New book: Was Irish Potato Famine Genocide by British Lords?
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Mon Feb 6 19:18:14 GMT 2012
2011 Book Reveals Irish Potato Famine Was Genocide
During the past three decades, Francis Boyle has
dealt with some of themost difficult problems
created by Britain's continued military
occupation of six northeast counties in Ireland:
* Proving that the "Potato Famine" was really
British genocide againstthe Irish;* Britain's
obligation to decolonize Northern Ireland;*
I.R.A. resistance and Joe Doherty;* the
anti-Irish U.S.-U.K. Supplementary Extradition
Treaty (1986) andU.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty
(2006); and* the MacBride Principles on Northern
Ireland; the Great Grandson ofMajor John
MacBride; etc. The book concludes with a legal
and human rights framework forestablishing a
United Ireland where all Irish can live in peace
with justicefor all irrespective of their
differences. This book is required reading for
Irish Americans, people living in Ireland, and
the Irish Diaspora around the world.
By Mike Morley & Prof. Francis Boyle
03 January, 2012
I visited iBAM! November 12 and had the great
fortune to meet an old friend, world renowned
legal expert, Francis Boyle, Professor of
International Law at the University of Illinois,
and to talk with him about his new book United
Ireland, Human Rights and International Law.
Francis, tell us a bit about your new book:
Mike, as you know, the two leading issues going
on now are a United Ireland and the Potato
Famine. And I decided to bring this book out now to address both those issues.
I have a chapter in here in which I design a
united Ireland; what it should look like and how
to do it. As you know, Sinn Fein has said the
British government and the Irish government
should produce a white paper on united Ireland.
With all due respect, I dont think the two
governments are going to do it. I think they are
the problem and not the solution. So I decided to
take the bull by the horns myself and do a
preliminary vision of what a united Ireland would
look like. As for the Potato Famine, the second
big issue, Ive attempted to develop for the
first time ever the legal case for why the Potato
Famine was, in fact and in law, British genocide against the Irish.
The historians who addressed this matter before
were of course excellent: Woodham- Smith and
Christine Kinealy, but they did not express a
legal opinion, because their training obviously
is not in the law. Well, Im a professor of
international law and have actually argued
genocide at the International Court of Justice in
the Hague where I won two World Court orders for
Bosnia on the basis of the Genocide Convention.
And indeed then, acting pursuant to my advice,
President Izetbegoviæof Bosnia instructed me to
sue Britain for aiding and abetting genocide
against Bosnia. So as of now Im the only lawyer
in the world with actual experience of trying to sue Britain for genocide. So I
thought the time had come, after me doing all
this work for the Bosnians, for me to set forth
the case as to why Britain fully intended to
commit genocide against the Irish. And I have 40
pages in here developing that argument.
(Note: Prof. Boyle sued Britain on behalf of
Bosnia after they embargoed arms shipments
intended to provide the Bosnians protection
against ongoing genocide. But then Bosnian
foreign minister, Ljubijankic, was told that if
his government was to continue with the lawsuit,
the humanitarian assistance to the Bosnian people
would be cut. Britain also threatened to withdraw its Coldstream Guards.)
You developed the case for Bosnia. How is that
similar to British actions in The Famine?
I took that same expertise developed there and
applied it to the British genocide against the
Irish over the Potato Famine. The facts are not
in dispute: that they starved to
death one million Irish and forced another two
million to leave Ireland. The critical point here
is the intent by Britain to exterminate Irish.
Now historically they have always argued, and
even today they have argued that they did not
have the intent to eliminate Irish; that in fact
this was simply a case of laissez-faire economics
gone awry. And what I do here is go back through
the historical archives and pull out all the
statements where the highest level officials of
the British government at that time, from
Russell, the Prime Minister, on down, and I list
them all here by name and office and
statementsprove, state specifically, that they
intended to reduce and eliminate the number of
Irish living in Ireland, either because they were
Irish or because they were Catholic, or both.
Was it very hard finding these records?
No, I basically started with the books by
Woodham-Smith and Christine Kinealy. They had
already done the archival research. I also had
two research assistants of my own at the College
of Law who went out and did additional work. So,
all the sources that I cite here as to the
British intent to commit genocide against the
Irish are documented from the British archives or
the British press, media, at the time. And its
very important Mike to keep in mind the
distinction between motive and intent, which is
well recognized under common law that applies
both in Britain at the time and here in the
United States. They might have said that the
motive was laissez faire economics, but the
intent clearly was to reduce and eliminate the
number of Irish living in Ireland at that time;
because basically the British deemed us to be an
inferior race of people, pretty much like the
idea, philosophy the Nazis had toward the Jewish
However you want to define it legally, it
was definitely genocide as defined by
outright genocide. And we, the
Irish in Ireland and in America and throughout
the Diaspora must understand that, and hold the
British government to account for it.
Professor Boyle also outlines his fascinating
vision for a united Ireland in his new book.
So, be a part of that effort, Order a copy of
Professor Boyles book, United Ireland, Human
Rights, And International Law. Give it a good
read, and get back to him with your thoughts on
his vision for A united Ireland.
See the expanded version of this article at
IrishAmericanNews.com (Columns, Mick)
Francis A. Boyle
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, Illinois 61820
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