I’m obliged to the SUNDAY INDEPENDENT’S star commentator, Eoghan Harris (11 January) for confirming my opinion of himself and George Orwell. “Orwell’s” real surname was Blair (a surname of a latter day fake.) Orwell was never down and out though he faked it in London, Paris and Wigan. He was,unbalanced and had no sense of humour.
Unless he lied to his Diary in February 1941 Orwell was an unreconstructed Imperialist with contempt for democracy and a hatred of Ireland.
Eoghan Harris has never exhibited a sense of humour and his take on history is unbalanced. He quotes Orwell’s February 1941 Diary with approval-
“The spectacle of our allowing a sham-independent country like Ireland to defy us makes all Europe laugh at us (British)”
In September 1939 the Germans had over-run the populous and well-armed Poland, whose Government had fled into exile.
By June 1940 the Germans occupied or dominated Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and France, and was allied with Italy and had friends in control in Spain. The British Army had been chased from Belgium and France in June 1940 and had to be frog-marched back there by
the Americans in 1944. There was little resistance in the occupied countries between 1940 and 1944. France in particular had a government more than happy to collaborate with the Nazis. Even after D-Day Rommel was happy to drive around Normandy in an open car – something
Thatcher was unable to do in England during her heyday.
Ireland’s Government and citizens stood firm. They had established a sovereign state with a liberal Constitution, where no citizen was ineligible for public office by reason of their religious or irreligious beliefs. They had weathered an Economic War imposed by Britain and come out the winners, increasing industrial employment, boosted self-sufficiency, gave workers paid annual leave, before either France or Britain, built great numbers of local government housing of a high quality to replace the slums inherited from the British regime.
Seventeen years after a bitter internecine war resulting from British statecraft, former antagonists marched in step together to defend their country from attack by their proven enemies or any new ones.
Europeans may well have laughed at the British. But neither they, nor any other nation, had reason to despise the Irish.
I was born in Dublin in December 1941. The following month the SS General Reinhard Heydrich chaired the meeting near Berlin where it was resolved to murder every single Jew in Europe. In May 1942 Reinhard met the newly appointed French Commissioner for Jewish
affairs Louis Darquier and with Rene Bousquet, Secretary General for the Police. Darquier was, if anything, more murderously anti-Semitic than Heydrich. Bousquet’s police played the role that the RIC had done in British-occupied Ireland, and picked out Jews whom the Germans
would never have recognised and helped round them up for the Nazi death-camps.
Bousquet prospered after the Liberation and his men massacred hundreds of North Africans in Paris in on Ocober 16 1961 throwing them off bridges into the Seine.
I was born in Dublin in December 1941. I was Christened a few days later but my Go indparents were represented by proxies. My Aunt
Mav, my Father’s sister, and her husband, Bill O’Connell, were doctors living in England. They had qualified in UCC a few years earlier. And Bill was in Britain’s Royal Army Medical Corps. I’m told that he was the first doctor into Belsen on its liberation in 1945.
I was a child of the de Valera era. In fact the gynaecologist in charge of my mother’s ward was Eamon de Valera, son of the Taoiseach. My sister was taught by him in the 1960s .
No doubt some readers may be appalled that in those days the doctors in the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street honoured the Hippocratic Oath. Abortion was not the done thing.