Monday, November 23, 2015

Immigrants

The Great Hunger lasted from 1845 to 1852.  It is also known as the Irish famine.  The grandparents of my paternal grandfather came over then.  Over three hundred fifty Mahoneys came through New York in 1850 and 1851, the years my kinfolk came through.

I was sorting through the records for Daniel in 1850 and Katherine and Ellen in 1851.  So many records, so ...flexible the sense of names and dates.  I have not been able to identify their entry dates with any degree of certitude, yet seeing all of those names had its effect.

At that time, in our republic, Catholics were suspect of loyalty to the Pope more than to the country, especially the rebellious Irish.  Catholics were a problem for this country even in Maryland.  Yet, they came.  They answered the open invitation of liberty.  "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free...."

It was not an easy assimilation.  "No Irish Need Apply" was not an uncommon sign.  Yet this idealistic country opened the borders to these refugees with all the risks of disease and insurrection.  

***
Today we see the flood of immigrants from the middle east.  Peoples whose countries are ravaged by an Islamic analog to the Reformation in western Europe and the destruction of many of the functioning governments.  These people, Muslim and Maronite, pose potential harms to the west, to these United States.  ...And yet...
Though they are despised even as my ancestors were despised on their entry to this land, even so, the call of Liberty still rings true.  


4 comments:

  1. hmm... I hadn't quite thought of the people of the middle east like that.

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  2. hmm... I hadn't quite thought of the people of the middle east like that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. From our daughter Emily, quoting from a song. I agree. "Fear is easy, love is hard ".

    ReplyDelete