By New Worker correspondent
NEW COMMUNIST Party leader Andy Brooks and other comrades joined members of London’s Irish community to protest against attempts to portray the Irish famine as a comedy.
Some 30 demonstrators paraded outside the headquarters of Channel Four on Saturday to voice their anger at the company’s decision to televise a tasteless “comedy” series called Hungry about the famine in 19th century British-ruled Ireland.
The picket was called by the Campaign for the Rights and Actions of Irish Communities (CRAIC), whose chair Austen Harney said: “It’s outrageous that Channel Four thinks it can get away with making a joke of the millions of people who died or were displaced as a result of the famine…in British society, they’re not really educated on the facts of the Irish Famine,” he said. “Irish history is a very minor role here in Britain but we need to make people understand the persecution and suffering that Irish people endured.”
Other speakers included Phien O'Reachtigan (Irish Traveller Movement), Helen O'Connor (Socialist Party), Peter Middleton (Wolfe Tone Society, international link of Sinn Féin in London), Zita Holbourne (Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts) and Pat Reynolds (Irish in Britain Representation Group).
It would be unthinkable to reduce the horrors of the Holocaust to a sit-com but Channel Four now seem to think that the Irish famine is an acceptable back-drop for light entertainment. The portrayal of Irish people as simpletons or savage terrorists reflects the imperialist mentality based on the centuries of oppression under British colonial rule that continues today and stills fans the flames of sectarian hatred in the occupied north of Ireland.
CRAIC is going to hold more protests to urge Channel Four to scrap the series, which is still in the development stage, and a change.org petition has been signed online by almost 40,000 people, calling for the channel to cut all ties with the script.