This year, 2012, I and my wife Josephine visited the National Famine Monument at the foot of the Croagh Patrick mountain near Westport, Ireland . This magnificent piece of sculpture by John Behan was unveiled by President Mary Robinson in 1997. It depicts a coffin ship with skeleton bodies and commemorates the anniversary of the Famine. My Irish Josephine, whose great grandparents would have been alive during the irish famine between 1845 and 1852 http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/sadlier/irish/Famine.htm was especially happy that this impressive, beautiful but horrifying monument was dedicated to the “victims of ALL famines” (in the world). For us there are no borders, no us and no them.
(PS. The flags on the ship were due to next day’s all-Ireland (Gaelic) football final in Dublin. County Mayo, the home of the monument and the nearby (for many) holy mountain, was to face Donegal and try to end 61 years of unsuccessful bids to bring home the prestigious Sam Maguire cup. They did not succeed with that, but the flags sort of reminded us that life goes on. We just have to work against the tide and try prevent history from repeating itself.)