Friday, March 28, 2014

Mixed Race Irish

It has been quite a week in Ireland, with the new problems for Mr Shatter, the news that over 2000 phone calls were taped in Garda offices around the country, which could bring a lot of current and old court cases in jeopardy,the press had a busy time and mr. Shatter is very troubled.

But that hasn't affected our normal every day lives.

However, since I started my (voluntay) job with the online radio, Irish Radio International, where I have my own show, The New Rebels, aimed at the immigrant society here and their families abroad and since I have touched the problem of racism, I am regularly confronted with some very difficult truths.
It is of course easy to ignore all that and keep on blogging about all the good things in Ireland (of which there are many), but I think we all have a repsonsibility in revealing truth, however unpleasant that truth may be.

I connected with a lady from London, Carole Brennan, who is a co-founder of the recently established Mixed Race Irish group, an association of Irish people with African dads and Irish mothers, born in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and often raised in industrial schools here in Ireland, where they were often psychologically, physically and even sexually abused.
A lot of them left Ireland after their 18th birthday and now live in self-imposed exile, but some of them stayed, like Christine Buckley, who became famous for her fight for justice for those who suffered abuse while in care.

Christine Buckley passed away a few weeks ago, and Mixed Race Irish will now continue to fight for the rights of the Mixed Race children in care.

According to Carole Brennan, there are about 150 or more people, now middle aged who grew up under these conditions. The group wants the Irish government to recognise them, to admit to the horrible abuse these children have suffered, and to apologise.

When I first spoke to Carole , I could hardly believe what I heard. After the Magdalenes, the child abuse by Catholic priests and the scandal of the industrial schools, now this , and I had never heard of it. Children who have been locked up, rejected and abused since the day they were born, becuse of the colour of their skin.
Here is the interview: Justice for Mixed Race Irish podcast from The New rebels programme on IRI by roosdemol

The Irish Times has published an article about Mixed Race Irish as well a few days ago. So far I haven't yet seen many reactions to it. The group has a lot of work to do, and they need all the support they can get.

I have asked the question if the same occured in Belgium, and a few people have sent me links. Yes, Mixed Race Belgians were also put in orphanages, and later adopted or fostered. I haven't found any reports on abuse,so far. What is interesting as well is that in Belgium they were all children of African mothers and Belgian fathers. Once the women were pregnant, the fathers would disappear, and the African mothers would go to the missions to ask for help. There they were convinced to leave the children behind, to give them a 'better future'.
I still have a lot of research to do on this subject, but it seems to me that the subject of mixed race children is one that needs to be addressed in the whole of Europe.

Here is the Facebook page of Mixed Race Irish. Please give them your support

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