Monday, May 20, 2024

What is Mary Robinson Drinking? Ye Olde Empire Ale?

‘The page “Sir Paget John Bourke” does not exist’ – Wikipedia

A recent drunken outburst by former Irish president Mary Robinson about Sri Lanka, compares the current US presidential teledrama to “volatile and undemocratic situations in states such as Kenya, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe”.

We suggest drunken, not to deploy a typical English slur explaining Irish behavior. But because she ‘s obviously been intoxicated by the role a colleen-nobody has been called on to play on the world stage.

A stage that has been turned into a paddy wagon – a police van from where sirens of sermons blare.

Her career exposes still-suppurating historical ulcers. For instance, why did she give up being a President of a country, that’s disappointingly made little contribution to the cause of freedom, to take on the role of a mere United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Could it be she wished to follow in, and whitewash over the bloody footsteps of her infamous uncle Sir Paget John Bourke. Bourke was a colonial supreme court judge during such horrific episodes as the repression of independence movements in Kenya and Cyprus.  

England has promised to pay out £19.9m to over 5,000 elderly Kenyans for torture, and £1million to 33 Cypriots, including a 16-year old girl gang raped by soldiers.

Those who check Wikipedia on this episode will note that this white-out encyclopaedia adds: “allegedly tortured.” Huh? So the Bank of England generously pays out on allegations!

The Bank should relax. Robinson felt no need to comment when England’s lawmakers a few weeks ago passed a bill to protect soldiers from prosecution over war crimes. Then again, should soldiers take the rap for politicians and bankers who profit off colonial wars? 

Robinson’s uncle, Paget John Bourke, was knighted by killer-Queen Elizabeth II for such colonial ‘service’ as a hanging judge.

Robinson’s outburst therefore offers us an excellent opportunity to delve into several archives: How the Irish became White, and more specifically the role of the Irish in the so-called ‘British’ Empire.

There were many Irish judges in Cyprus during that English savagery. It was a hallowed tradition in buying off Irish acceptance of the division of their country into North and South, by bribing ruling Irish compradors with booty from the colonies. Sinhala politicians take note.

Trinity College Dublin became the sixth biggest recruiting university for English colonial servants. With the rise of national wars of independence, many English lawyers became afraid to apply. In 1954, the Colonial Service (CS) was renamed Her Majesty’s Overseas Civil Service (HMOCV), and many Irish judges got postings in Cyprus and Kenya, and Africa generally.

But it’s not just Robinson. Many recent US political actors are of Irish vintage. From the German-settler President Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon to his VP Mike Pence. From Samantha Power to Biden. And their imperialist growling is louder than any English bulldog.

Between 1830-1860, about 4.5 Million Europeans (two-thirds of them Irish and German) joined the white settler armies invading deeper into American lands, also chasing rebellious African workers out of their skilled jobs. They displaced Original Americans, Africans, Mexicans, Asians, as the major labor force in the US. And their hero was the mass-murdering Indian-killer US President Andrew Jackson.

“Passage to the United States seems to produce the same effect upon the exile of Erin as the eating of the forbidden fruit did upon Adam and Eve. In the morning, they were pure, loving, and innocent; in the evening guilty” – The Liberator,  1854.

 “The Irish, who, at home, readily sympathize with the oppressed everywhere, are instantly taught when they step upon our soil to hate and despise the Negro…. Sir, the Irish-American will one day find out his mistake”, observed Black American orator Frederick Douglass, 1853

Samantha, Mary, Mike, Steve. Please note.

As for Robinson, her career appears greased by the Rockefeller Foundation’s typical politician-manufacturing machine. Displacing grassroots trade unionists from the Irish Labour Party, she quickly paraded in the world’s paddy wagon as a “liberal” socialist. But she got quickly used to the slush funds, getting caught trying to pawn her archives to gain tax credits worth over €2m

Radhika Kumarasinghe-Gonagala 

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