Part I: Ireland’s beauty hides a harsh history
Washington Times: December 22, 2011 — Every country you go to captures your heart only if you identify with some facet of its history or culture or society. Besides the sheer joy of experiencing its beauty. Ireland touched us in every one of those aspects; America was part of the British Empire for 174 years, between the early 1600s and 1781. India was under British occupation for about three centuries but Ireland was ruled by the Brits for nearly eight centuries!
Ireland, America and India have a special bond as countries that were colonized by the same power, whose culture was similar to America’s but very different from India’s. Interestingly, scholars hold that the Irish language has more in common with Sanskrit than it does with English, others point to similarities between ancient Irish Brehon Laws and Indian Vedic laws. In India the British exploited the Hindu/Muslim divide, in Ireland they manipulated the Protestant/Catholic conflict. In America however they were up against the influence of Puritanism that fostered the war against what the revolutionaries considered a sinful, corrupt Britain. ”No Lords, Spiritual, or Temporal,” was the rallying cry in New England.
Irish American political leaders played a major role in local and national politics even before America’s War of Independence.: eight Irish Americans signed the United States Declaration of Independence, and 22 American Presidents, from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama, have been at least partly of Irish ancestry. An estimated 250,000 migrated to America during the colonial era, and Irish immigrants participated in significant numbers in the American Revolution, leading one British major general to testify at the House of Commons that “half the rebel Continental Army were from Ireland.”