed up by over enthuasitic editors out to prove a genocide took place through tenuous argument, misquotation and shakey sources. The "Donnelly affair" substantiates that fear, don't you think, and, I believe, is only a taste of things to come? --sony-youthpléigh 14:21, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
"That would be nice," that would be policy (NPOV). And I just know the other comment was not directed at me? Your "fear" though, is unfounded, I can deal with tenuous arguments, by pointing them out or providing better ones. Just teasing! Regards--Domer48 14:34, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Sony, some good points there, if things are too stark, an edit war ensues. The famine was more caused by a country that was beggared both by the Penal Laws, and the Act of Union 1800, where almost a whole nation found itself forced to live on a paltry mono-diet of potatoes and milk. It was not a mere accident of history, it was the culmination of the abject cruelty perpetrated by those same Penal Laws. To quote the famous Edmund Burke on the Penal Laws, "a truly barbarous system; where all the parts are an outrage on the laws of humanity and the laws of nature; it is a system of elaborate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, imprisonment and degradation of a people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man". Prophetic? Gold♥ 14:37, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

100% agree. --sony-youthpléigh 14:49, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony you might like to try something that I often do. Your reasoned approach adopted above and the conclusions you drew from the sources mentioned. Why not argue the case for genocide? Just a suggestion! Regards --Domer48 14:38, 28 June 2007 (UTC) P.S Hi Gold
"Why not argue the case for genocide?" The Famine is too important to the history and present of Ireland. It's gravity, then and now, is undermined by uninformed opinion, and Ireland as a whole is degraded in the process. I do not want play a hand in that. You, by all means, may, of course. --sony-youthpléigh 14:48, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
So I take it your mind is made up, and no matter what comes along you have closed your mind to anything other than your own opinion. Well the number of publications coming on stream as has been mentioned in my quotes will hold no intrest for you. Regards--Domer48 14:56, 28 June 2007 (UTC) P.S. uninformed opinion, arises when one only hears one side!
No, not at all. My "fears" aside, I'm happy to have it dealt with openly. It is an important debate in sense of what it plays in the national(ist) psyche. It was, in my opinion, a genocide in its effect, but not in intention (misguided, ignorant, racist - even happy at the deaths - as the English and Irish ascendancy may have been, murder was not their intention in Ireland in those years).
Okay. I'll take you up on your challenge. To be honest, it not that hard to prove paramounce to genocide, anyway, and I suspect you'll be content with that. But how about you do the same for a genuine genocide that took place on this island, and has every bit as much a profound effect on us today, but is lacking an article. --sony-youthpléigh 15:16, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Not familiar with the word paramounce, would I be right to assume it is the same as parallel. I’m afraid that period in history is one of my short suits!1800 to 1860's is my professed period. From your last post and the strong opinions you professed, I considered you would be totally opposed to revisionism, but reading it again, would I be right in assuming that you are opposed to the revision of revisionist literature. Regards --Domer48 15:33, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
"paramounce" - made it up, was aiming for something along the lines of "paramountness" :) RE revisionism: from you comments above, I get the feeling that you don't like revisionists. Yet, the making genocide the case is is revisionism. Histories to date rejected the idea. You want to revise that history, the case has got merit, and the famine needs revising and reviting. I wish you luck and if I'm being a hard ass, its only because I want you to make a good job of it. --sony-youthpléigh 10:41, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, it appears to me that you don't actually disagree that the famine was genocide; but that
1) We shouldn't say that because some really ace polemicists (nowhere in evidence to date) will "rip apart" the suggestion, thus leaving Ireland's case sadly damaged. (Such arguments are, of course, advocating POV over factuality).
2) If we insist on correctly calling the famine genocide we should somehow feel compelled to write an article on the the massacre of genocidal settlers, which you regard as real genocide! (Sarah777 23:05, 28 June 2007 (UTC))
I'll answer your points one-at-a-time:
1.) No. (What I fear is not so much the "ace polemicists" ripping it apart, but they "un-ace polemicists" hamming it up.)
2.) No. (That was in dialog with Domer re: a "challenge" he issued to me to argue the case for the Famine being genocide. I returned with a equal challenge to him. He declined, as he is entitled to.)
I hope this helps.
(Incidentally, genocide is not the proper word for 1641 - I know I called it that myself - "ethnic cleansing" could be said of it as the Irish did not want to wipe out he entire race of Scottish people, but to "cleanse" Ireland of those recently settled there. In any case, the fact that the settlers were so recent, and that their Irish attackers were disposed only a decade or two earlier in order to make room for them, makes a more solid case that it was an attack of revenge, and not ethnically motivated. But, like the famine, the cultural memory of it is that of a genocide, and that's why I realted the two.) --sony-youthpléigh 10:41, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, I never said I did not like revisionists; I have never given my view one way or the other. The traditional “Nationalists View,” was that it was a deliberate policy of the Government to “address” the issue of the “surplus population.” And that they exploited the opportunity the potato blight presented. Revisionists, set out as they said to exorcise such “myths.” What is happening now is, that the revisionists are now being challenged on a number of fronts. There motivation is being questioned, and there material is being debunked.

That the literature on the subject now being produced is starting to return to a more “Nationalists View,” can, but I would not agree, could be call revisionist.

Tom Hayden in his book Irish Hunger, quotes from William Kennedy’s book, Very Old Bones, and the character of Peter Phelan who came to this recognition: “that individuals, families or societies that willfully suppress their history will face a season of reckoning, one certain to arrive obliquely, in a dark place, at a hostile hour, with consequences for the innocent as well as for the conspirators.” Hayden concludes, “For the Famine descendants, this is “a season of reckoning”.
All I’m suggesting is that we keep an open mind. Regards --Domer48 11:24, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
This is why I think you dislike the revisionists. You seem to blame them for removing "nationalist myths" from the history of the famine. But, the "nationalist myths" were never in the histories of the famine, they were kept alive in folklore. Revision of the history of the famine is justifying many of these (now former) "mtyhs." But it is revisionism that is doing it, not "revision of revisionism." In any case, the genocide "myth" is not substantiated in any of the original histories or their revisions. (By the way, I'm still waiting for the Donnelly quote where he said that contemporary revision was endorsing the genocide "myth". Is it coming any time soon?) --sony-youthpléigh 11:34, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Again Sony, you are directing questions at me, in relation to a quote, though used by me and was subsequently altered. So the next post, from you in reply to this is, “Domer48, I apologise for persisting in a line of questioning of which you have no part,” or words to that effect! Now for your edification here is an unabridged quote, from the author.

“Since those chapters were written, the amount of scholarly attention devoted to the great famine has expanded enormously, mostly as a result of the impetus given by the official sesquicentennial commemoration of the famine in the years 1995—7. Along with numerous other scholars, I made contributions to the extraordinary surge of publication associated with the commemoration. As I argue in the introduction to this book, the flowering of famine scholarship during the l990s has given academic respectability to certain key nationalist perspectives on the famine, and on the issue of British government responsibility, that were previously out of fashion among professional historians, especially those working in Ireland itself.”

Regards--Domer48 11:50, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Thank you! I knew you had the quote so that's why I kept asking, none-the-less: "Domer48, I apologise for persisting in a line of questioning of which you have no part."
So, now, Domer, since you put this in originally in to the section on the famine being suggested as genocide - what does this quote have to do with that?
Sarah, on the basis of this citation, you changed the text to read that Donnelly "maintains [that recent publications have] given academic respectability to the view that the famine was genocide." How is that supported by the citation? --sony-youthpléigh 11:59, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, I can understand Sarah777’s interpretation. What is the “key nationalist perspective?” A deliberately policy to exasperate the effects of the blight! Now since you disagree, as to what the “key nationalist perspective,” is, and not without some merit. I will replace the quote, and I believe Sarah will be satisfied with the two additional quotes I placed in the article. --Domer48 12:34, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
The quote is for "key nationalist perspectives" - among the many key nationalist perspectives are:
  • The famine was not an inevitable consequence of the Irish economy
  • Once the famine had begun, the condquences of the famine were not inevitable
  • British government policies not only failed, but in fact, exacerated the problem
  • The colonial heritage of Ireland was responsible for the conditions that would cause the famine
  • Overpopulation was not at blame
  • In fact, Ireland was not over populated, but its economy was wrecked through years of deliberate exploitation
  • Sectarian policies encouraged a social environment devoid of the natural pity that may have saved lives, and indeed created a social environment that cost them
  • etc. etc. etc.
That the famine was a genocide is not a "key nationalist perspective", it is an extreme nationalist perspective. Key to the nationalist perspective is the failing of British rule, and the inability of Britain to ever govern Ireland. It is not a key perspective that they were murders - whether they were or not is irrevelent to the nationalist argument. Britain is unable to rule Ireland, be they murderers or otherwise. --sony-youthpléigh 13:04, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, Sony, Calm down, "it is an extreme nationalist perspective," the suggestion of Genocide? Could you reference that, O but of course you can! Is that not what all thoses revisionests have being saying and writing about! Is that not the point I have made? Reference the comment, please? --Domer48 13:13, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
"At its most extreme, nationalism charges official liberalism not just with failing to prevent the Famine but with pursuing a deliberate policy of racial extermination." - Patrick Brantlinger, 2003, Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800-1930, Cornell Univeristy Press --sony-youthpléigh 13:23, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, Sony are you Seriously suggesting that to suggest that the famine was genocide, is to hold extreme nationalist views? Honestly, since “extreme nationalist,” is a pejorative term in Ireland, would you condone such terms being applied to editors? To suggest that the famine was genocide is not an “extreme nationalist,” perception, and such views have now been given “academic respectability,” views “were previously out of fashion among professional historians.” Now I know that you understand what is meant by that. Why were they out of fashion? Lets keep this civil shall we, and do not attempth to be disengenious! Do not mention selective quoting again, shall we? --Domer48 13:41, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
The turn of phrase I used was "an extreme nationalist perspective" - "perspective" was the noun, not "nationalist". Does that mean that I think that do hold this perspective is to hold "extreme nationalist views" - no, because perspective is singular, views is a plural. Does it mean that I think that it is to hold an "extreme nationalist view" - yes, quite clearly it does, sice "perspective" and "view" are synonymous. My opinion however are irrevelent. You asked me for a citation, I provided one. Would you like more? They are rich for the picking.
Again you are reading O'Donnell with a mind full of wishful thoughts. At no point does he say that extreme nationalist perspectives have attained accademic respectability - he says that "certain key nationalist perspectives" have. These include "the issue of British government responsibility", but responsibility does not equal genocide. Neither is the question of genocide a key nationalist perspective, it is an extreme one (as I have provided a reference for this upon request, I assume that you will be happy to accept it). And neither, incidentally, have all key nationalist perspectives attained accademic respectability, only "certain" ones, according to O'Donnell. --sony-youthpléigh 14:11, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Desmond Fennell, in his The Revision of Irish Nationalism made the following remark ‘revisionism’ so-called… In Ireland since the early 70s this word has meant, principally, the retelling of Irish history in a manner hostile to Irish nationalism but also the rejection of nationalist values and doctrine in the present. Actually, however, as is usual in such matters, the anti-nationalist history arose from hostility to nationalism in the present, and was intended to buttress it historically… Its proper name therefore is ‘anti-nationalist revisionism’. Inasmuch as it involves a rejection of the ideology inspiring the Irish Revolution, it is counter-revolutionary…A nation without a nationalism of its own has adhered, in effect, to the nationalism of a more powerful neighbour, and thereby cancelled itself.”

Sony are you suggesting Desmond Fennell is an “extreme nationalist.” I have done now with this conversation, I know enough to know I'm wasting my time! Catch up on some reading Sony, your material is a bit dated! --Domer48 14:31, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Let's not lose perspective. It was not genocide in the sense of the Nazi holocaust, meaning it wasn't preplanned. But in the sense of seeing the famine as an opportunity, with some British establishment seeing it sent by God, to sort out the Irish, and cut their numbers, "a final solution". Then that was genocide under Hague definitions. Now the it must be remembered that Gaelic Ireland had been on it's knees for almost 200 years at this stage, and if there was a holocaust, it began with Cromwell, the plantations, and the Penal Laws. The Great Irish Famine could be seen as the last act in that sorry saga. The article must mention the genocide argument, how it does that, is the issue. Gold♥ 14:55, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Your right of course Gold, but Sony is trying again to muddy the water. Misinterpreting my posts, and adding spin! He has a POV, and is going to push it. Fine I wish them well, but as I quoted earlier, “that individuals… that willfully suppress their history will face a season of reckoning, one certain to arrive obliquely, in a dark place, at a hostile hour, with consequences for the innocent as well as for the conspirators.” Hayden concludes, “For the Famine descendants, this is “a season of reckoning”. There is a cut to suit my needs. If I sence any undue POV, regardless of its direction, I will push in the opposite way. --Domer48 15:06, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. History must be told the way it truly was. Anything else will not serve justice to those people who died in whatever conflict is being written about. And truthful history also serves as a reminder of man's folly to those of future generations. Gold♥ 15:27, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Domer, I am not trying to muddy the waters. The constant hark to revisionism is irrelevant. The subject of my criticism here is the equating O'Donnell's "key nationalist perspectives" with an endorsement for genocide. That is simply unsupported.
With regard to Fannell, he too does not support the genocide claim, but how you could think that, even if he had, I would call him an extreme nationalist is beyond me. I never called anyone an extreme nationalist, as I made clear to you above, only that the claim that the Famine was a genocide is an extreme nationalist perspective, as supported by reference when asked for one. --sony-youthpléigh 16:27, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Sony, you’re back tracking, a ploy in my opinion. The O’ Donnell quote has been dealt with, the revisionism has been dealt with. And the suggestions of Genocide have been dealt with. All that remains it that we agree that our contributions are balanced and from a NPOV. While this is not an issue with me, you will have to address the issue of your opinion influencing your approach to edits. If your edits are motivated by your clearly established POV, they will be challenged. --Domer48 16:52, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Back tracking? Ploy? Now you're scraping the barrel, Domer. The article was locked because of a dispute that O'Donnell was misrepresented. Its obvious that you cannot support the misrepresentation you put on his work, or the way that Sarah blatantly lied about what he had said. Its unfortunate too that despite protestations that you want the debate on the claim of genocide represented fully in the article that you are unable to accept the opinion of authors who dispute the claim of genocide as holding validity, but instead castigate them as "revisionist" meaning "anti-nationalist". Unfortunate, but a reality we will have to live with. If you see the world in black and white then it is not surprising that you see my contributions here in the same monochromatic vein. There is nothing else that has to be dealt with. The locking of the article over O'Donnell is all there ever was and all that remains. If you cannot support your interpretation, as is patently obvious, then I suggest we move on, unlock the article, and replace the O'Donnell bullet with the full quotation. Agreed? Otherwise, if you would prefer a formal dispute resolution process or informal poll of some sort to resolve how to interpret his reference, I would be in favour of that also. Any other suggestions that you have to move beyond this impasse would also be welcome. --sony-youthpléigh 22:48, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
"Domer48, I apologise for persisting in a line of questioning of which you have no part." Sony your you’re back tracking, Peddle whatever line you like, spin, hype whatever. If your edits are motivated by your clearly established POV, they will be challenged.--Domer48 15:08, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Just dropping in here. I am amused by Sony's notion that observing facts can be an "extreme perspective". That would make such perspective - extraordinary insight. Guilty as charged! (Sarah777 16:08, 30 June 2007 (UTC))

first few words[edit]

{{editprotected}} An obvious, IMHO, edit is to alter the first few words to "The Great Irish Famine, or the Geat Famine ... etc ........ forgot to sign sorry. Abtract 18:39, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

The Great Irish Famine seems fine, no big dif. --Domer48 17:15, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Cheers. --MZMcBride 18:19, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Abtract 18:37, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Not so sure. "The Great Famine" is the common term in Ireland. (Sarah777 00:13, 30 June 2007 (UTC))
But the name of the article (much to my surprise discussed at length above Talk:Great Irish Famine#Name of Article) is the Great Irish Famine Abtract 01:13, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Indisputably true. I withdraw my reservations. I'm having a bad hair night! (Sarah777 01:18, 30 June 2007 (UTC))
Be thankful you have hair. Abtract 01:25, 30 June 2007 (UTC)