Monday, March 17, 1997

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    Today is St. Patrick’s Day and millions of people of Irish descent
    will be throwing parades and parties to celebrate the day. But what
    tends to get lost in the all the hoopla is the political history of
    Ireland and the struggles that are still going on today.

    Today on Democracy Now, we’re going to take a look at one of the
    seminal moments in Irish history — the Irish potato famine — and
    get a broad overview of how colonialism has affected Irish culture
    and society as a whole.


  • Potato Famine Was Genocide

    Irish activists, human rights groups, and lawyers are organizing to
    win official recognition that the Irish potato famine of the
    mid-19th century was genocide. Already some public schools are now
    teaching that the Irish potato famine which claimed an estimated
    million lives was a deliberate act of genocide by the British
    government. And activists are even planning to stage an
    international tribunal to hold the British government accountable
    for their actions.

    Here to discuss the legal and political ramifications of the Irish
    famine and genocide are two guests.


  • Roisin McAliskey

    Irish civil rights leader Bernadette Devlin McAliskey’s 25-year-old
    pregnant daughter — Roisin — sits in an isolated high security
    prison in London, England. She’s awaiting extradition to Germany on
    charges that she attempted to murder 150 British soldiers as part
    of an IRA commando operation last year.

    Roisin’s supporters say she’s been framed because of her political
    beliefs and because British officials are using Roisin as a way to
    punish her mother. And international human rights groups have
    complained about the conditions under which Roisin is jailed.

    Joining us today to talk about Roisin’s case is her mother,
    Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. Bernadette rose to international
    prominence in the 1960s and 1970s leading the civil rights
    struggles of Northern Ireland’s poor, Catholic communities. She was
    subsequently the youngest woman ever to be elected to the British


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