Photo by Dave Sidaway, Montreal Gazette
It was one hundred and seventy years ago, that 6000 Irish immigrants perished in Montreal, due to Typhus fever. They had fled their homeland, Ireland due t the great famine of 1847-1848. Most where the very poor and many were already sick on the voyage over, thus why is also called "ship fevor"
In the year of 1859, bridge workers working on the Victoria bridge uncovered the mass grave, many of them, themselves Irish. At the time they erected a memorial, so that future generations would not forget. Officially named the Irish Commemorative Stone, it is more commonly known as the Black Rock and also has been referred to as the Ship Fever Monument.
Today, the Irish community has been lobbying for a more substantial monument and better preservation of the "Irish Commemorative Stone" As the land has been purchased by Hydro Quebec, lets hope that the Quebec Government cares about preserving its patrimony and the telling of this important historical event, so that the story is never forgotten.
Photo by Dave Sidaway, Montreal Gazette
I confess, I myself was not aware of the amount of people who perished, as when I think of the Irish Famine, I always think of Grosse Île, near Quebec City, that was a quarantine station for the Irish immigrants arriving in Quebec. Indeed many a thousand perished there as well due to Typhus fever.
This is however, not just an Irish Story. Sickness Sheds had been erected to take care of and segregate those who contracted the fever. Many people helped and cared for the sick, even knowing how contagious and how dangerous this was. John Easton Mills, the then Mayor on Montreal tended to the sick and he himself caught the fever and died.
Photo taken 1898
The order of the grey nuns also tended to the sick, as did many francophone's and native Indians. Over 1000 Irish orphans were adopted by French families and helps explain why over 40% of Quebecers have some Irish ancestry. Outside of Ireland this is the largest burial ground of Irish famine victims outside of Ireland.
Notes: As this was in today's newspaper here, I read up on the topic, from various sources. Any errors in fact are mine, and if anyone wishes to either correct or provide more detailed accounts of any part of this narrative, I would love to hear from you.
The Falklands War
I found this book in a used book store in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia! I was surprised and intrigued as to the connections with France and New France. The book is very detailed and thus may be boring to some; however, I found this to be a unique and interesting part of history. The devil is in the details, and this book certainly takes a reader through the war, day by day. I think what is also interesting is no one at the time thought such a small insignificant peace of land would cause such a conflict. Argentina learned this the hard way.
Now, I know most will not have the time to read the book and may not be interested in that moment in history. However, one of the things I try to do when writing poetry is to see things from the human element, or a particular person's point of view. I think humanizing these events helps us to create empathy and understanding of all things, not in terms of right or wrong, but in terms of realizing that humans inflicting pain on humans is a terrible thing. And by no means do I have any answers, only by viewing problems with lots of empathy, may one soften his thoughts towards any perceived enemy.
I have included a short video of Simon Weston, a veteran of the Falkland War, with the Welsh Guards. This is a short one but he has appeared on many shows and has given many interviews. He is a man who currently advocates for better treatment for War Veterans. This is an issue that most countries fail to recognize. It was interesting to hear him speak and added the human touch to the book.
This Blog is also thus dedicated to Simon Weston and the Welsh Guards!
Guard of honour, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards by Thomas Plunkett
Below are a few paintings of the Falklands War.
Berlin Diary by William L.Shirer
This non-fiction book is without a doubt a GREAT READ! This basically covers the build up of Nazi Germany and you get the perspective and views from inside the country. What I liked about this book, as it covers not only the historical context and content, but it’s basically from a personal point of view and describes the day to day life people had to live under. You get to see both the he right and wrong assumptions of someone who is living the period without the benefit of hindsight. I found the book very refreshing and a stark reminder of how this could come to be, even in our times.
With the election of Donald Trump, I found this book very relevant, and I certainly hope in this case history will not repeat itself, however its certainly a wake up to call to be on guard. I hope the American system can withstand the likes of Trump, and regardless of whether his intentions are the same or simply the actions of a psychotic egomaniac, the sad part is the outcome could be the same.
Below is a summary of the book by Wiki.
Berlin Diary (1934–1941) is a first-hand account of the rise of Nazi Germany and its road to war, as witnessed by the American journalist William L. Shirer. He was a radio reporter for CBS, covered Germany for several years until the Nazi press censors made it impossible for him to report objectively to his listeners in the United States; feeling increasingly uncomfortable, he left the country. The identities of many of Shirer's German sources were disguised to protect these people from retaliation by the German secret police, the Gestapo. The contents of this book provided much of the material for his landmark book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
In 1947, End of a Berlin Diary continued and finished the story of the Third Reich, from July 20, 1944, to the Nuremberg Trials.
William Shrier (left)
As a side note, Donal Trump has banned Syrians from the USA, I wonder how much the American economy would have suffered had he prevented STEVE JOBS from entering the USA, yes he was a Syrian!
David Hirst Beware of Small States
Hi there, the blog has been running for almost a year, and as you can see I try to keep up a few posts a month. More about poetry and fellow poets, but also about current events, social issues as well as art and music. I look forward to any suggestions from readers and fellow poets!