Photo: Famine Memorial, Dublin Ireland, from my own collection.
Most people have heard of the Great Famine that occurred in Ireland from 1845-49. Far fewer are aware that Muslims helped Ireland during this devastating period.
The Ottoman Turks stepped in to help, or how and why the naughty Queen Victoria hobbled their relief efforts, putting her own interests ahead of The Golden Rule.
Little known tale of generous Turkish aid to the Irish during the Great Hunger
*** Cross-posted from Irish Central ***
The little-known story of how Turkey was one of the only countries to come to the aid of Ireland during the Great Hunger will be the focus of a movie, “Famine.”
At a time when Ireland was enduring the terrible loss of a million dead and the mass exodus of a million more during the Great Hunger, the story goes that the Ottoman Sultan, Khaleefah Abdul-Majid I, declared his intention to send £10,000 to aid Ireland’s farmers. However, Queen Victoria intervened and requested that the Sultan send only £1,000 because she had sent only £2,000 herself.
So the Sultan sent only the £1,000, but he also secretly sent five ships full of food. The English courts attempted to block the ships, but the food arrived in Drogheda harbor and was left there by Ottoman sailors. That £10,000 that the Sultan pledged to the Irish would be worth approximately £800,000 ($1.7m) today.
It’s a wonderful story.
The movie, still in post-production, is built around this charitable act from a Muslim country to a Christian nation, separated by 4,000 miles. At the time the Ottoman Empire was experiencing enormous internal difficulty, but the Sultan Khaleefah Abdul-Majid was determined to help the starving men and women of Ireland. A friendship between two different cultures was formed. In the movie, a Turkish sailor meets an Irish farm girl and she finds “herself torn by her emotions.”
“Famine” is scheduled for release later this year and is written and directed by Omer Sarikaya, along with Tipperary-born screenwriter Norina Mackey.
Read the rest here.