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This letter appeared in The Irish News today Wednesday July 15th 2020
IT WAS interesting to read in the excellent ‘On this day’ (July 9) that Edward Carson had defended the actions of Brigadier General Dyer in the House of Commons in relation to the massacre at Amritsar in India.
Follow this link to find see what legend – Udham Singh looks like: https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3216985748381177&id=100002093504519&set=a.439170419496071&source=48
On April 13th 1919, thousands of civilians gathered peacefully in a walled garden in the city. In their eyes of both the governor of Punjab, Sir Michael O’Dwyer (from Tipperary) and General Dyer, his top military man in the city, such gatherings were proof that a second Indian mutiny was brewing. Blocking the main exit to the garden, Dyer marched in his men and ordered them to open fire, without giving any order to disperse.
Follow this link to see photograph: https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3216776261735459&id=100002093504519&set=a.439170419496071&source=48
On April 13th 1919, thousands of civilians gathered peacefully in a walled garden in the city. In the eyes of both the governor of Punjab, Sir Michael Dyer, his top military man in the city, such gatherings were proof that a second Indian mutiny was brewing. Blocking the main exit to the garden, Dyer marched in his men and ordered them to open fire, without giving any order to disperse. In the 10 minutes that followed, hundreds fell dead and many more were wounded. According to legend, Udham Singh was among those injured and he vowed to take revenge.
Follow this link see photograph: https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3216933505053068&id=100002093504519&set=a.439170419496071&source=48
For 21 years he waited patiently. General Dyer had died in the meantime of natural causes but on March 13th 1940 Mr Singh exacted his revenge by assassinating O’Dwyer, at a public meeting in Caxton Hall, London. July 31st will be the 80th anniversary of the execution of Singh, who was hanged in Pentionville Prison and was believed to have been buried in the same grave as Sir Roger Casement. His story is told in the excellent book The Patient Assassin by Anita Anand. In the light of the Black Lives Matter movement there has been a lot of talk recently about the true history of the British Empire. The massacre at Amritsar was one of its many despicable events. In view of what happened in the formation and governance of the empire, I do wonder how people who consider themselves to be humanitarians can accept honours in its name.
With many thanks to: Danny Boyd, Newtownabby, Co Antrim the North of Ireland, for the original letter which was posted in: The Irish News today
Follow these links to find out more: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_massacre
A SUGGESTION that the families of two young teenagers murdered by plastic bullets in 1981 (the year the 10 men died on hunger-strike) including Bobby Sands.
Should use the Freedom of Information (FoI) request to access files on their deaths has been dismissed as “unacceptable”. SDLP leader Colum Eastwood raised the cases of Paul Whitters (15) and Julie Livingstone (14) with Secretary of State Brandon Lewis in the House of Commons yesterday. Paul Whitters was murdered in Derry in April 1981 while Julie Livingstone, was murdered in Belfast the following month.
Government files relating to their killings have been reclassified and closed until 2059 and 2064 respectively despite appeals by their families for access. The family of Julie Livingstone said the decision that no-one who knew the teenager personally would be alive when the file was opened. At Secretary of State’s questions yesterday, Mr Eastwood told Mr Lewis there was “no good reason” to keep the files closed and asked: “Will he now act to allow the parents of those children to see the files?” Mr Lewis said he had “enormous” sympathy for families of those who died during the Troubles, especially children. He said the next step for the families should be to submit a Freedom of Information request to the National Archive. However, Sarah Duddy of the Pat Finucane Centre said Mr Lewis’s suggestion had been dismissed by the families in the past.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Seamus McKinney for the original story
One hundred years after winning a seat in the House of Commons, the first woman MP is finally to grace the corridors of Westminster.
It was a seat that Constance Markievicz never took – in line with Sinn Féin’s abstentionist policy.
Remarkably, she fought the 1918 election for the constituency of Dublin St Patrick’s from a cell in Holloway prison – and out of 18 women candidates, she was the only one to win a seat.
Her portrait, donated by the Irish parliament, is to be received later on Wednesday by Speaker John Bercow on behalf of the House of Commons.
Ready to die for Ireland
Born in 1868, Constance Gore-Booth was an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, but developed an allegiance to an Irish Republic.
She spent her childhood at Lissadell House in County Sligo, but was eager to travel and studied art in London and Paris.
It was at the Académie Julian in Paris that she met Casimir Markievicz; the pair married in London in 1900.
Commonly known as Count and Countess Markievicz, her family and some historians have raised questions about the provenance of the title.
Campaigned against Churchill
Constance Markievicz – or Madame de Markievicz, as she was known – was the first woman elected to the House of Commons, and she was the first woman elected to the First Dáil.
Lauren Arrington, a senior lecturer at the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University, said Markievicz was exposed to alternative political opinions while she was in the French capital.
“She was at the centre of an avant-garde culture in Paris and she encountered ideals that were sensible to her – that women should be equal to men,” said Ms Arrington.
Constance joined her sister, Eva, in Manchester in 1908: As key players in the Barmaids’ Political Defence League, they successfully campaigned against the re-election of Winston Churchill in the Manchester North West by-election.
Hearing executions from her cell
But while Markievicz was an anti-imperialist, the 1913 Dublin lockout was a pivotal moment for her.
“It’s the lockout and the formation of the Irish Citizen Army which brings her to republicanism,” said Ms Arrington.
Constance Markievicz took part in the Easter Rising of 1916 and fought against British crown forces under socialist rebel Michael Mallin at St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.
The rising was unsuccessful and the ringleaders, including Markievicz, were sentenced to death.
At her court martial, Markievicz declared she was “ready to die for Ireland one way or another”.
However, Markievicz’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison because she was a woman.
This greatly frustrated her, according to Ms Arrington.
“It annoyed her as she felt that she shouldn’t get off purely because she was a woman, and she also felt some responsibility for the jailed rebels she knew from Na Fianna Éireann – a nationalist youth organisation Markievicz co-founded with Bulmer Hobson,” explained Ms Arrington.
“In the first few days after the Rising she was in prison in Kilmainham Gaol, and she could hear the other executions happening from her cell.
“That was torturous for her.”
Proud Irish patriot
Although Constance Markievicz was released from prison in 1917 under a general amnesty, she was detained again by 1918.
The British government feared a repeat of the 1916 Easter Rising and arrested most of the Sinn Féin leadership charging them with entering into treasonable communication with the German enemy.
“The charges were trumped-up”, explains Ms Arrington adding that “the government underestimated the extent to which the imprisonment would be a rallying-cry and actually increase Sinn Fein’s political power”.
Later that year, Prime Minister David Lloyd George called a general election immediately after Armistice Day.
Campaigning from a cell in London’s Holloway prison, Markievicz combined her suffragist ideals with her anti-imperialism.
“Her platform was for a republic in which men and woman would be equal, and Ireland would be free to pursue its own destiny,” said Lauren Arrington.
Rather than take her seat in the House of Commons, Madame de Markievicz – along with 72 other Sinn Féin MPs – refused to acknowledge the authority of the British government, and instead helped establish the First Dáil at Dublin’s Mansion House in January 1919.
Markievicz died in 1927 aged 59, in a public ward in Dublin’s Sir Patrick Dun’s hospital.
Her funeral was attended by the great and the good of Irish society, including Prime Minister Éamon de Valera.
Skip Twitter post by @RTEArchives
Éamon de Valera leads mourners at the grave of Countess Constance Markievicz who died #OnThisDay 1927
Aristocrat, abstentionist, anti-imperialist, suffragette, feminist, and Irish revolutionary, Constance Markievicz enters the House of Commons honoured for her role in Anglo-Irish history.
Her portrait will form part of the UK Parliament’s Voice and Vote exhibition until 6 October, when it will be transferred to nearby Portcullis House to go on public display.
With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story.