3.19.2008

The Irish and Latin America

A famous political cartoonist Thomas Nast, for Harper's Weekly in 1876, attempts to link both Irish and so-called African Americans in "ignorance." One is white and one "negro", but they are equals--"equally grotesque in appearance, equally dangerous to the republic".



Paz!
Las matematicas de hoy son “conocimiento y nacir”. Knowledge is information. Born means to complete or to bring forth. El grado en el supremo alfabeto es “Salvador o un mismo”. It is this knowledge that one continuously strives for that allows to to prepare themselves for anything in life. The more we know about the world around us the better a chance we have to harnass the energy of change and use it to benefit ourselves. Simply, when knowledge is made “born” to someone, it is given to them with enough to allow them to do something for themselves, save their own selves with. I can tell you not to eat something because it’s “bad” for you. However, if I take you through the science of that food step by step given the knowledge you need to identify for yourself what’s bad inside of it and what’s not. That way you are responsible for the knowledge that was born to you or shared with you. Now you must be the savior of your “self”.

Having “knowledge of self” manifests at varying degrees. To many of us within the so-called Latin American diaspora, “knowledge of self” can be a very “face-value” subject. What I mean is that one may recognize the African and Indian in their blood, know and even been to/grew up where their parents are from, etc. They may know certain details about their own family’s history. However, when one speaks of “knowledge of self”, generally what they speaking of when we refer to “knowledge of self” is a more in-depth awareness and understanding of your own history and present reality and how all of it relates you to all people, places and things. As a result of the Civil Rights Era and a resurgence of cultural awareness and activism since, many of us tend to focus on the more apparent and less embraced elements of our identity- usually Indian and African. We have long been conditioned with the idea of being “Spanish” because of the language we were made to speak. And as a result of the rebellion against racism and colonialism we tend to down play the Euro blood within us. Let me say that identifying yourself as Indigenous or Black first and foremost should not mean a “hate” for that which you did not control directly. And by this I mean the influx of Euro blood within many of our family trees. These should be examined and understood for this knowledge will allow us to have a clearer and more whole or complete history of the American continents. We can also save ourselves from the same racist precepts that plague our adversaries. What I mean is that, we know we have been taught that we were savages, uncivilized, unattractive etc. In efforts to reverse this and instill a strong self of self identity and pride into people we may then embrace the extreme perspective to counteract the psychological damage done by the Devil. So then we may say “Black is Beautiful” or “Brown Power”. There’s nothing wrong with that, except that the images and propaganda that go into pushing these slogans often conflict. You have “black” people who are very light skinned, straighter hair, etc, who may not feel as if they are included in the “black is beautiful” idea because of how they look and what they are told “black is”. “The blacker the berry…..” so to speak. A phrase that can be detrimental and cause someone to think that they aren’t “black enough”. Or, as an example of “brown power”, a Puerto Rican walks into Mexican groceria only to be told that only “Mexicans” were welcome to shop there. We end up still harboring degrees of a mindset that impedes our own ability to progress.

Especially for my Borikua brothers and sisters who have grown up in Chicago and New York amongst the Irish. There has no doubt been tensions. However there actually would be more reasons to come together with them in the name of oppression and injustice than not. The Irish are a group of Europeans considered the “niggers” of Europe. They were colonized by England. Actually St. Patrick’s day commemorates the bringing of Christianity to Ireland by St. Patrick’s, and ultimately the end of their true selves. They weren’t allowed to speak their own language, Gaelic. And actually many rebellions in the early 13 colonies were executed by Irish workers and Free and Non-Free Indian and Black slaves. Anyone ever hear of the Boston Massacre? That’s not to say that they didn’t have a hand in the slavery and genocide of Original people though. President Andrew Jackson, Irish, was propelled to the U.S. Presidency due his reputation as an “Indian Fighter” and was the figure who pushed for the “trail of tears”, stripping the Cherokee of their land in the Southern U.S. to clear more land for cotton plantations and enslaved Africans.

Knowledge Born. Learning more brings a person into fuller human "being". It is this knowledge and application thereof which seperates us from our pitbulls. But seriously, it allows us to become closer to our selves. Because it reality, while you have a lot of our people saying "Yeah, we are Indian, African and Spanish" they may not be. They may be Indian, African and IRISH. Nothing wrong with that. It gives that person a unique history and connects more dots of the events that come together to form the world we know and experience today.

Below is an excerpt (and the link) of an article dealing with the Irish history and Latin America, fitting for St. Patty’s day. Do the knowledge. I build that you enjoy it and get a lot from it.

“Since the mythical visit of St Brendan the Navigator to Mexico in the sixth-century, through the conviction in December 2004 of three Irishmen known members of the IRA accused of training guerrillas in Colombia, the pattern of relations between Ireland and Latin America has been heterogeneous, fragmentary, and erratic. The Irish presence in this part of the world is frequently linked to colonial and post-colonial tensions in Europe and the Americas, which are generally connected to British, French, Portuguese, Spanish and, more recently, US American imperialistic policies and discourse.

Of the 40-odd countries and territories shaping the map of Latin America and the Caribbean* only Argentina and certain Caribbean islands developed recognizable Irish communities which endured throughout the times. The other places in the continent have been visited by Irish missionaries, soldiers, merchants, scientists, teachers, and others who either settled in the region and left their visible or subtle traces, or re-emigrated within the Americas or to other parts of the world (though Brazil, Mexico, and Cuba developed Irish communities that sooner or later disappeared).

The number of Irish who emigrated to, or settled temporarily in, Latin America is still a matter of debate among scholars. However, it is significantly lower than that of the emigrants to the English-speaking countries, i.e., US, Canada, England, Australia or New Zealand. Argentina, the country that has attracted the largest quantities of immigrants received an inflow estimated by some scholars in 45-50,000 Irish-born persons. In addition to this, thousands more scattered in the region, especially in Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela, and Mexico, as a result of military operations, trade, and colonization schemes. It is also important to consider the significant rates of re-emigration within the Americas, especially to the US, and to Australia, England, and back to Ireland, as well as from the US to Argentina in the 1820s, to Cuba where they worked in slave-like conditions in sugar plantations, to Panama where they died among the multinational workforce constructing the Panama railway, and to Brazil where they were recruited in New York for land settlement schemes in the 1860s. Even in the most successful Irish settlement in the region, Argentina, approximately one out of every two immigrants re-emigrated to other destinations, and this is an indication of the elevated mobility of the migrants.

The chronicles of the Irish in Latin America often reveal epic qualities, whether from the victim's or from the hero's standpoint. The former expresses an attitude of real or perceived economic exploitation by, and political subordination to, powerful foreign forces, and typically includes the exile mentality by which the English rule in Ireland (or the US American control over Mexico) led to emigration as the only secure way to ensure survival. The latter – the hero narrative – reveals the position (sometimes perceived as superior) of the Irish with respect to local Latin American ethnic groups. Both perspectives frequently neglect the everyday lives of the immigrants and their families, their settlement patterns, and their relations with other ethnic groups. As Graham Davis argues, "it is tempting in writing on the Irish pioneer settlers to isolate their story and to laud only their achievements. Such an approach distorts the Irish experience by suggesting a privileged contribution history" (Davis 2002: 238). Furthermore, it neglects the social and economic relations of the Irish and their families with native Amerindians, Hispano-Creoles, Africans, Catalonians, Galicians, Scottish, English, Italians, Germans, French-Basque, and immigrants from other parts of the world, as well as the cultural transfers accomplished among them.”


For more information- http://www.irlandeses.org/murrayintro.htm

Peace!

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Just another 19th century racist, what a shame!

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