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Dublin Opinion >>
What about the great famine?
Following the Palme d'Or at the Cnnes festival
Historic movies about ireland seem to always make it big on the big screen but at what costs? Whose authorisation is required ? What about the famine? The mass grave where 5000 poor of the district were buried near my house is also a story to tell! Why can't a fim maker make a movie about the great famine? So that Irish Americans can see what their forefathers lived through before emigrating to the USA. This is a story that needs to be told! From the fact that the people were to starve, food supplies they needed withdrawn from them, workhouses, emigration aboard coffun ships etc. The world needs to know!!!
My friend lives in NYS. She has been trying to trace her roots for over 15 years, paid megabucks for information offered (Often flawed). All she has from home are 1 handful of soil from Moher Gregg (Where her forefather came from), dried ivy from Aughaginny (Where his wife originated from), dried leaves from Drumshanbo (Nearest willage to where they lived) and moss from the iron mountain (Sorry can't pronouce or write it in gaelic) which is at the foot of Moher Gregg.
Linda felt so happy when finding out that the movie about the black and tan war had won Palme d'Or at the Cannes festival. She e-mailed me, feeling so excited to then ask me the following "They've shown Michael Collins, the hungerstrike, the black and tans, i wish someone would tell me why they have not made any movie about the famine because, damnit! If it wasn't for the famine, I would be living in Leitrim, know my family and relations, instead of being Irish American and not able to find out where my genes came from"
It is my belief that such a film should be made. I have often wondered about the reluctance to discuss the famine. Living in a county that suffered great losses in human lives during this time, is only beginning to recover slowly ... I wonder why no one has deemed fit to tell the world about it, not in books but in a film!
You see i feel for the 5000 buried in a mass grave minutes from my house. 5000 men, women and children thrown in a mass grave, with no record, no name to etch on a stone, and as for a stone ... If it wasn't for the Irish American of new York, there would be no plaque to tell us where the poor of the district were buried. The graveyard was a sham until our Parish Priest saw it and enrolled FAS to help clear him, cut the grass etc ... Give those who endured untold agony and hardship some dignity. I wonder why the Irish governement hasn't seen fit to do something about it! Ireland is the land of memorials, you find them anywhere, everywhere, so why not something there, more than a plaque, to tell those who will venture in happen to tread over 5000 people? This is only drumshanbo i'm talking about! What about the poor who took to the workhouse? It's still up there! A hospital now, in Carrick On Shannon, known as Saint Patrick. Famine graveyard at the bottom of a steep hill because it was easier to throw the dead, and probably dying through a trap and down they went ... Piled on the top of each other! Goodness knows how many were buried there!
Naturally i'm talking about leitrim because it is where i live but it happened everywhere else in Ireland. If anyone ever read 'The Irish Journals of Elizabeth Smith' then they'll ahve a good idea as to how it was, and when you know Elizabeth Smith wasn't Irish, but British, then they'll understand what the population endured.
I have lost count of the number of films descrivbing the horrors of genocides, yet of all, the great famine was the greatest genocide ever! So why not make a film about it! What is wrong with film makers when they choose not to address this frightful topic? Is it because permission might be denied at governmental level? I'd like to know what it is! And why!!!
Some people might object that it was no genocide, simply a problem with potato crops but as a friend pointed out to me .... Irish seas are still of fish, alwasy were, why did they not go fishing? Because they were forbidden access to the sea! Hence deprived of a source of food. And someone tells me why, while they were starving to death ... Food kept being exported toBbritain, food from Ireland!!! So pray tell me why this doesn't justify a film made, because, and same as Linda ... I want to know!!!