but in our capacity to embrace and comfort the weak and vulnerable. The Irish
Potato Famine is a reminder of this basic truth.
History is not
about power and
triumph nearly so
often as it is
President of Ireland
When the weak and vulnerable provide aid and comfort to the weak and vulnerable they display a strength beyond military might.
A display of Irish history in the airport at Dublin features this quote:
History is not about power and triumph nearly so often as it is about suffering and vulnerability. The famine is a central part of our past, a motif of powerlessness which runs through our national consciousness. It is also a human drama upon which we, as Irish people, place an enormous value, and by which we have been radically instructed. (Mary Robinson, President of Ireland, 1990-1997)
Ireland was a British colony, the strongest power in the world at that time, but when potato blight destroyed the staple crop it failed to deliver the humanitarian food aid required to save the lives of a million people and they died of starvation.
Another million fled Ireland in the largest migration of the 19th Century. All the military might of the Empire meant nothing to the suffering people of Ireland.
The historical display cites a poignant footnote. The Choctaw people, forcibly removed from their homelands in the southern United States sent famine aid from their displaced tribal headquarters in Skullyville, Oklahoma in 1847.
When the weak and vulnerable comfort the weak and vulnerable they send a strong message about authentic strength.