Anyone may die at any time.

One day in May 1974, my mother left work fifteen minutes early to go to a doctor’s appointment. It was a fortunate day to have had her doctor’s appointment, because that day was a day that carbombs went off across Dublin. Her route to the train station took her right through the blast area for one of them, and she missed them by fifteen minutes.

In Paris and Beirut after this weekend, there will be similar stories. And stories that do not have so happy an ending. And that is true across Syria and the conflict zone in Iraq, but we do not hear the civilian casualty counts from the airstrikes of the Syrian regime, Russia, the US, Turkey, France. We are insulated from that horror until explosions rip through the fabric of the city of Paris, and everywhere the English-language news is gleefully horrified at the opportunity to expound.

And racists everywhere seize the opportunity to blame people fleeing this exact sort of violence.

France has bombed Raqqa in Syria in retaliation. France is using the rhetoric of war and revenge. France is doing Daesh’s work for them, in part. Fundamentalist movements cannot be overcome through violence: it is their most fertile recruiting ground. The best revenge would be to react to this tragic event with humanity and tolerance, with love instead of hatred, openness instead of fear.

But that is not what we see.

I’m fairly disgusted with the world right now. Every time I hear the news all I can think is: how many more dead? How many more dead will be added to the tally of tens of thousands? How many more millions of refugees?

In moral cowardice, I avoid the news.

Exhume the #Tuam bodies…

…interview the surviving nuns and inmates of the Tuam “Mother and Baby Home,” and let’s have the truth of where the dead children are buried – and why they were denied the dignity of proper remembrance.

Catherine Corless uncovered the fact that 796 children died over a period of 30 years while their care was the responsibility of the Tuam “Mother and Baby Home” run by the Bons Secours order of nursing nuns. There are no burial records for any of these children, nor did Corless find any indication that they’d been interred in local cemeteries.

That their bodies were interred in a septic tank is speculation.

This takes nothing away from the horror of the mortality statistics and the picture they paint of the neglect and indeed the evil committed by the Catholic Church while it masqueraded in the guise of moral righteousness. The Tuam “Mother and Baby Home” is only one of dozens, if not hundreds, that operated in Ireland during the 20th century. Corless’ research is a drop in the bucket.

An immense bucket, filled the the bodies of the dead.




Further reading:

Tuam: What Lies Beneath
No country for young women: honour crimes and infanticide in Ireland
Midwife’s memoir reveals the horror of Mother and Baby Home in Bessborough, Cork
Amnesty International calls for urgent investigation

ETA: Many of these links via @nwbrux