Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on July 30, 1995 · Page 13
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · Page 13

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Sunday, July 30, 1995
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Page 13
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Chicago Tribune, Sunday, July 30, 1995 Section 1 13 HationWorld Famine still pains the Irish 150 years later, role of British debated By Ray Moseley Tribune Staff Writer - STROKESTOWN. Ireland A Catholic priest, writing in 1846, described the beginning of the horror "I beheld with sorrow one wide waste of putrefying vegetation. X"The wretched people were seated on the fences of their decaying gardens, wringing their hands and bewailing bitterly the destruction that has left them oodless." Then it got worse. A later writer told of "men and women and children dying by the roadside, their mouths green from the nettles and grass they had eaten in their overpowering hunger, of others dropping dead after partaking of a meal of porridge which proved too much for stomachs long without food; of women carrying their dead husbands on their backs to the graveyards." An English visitor in 1847 wrote: "Dogs feed on the half-buried dead, and rats are commonly known to tear people to pieces, who, though still alive, are too weak to cry out" Other witnesses documented cases of frantic people eating diseased livestock and chickens, and even human flesh. The Great Famine, an event that has helped to shape Irish history, began 150 years ago this summer. The potato, which had been introduced into Ireland in the late 16th Century and had become the staple food of most of the population, had been struck by phyto-phtoria irtfestans, a fungus disease. Within months, the stench of black, decaying, mushy tubers rose from fields across the land. Within a year, people were dying in great numbers. Some simply walled themselves into their cottages and waited for the end. Many, weakened by hunger, succumbed to dysentery, typhus and cholera. 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Ireland lost more than 2 million people, half to emigration, half to starvation and disease. abroad, and some made it; others died in the stinking holds of the "coffin ships." In 1847 alone, 230,000 Irish left for North America and Australia. Forty thousand of them died at sea or in Canadian quarantine stations. Ireland, a country of 8.2 million, lost more than 2 million of its people between 1845 and 1851 half of them to starvation and disease, half to emigration. More than any other European country, Ireland has been affected by emigration, which began before the Famine and continued long afterward. Today the population of the entire island, including British-ruled Northern Ireland, is about 5 million, while 70 million people of Irish descent live our Royal Velvet Stock-up Sale going on now. An Extra 20 Off White Sale Prices when you buy 2 towel ' , i i " 1 ' V Take An Extra 30 Off when you buy 3 The more you buy, the more you Sale Each Sets, Each 11.99 9.60 8.40 8.99 7.20 6.30 4.99 4.00 3.50 25.97 20.80 18.20 Extra abroad mostly in the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia. Was the Famine a tragedy so great in scale that the ability of government to alleviate it was overwhelmed? Or did the British, then ruling Ireland, deliberately starve the Irish? The question has been a matter of periodic debate in Ireland since at least the 1880s, and a spate of anniversary books about the Famine has rekindled the dispute. It comes at a sensitive moment in Irish history, when peace efforts are under way in Northern Ireland, and for that reason many are disturbed by the reawakening of Anglophobia. Mary O'Rourke, deputy leader of the Fianna Fail political party, said in Parliament that the anni 00 Coordinating towels: Fingertip towel (lS-xll") Tub mat (22"x36") Bath sheet (36"x70") Reg. 6.00 22.00 33.00 Now 4.99 14.99 24.99 savings apply to set purchases only. blGDmingdale'S versary could become a pretext for Britain-bashing, "which must be avoided at this sensitive time." Christine Kinealy, a historian of the Famine, said one historian tried to talk her out of writing about it, arguing that she would "give ideological bullets to the IRA Irish Republican Army." The Irish government has postponed its 150th commemoration until 1997 on the grounds that it was not until 1847 that people began dying and emigrating in huge numbers. But many believe the government was guided above all by considerations about the peace process. Terry Eagleton, a Marxist philosopher, has written: "The Irish cannot forget their history be-See Ireland, Page 16 - - 4, vtX s Also available: coordinating Royal Velvet Supreme rugs at 40 off regular prices. Machine-washable 500-denier DuPont fiber in navy, deep plum, tearose, empire green, chambray, berrystain, wine, stone gray, white, ivory or black. Made in USA. Reg. 27.00 38.00 52.00 16.00 38.00 17"x24" 24"x36" 27"x45" Ud Contour SUNDAY NOON-6PM. WE HAVE ON-SITE At U. of California, a new set of rules With affirmative action out, racial mix could change By Howard Witt Tribune Staff Writer LOS ANGELES Perplexed University of California officials started grappling with life after affirmative action last week as they began pondering how to maintain the racial diversity of the nation's largest state university system without the ability to consider a prospective student's race. How well they manage that delicate task could well set an example for the rest of the country as critics step up their assaults on longstanding affirmative action programs and defenders struggle to come up with other, more politically palatable equal-opportunity plans to put in their place. Many University of California administrators, still reeling from the recent landmark vote by the governing regents to scrap affirmative action programs in hiring, contracting and admissions, despaired of coming up with any new admissions formula that could maintain the current proportions of minority students on the system's nine campuses. They warned that once the new admissions policies take effect in 1997 and they are barred from weighing race as one of the factors in admissions decisions, the numbers of black and Latino students will inevitably decline, while the number of Asian and white students will increase. "I don't think we are likely to craft alternate admissions criteria that will result in similar numbers of minority students," said Bob Laird, admissions director at the prestigious and highly competitive UC-Berkeley campus. "As far as I can see, there's no way to get around that." But other education experts took a more sanguine view, predicting that admissions officers will still be able to assemble ethnically diverse freshman classes by a more precise consideration of social and economic hardships or more sets. save. Sale 19.99 29.99 40.99 12.99 29.99 Now 16.20 22.80 31.20 9.60 22.80 PARKING, JUST $6 FOR 3 HOURS WITH that an individual applicant might have overcome, instead of the broad shorthand of race. "It's really up to us, and whether administrators have the political will to continue to search ' for a diversified student body," -said Ruth Rosen, a history profes-sor at UC-Davis. "We still have the right to search for diversity. And we could set an example of nation- al leadership in how we go about doing it" "Naturally, you reach your goal of diversity faster by pinpointing ! the particular aspect of race," said Judith Winston, general counsel ; of the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. "If you look for ; substitutes, you recognize that ' you won't reach your goal as di- rectly or as quickly. But you can possibly still get there." The regents' decision, shepher-ded by Gov. Pete Wilson, who is basing his Republican presidential campaign on his opposition to race-preference programs, will change admissions criteria in two , important ways. First, the proportion of students ' admitted strictly on the basis of academic achievements will rise to between 50 to 75 percent of each incoming class from the current level of 40 to 60 percent. Then, as they assemble the balance of each freshman class, admissions officers will be forbidden from considering an applicant's race, gender, religion or national origin. According to current practices, students are ranked by race, socioeconomic status and academic scores under a complicated system that permits some black or Latino students with lower grades and test scores to be granted admission ahead of whites or Asians with higher marks. University officials have long contended that such racial gerrymandering is necessary to compensate for societal discrimination that minority students suffer and the inferior inner-city schools that they often attend. The new policy will permit university administrators to come up with alternative criteria the language of the regent's resolution suggests as examples "an abusive or otherwise dysfunctional home or a neighborhood of unwhole-See California, Page 17 sets. To order, call toll free 1-800-555-SHOP any time. Ref. N844. 10.00 delivery fee, allow 2-4 weeks. On 5, Chicago. VALIDATION. PARK FOR $4 AFTER 5PM.

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