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Today's Food Riots and the Irish Famine

INTRODUCTION

“During Ireland’s famine of 1846-7, which killed a million people, large landowners routinely exported food to Britain as poor peasants dropped all around them. Substitute Ireland for developing countries, large landowners for transnational corporations, and Britain for the Western world, and little has changed. Food is still being exported from countries where there is gross hunger and people are dropping as a result”.
John Madeley, Hungry for Trade- How the poor pay for Free Trade, Zed Books 2000, p43

Over 150 years later, the Great Irish Famine is remembered world wide as one of the most brutal in human history. The experience of this calamity has left deep feelings of solidarity with peoples who face similar famines in the modern age, with many ordinary Irish people contributing what they can to the emergency appeals of NGOs like Concern, Goal or Trocaire. There are many similarities between what happened in Ireland and what is happening now in the Global South, wi…