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  1. #1
    Niall996 Niall996 is offline
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    Irish Memorials to Concentration Camps

    I'm just back from a recent trip to South Africa. It was interesting to meet Afrikaners who had grandparents who were in the British Boer War concentration camps. The memory is still very vivid in the conciousness of the people as a whole.


    Some of the statistics are indeed horrendous. Particualrly from Kircheners scorched policy onwards era. There are several conflicting accounts in terms of numbers murdered. Somewhere between 10% and 25% of the total Boer civilian population deliberately targetted and killed). At least 28,000 killed in the camps themselves, 22,000 of whom were children killed through forced starvation and inevitable disease. As one group (mainly children) died, the next were brought in to experience the exact same fate over and over again. A truly horrific act of barbarism. The intent was never hidden, remove the means for families to survive by burning the ground and killing/taking all livestock, move families into camps to die to force a surrender. Over 25,000 blacks were also murdered in the camps.

    What is surprising is the amount of Boer War related memorials that continue to exist in Ireland.

    Anglo-Boer Wars war memorial sites in Ireland

    The question is, can we be comfortable celebrating and commenmorating what were essentially murder factories and a military campaign based on the open strategy of targetting and killing civilians. I'm not comfortable with in in the exact same way I don't think anyone would be comfortable with memorials to SS Holocaust Camp officers in the middle of O'Connell St.

    Obviously a lot of people are quite unaware of the memorials themselves or the events of the Anglo Boer war. If their status was more publicised and exposed I wonder what the reaction would be.

    Do I support tearing them al down. Maybe not entirely. Some are exquisite peices of art that could simply be repurposed and rededicated to something noble and worthy. Some should be removed. In the case of Fusiliers Arch in St Stephen's Green, this one has to go imo. Or at the very least sanded/grinded down and repurposed. I don't mind the names of the soliders being repositioned to some other location but the idea of a monument to the killings of 22,000 innocent children in the heart of our city is surely unacceptable.

    https://comeheretome.com/2015/04/29/...usiliers-arch/

    On the mountain side the battle raged, there was no stop or stay;
    Mackin captured Private Burke and Ensign Michael Shea,
    Fitzgerald got Fitzpatrick, Brannigan found O’Rourke;
    Finnigan took a man named Fay and a couple of lads from Cork.
    Sudden they heard McManus shout ‘Hands up or I’ll run you through’
    He thought he had a Yorkshire ‘Tyke’ – twas Corporal Donoghue
    McGarry took O’Leary, O’Brien got McNamee
    That’s how the English fought the Dutch at the Battle of Dundee!


    Just to note, this ins't a thread on the whole history of South Africa, the rights or wrongs of the Anglo Boer war, the history of Apartheid, Jacob Zuma or Britains Imperialist past. It's very specific to the Anglo Boer War and our nations ongoing commemoration of it.
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  2. #2
    owedtojoy owedtojoy is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niall996 View Post
    I'm just back from a recent trip to South Africa. It was interesting to meet Afrikaners who had grandparents who were in the British Boer War concentration camps. The memory is still very vivid in the conciousness of the people as a whole.


    Some of the statistics are indeed horrendous. Particualrly from Kircheners scorched policy onwards era. There are several conflicting accounts in terms of numbers murdered. Somewhere between 10% and 25% of the total Boer civilian population deliberately targetted and killed). At least 28,000 killed in the camps themselves, 22,000 of whom were children killed through forced starvation and inevitable disease. As one group (mainly children) died, the next were brought in to experience the exact same fate over and over again. A truly horrific act of barbarism. The intent was never hidden, remove the means for families to survive by burning the ground and killing/taking all livestock, move families into camps to die to force a surrender. Over 25,000 blacks were also murdered in the camps.

    What is surprising is the amount of Boer War related memorials that continue to exist in Ireland.

    Anglo-Boer Wars war memorial sites in Ireland

    The question is, can we be comfortable celebrating and commenmorating what were essentially murder factories and a military campaign based on the open strategy of targetting and killing civilians. I'm not comfortable with in in the exact same way I don't think anyone would be comfortable with memorials to SS Holocaust Camp officers in the middle of O'Connell St.

    Obviously a lot of people are quite unaware of the memorials themselves or the events of the Anglo Boer war. If their status was more publicised and exposed I wonder what the reaction would be.

    Do I support tearing them al down. Maybe not entirely. Some are exquisite peices of art that could simply be repurposed and rededicated to something noble and worthy. Some should be removed. In the case of Fusiliers Arch in St Stephen's Green, this one has to go imo. Or at the very least sanded/grinded down and repurposed. I don't mind the names of the soliders being repositioned to some other location but the idea of a monument to the killings of 22,000 innocent children in the heart of our city is surely unacceptable.

    Just to note, this ins't a thread on the whole history of South Africa, the rights or wrongs of the Anglo Boer war, the history of Apartheid, Jacob Zuma or Britains Imperialist past. It's very specific to the Anglo Boer War and our nations ongoing commemoration of it.
    I had a work colleague in Galway who told me his grandfather served in the British Army in that war.

    In that war, he had occasion to shoot man dead. A Boer, I presume.

    The old man solemnly knelt every night and said a prayer for the man he killed. This man carried the Boer War with him all his life.

    (Just an observation. Killing does not come easy - the old guerrilla Will Munny says in Unforgiven : "It's a terrible thing to kill a man. You take away everything he has, and everything he was going to be". The experience of war, of killing and the fear of being killed, is a dreadful one, and most of us grapple with it unsuccessfully. Only a few take to war naturally.)
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  3. #3
    owedtojoy owedtojoy is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niall996 View Post
    I'm just back from a recent trip to South Africa. It was interesting to meet Afrikaners who had grandparents who were in the British Boer War concentration camps. The memory is still very vivid in the conciousness of the people as a whole.


    Some of the statistics are indeed horrendous. Particualrly from Kircheners scorched policy onwards era. There are several conflicting accounts in terms of numbers murdered. Somewhere between 10% and 25% of the total Boer civilian population deliberately targetted and killed). At least 28,000 killed in the camps themselves, 22,000 of whom were children killed through forced starvation and inevitable disease. As one group (mainly children) died, the next were brought in to experience the exact same fate over and over again. A truly horrific act of barbarism. The intent was never hidden, remove the means for families to survive by burning the ground and killing/taking all livestock, move families into camps to die to force a surrender. Over 25,000 blacks were also murdered in the camps.

    What is surprising is the amount of Boer War related memorials that continue to exist in Ireland.

    Anglo-Boer Wars war memorial sites in Ireland

    The question is, can we be comfortable celebrating and commenmorating what were essentially murder factories and a military campaign based on the open strategy of targetting and killing civilians. I'm not comfortable with in in the exact same way I don't think anyone would be comfortable with memorials to SS Holocaust Camp officers in the middle of O'Connell St.

    Obviously a lot of people are quite unaware of the memorials themselves or the events of the Anglo Boer war. If their status was more publicised and exposed I wonder what the reaction would be.

    Do I support tearing them al down. Maybe not entirely. Some are exquisite peices of art that could simply be repurposed and rededicated to something noble and worthy. Some should be removed. In the case of Fusiliers Arch in St Stephen's Green, this one has to go imo. Or at the very least sanded/grinded down and repurposed. I don't mind the names of the soliders being repositioned to some other location but the idea of a monument to the killings of 22,000 innocent children in the heart of our city is surely unacceptable.

    https://comeheretome.com/2015/04/29/...usiliers-arch/

    On the mountain side the battle raged, there was no stop or stay;
    Mackin captured Private Burke and Ensign Michael Shea,
    Fitzgerald got Fitzpatrick, Brannigan found O’Rourke;
    Finnigan took a man named Fay and a couple of lads from Cork.
    Sudden they heard McManus shout ‘Hands up or I’ll run you through’
    He thought he had a Yorkshire ‘Tyke’ – twas Corporal Donoghue
    McGarry took O’Leary, O’Brien got McNamee
    That’s how the English fought the Dutch at the Battle of Dundee!


    Just to note, this ins't a thread on the whole history of South Africa, the rights or wrongs of the Anglo Boer war, the history of Apartheid, Jacob Zuma or Britains Imperialist past. It's very specific to the Anglo Boer War and our nations ongoing commemoration of it.
    An important distinction should be made between Concentration Camps and Death Camps.

    The Nazis created Death Camps, with the intention of killing those who came within their perimeter - Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek, Chelmo and Auschwitz-Birkenau were Death Camps, all of them in modern Poland.

    Dachau, Belsen, Ohrdruf and many other camps were Concentration Camps proper, like the British camps, and the original ones set up by the Spanish in Cuba, had exceedingly high death rates, so much so that many were almost death camps too.
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  4. #4
    Niall996 Niall996 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by owedtojoy View Post
    I had a work colleague in Galway who told me his grandfather served in the British Army in that war.

    In that war, he had occasion to shoot man dead. A Boer, I presume.

    The old man solemnly knelt every night and said a prayer for the man he killed. This man carried the Boer War with him all his life.

    (Just an observation. Killing does not come easy - the old guerrilla Will Munny says in Unforgiven : "It's a terrible thing to kill a man. You take away everything he has, and everything he was going to be". The experience of war, of killing and the fear of being killed, is a dreadful one, and most of us grapple with it unsuccessfully. Only a few take to war naturally.)
    And I'm not out to have a go at the soldiers. The systems, the institutions, the leaders, the forces at work etc put them there. But what happened there was mass scale murder. And completely at odds not just with modern thinking but thinking at the time. It strikes me as unconcienable to have memorials to such an atrocity.
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  5. #5
    Wilkinson Wilkinson is offline

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    Wasn't there two boer wars?
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  6. #6
    Niall996 Niall996 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by owedtojoy View Post
    An important distinction should be made between Concentration Camps and Death Camps.

    The Nazis created Death Camps, with the intention of killing those who came within their perimeter - Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek, Chelmo and Auschwitz-Birkenau were Death Camps, all of them in modern Poland.

    Dachau, Belsen, Ohrdruf and many other camps were Concentration Camps proper, like the British camps, and the original ones set up by the Spanish in Cuba, had exceedingly high death rates, so much so that many were almost death camps too.
    When the work or the conditions are knowingly going to kill the worker/inmate (or in the Boer case, the child) the distinction is only in terms of the time delay between arrival and death I would suggest. Similarly, the life expectancy in the cotton fields was so short, they were effectively concentration/death camps. They just inflicted productivity between arrival and death.
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  7. #7
    Niall996 Niall996 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilkinson View Post
    Wasn't there two boer wars?
    The British lost the first one. The end of the red coats. This is about the second one.
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  8. #8
    Lúidín Lúidín is offline
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    Niall996: It's very specific to the Anglo Boer War and our nations ongoing commemoration of it.
    Link? Or are you talking of some other nation?
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  9. #9
    runwiththewind runwiththewind is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by owedtojoy View Post
    An important distinction should be made between Concentration Camps and Death Camps.

    The Nazis created Death Camps, with the intention of killing those who came within their perimeter - Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek, Chelmo and Auschwitz-Birkenau were Death Camps, all of them in modern Poland.

    Dachau, Belsen, Ohrdruf and many other camps were Concentration Camps proper, like the British camps, and the original ones set up by the Spanish in Cuba, had exceedingly high death rates, so much so that many were almost death camps too.
    What distinction would you make if you were in one?

    If you had a preference, would you chose a death or concentration camp?
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  10. #10
    Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niall996 View Post
    When the work or the conditions are knowingly going to kill the worker/inmate (or in the Boer case, the child) the distinction is only in terms of the time delay between arrival and death I would suggest. Similarly, the life expectancy in the cotton fields was so short, they were effectively concentration/death camps. They just inflicted productivity between arrival and death.
    I think your on shaky ground here. What was the mortality rate in these camps?
    Last edited by Nebuchadnezzar; 7th February 2018 at 04:49 PM.
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