9 September 2020

Gary Linnell: “The English overlords and land barons who ruled Ireland with an iron fist in the 19th century may not have created the poison that destroyed the potato crop, but they could have prevented the worst of the famine. They just chose not to. Profit took precedence over lives. There was no shortage of food in Ireland – those rolling pastures produced enormous amounts of wheat and beef. But most of it was destined for lucrative trade and the dinner plates of the London aristocracy. Diverting it to the starving Irish masses was unthinkable. Besides, what was the point of helping all those weak and vulnerable peasants? They were expendable and would probably die anyway. … Can you hear history’s echo? It’s the sound of coffers filling, of fortunes being made, of rich men mocking the poor, of a ruling class laughing and, yes, even revelling in their lack of empathy and compassion. It’s a sound becoming more familiar by the day. … [T]he chasm has now widened between those demanding the end of lockdowns and the resumption of business – and those preferring a safer, lives-first approach. … Empathy is dead. It’s time for the peasants to make way for profits.” The causes of a crisis might be natural, but the consequences are a choice.