LONDON — Tens of thousands of Irish children were sexually, physically and emotionally abused by nuns, priests and others over 60 years in a network of church-run residential schools meant to care for the poor, the vulnerable and the unwanted, according to a report released in Dublin on Wednesday.
…Punching, flogging, assault and bodily attacks, hitting with the hand, kicking, ear pulling, hair pulling, head shaving, beating on the soles of the feet, burning, scalding, stabbing, severe beatings with or without clothes, being made to kneel and stand in fixed positions for lengthy periods, made to sleep outside overnight, being forced into cold or excessively hot baths and showers, hosed down with cold water before being beaten, beaten while hanging from hooks on the wall, being set upon by dogs, being restrained in order to be beaten, physical assaults by more than one person, and having objects thrown at them.”
Some of the schools operated essentially as workhouses.Report Details Abuses in Irish ReformatoriesBy SARAH LYALL New York Times
Published: May 20, 2009
An Irish Airman Foresees His Deathby W. B. Yeats
I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
It is unbearable to contemplate the desperation that drives men to stare at the sun, holding their eyelids apart so that the direct sunrays would burn blind spots on to their corneas, but clearly the medical officers thought it the only way the lesions they observed could have been produced. Morale in the Western Desert was a serious problem for all fighting men, but particularly for those who thought their lives were being thrown away while their loved ones were left unprotected at home. It was Montgomery who would point out that men are capable of extraordinary feats of endurance and courage if they are convinced that they are highly valued. If their living conditions are unbearable, if they do not get sufficient food and rest, if they are not convinced that they will be taken care of if wounded or ill, their motivation suffers. If they are treated as a rabble by commanding officers who understand nothing of their background and make no attempt to put them in the picture they will be more prepared to kill him than to die for him.Germaine Greer,
Daddy We Hardly Knew You