Che is Cromwell

Everyone in Galway and Ireland should know this: Che has a lot in common with Oliver Cromwell. Like Cromwell, Che proclaimed himself a liberator and felt justified in committing thousands of atrocities in a land other than his own, all in the name of a higher cause. Like Cromwell, Che stole everyone’s property too, for a sacred purpose. As for reputation: Cromwell received plenty of good press and adulation from those on his side, just like Che. To Cromwell’s admirers — and he had plenty who would eagerly build him monuments — the Irish people were inconsequential obstacles to a higher goal, or worse, despicable papist wretches who deserved no mercy.

Allow me to propose a radical solution to this controversy: If Galway wants to honor Che with a monument, it should also build one for Cromwell, right next to it. It’s only fair.

7 comments on “Che is Cromwell

  1. Cromwell is hated for, among other things, the great slaughter of civilians in Drogheda. But it didn’t happen: just bogus history, apparently.

  2. I don’t know if you’re being sarky or not, but the massacre at Drogheda did happen. The debate is over how many of the killed were Irish or English Royalists, how much Cromwell knew of it beforehand, and how bad/unusual it was in comparison to the conduct of war elsewhere during the English Civil Wars and on the continent at the same time.

  3. Nope. They killed all the defenders they could find but didn’t massacre the civilians. I was struck when I learnt it on a Beeb documentary, and amused that the Beeb had hired a historian with an unmistakeable Irish accent to explain.

  4. You don’t have to look far – even the politically correct Wikipedia disputes the evidence for the massacres:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Drogheda

    “It has not been clearly established how many civilians died in the sack of Drogheda. Cromwell listed the dead as including, “many inhabitants” of Drogheda in his report to Parliament. Hugh Peters, an officer on Cromwell’s council of war, gave the total loss of life as 3,552, of whom about 2,800 were soldiers, meaning that between 700–800 civilians were killed.[37] John Barratt wrote in 2009, “there are no reliable reports from either side that many [civilians] were killed”.[39]

    The only surviving civilian account of the siege is from Dean Bernard, a Protestant cleric, though a Royalist. He states that during the sack while some 30 of his parishioners were sheltering in his house Parliamentarian troops fired in through the windows killing one civilian and wounding another. They then broke into the house firing their weapons, but were stopped from killing those inside when an officer known to Bernard identified them as Protestants. The fate of less fortunate civilians may therefore have been worse.[40]

    The week after the storming of Drogheda, the Royalist press in England claimed that 2,000 of the 3,000 dead were civilians—a theme that was taken up both in English Royalist and in Irish Catholic accounts. Irish clerical sources in the 1660s claimed that 4,000 civilians had died at Drogheda, denouncing the sack as “unparalleled savagery and treachery beyond any slaughterhouse”.[41]”

    The sources cited are mostly:

    # O Siochru, Micheal, God’s Executioner, Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland, Faber & Faber 2008.
    # Morrill, John, The Drogheda Massacre in Cromwellian Context, in Edwards, Lenihan, Tait, eds, The Age of Actrocity, Four Courts Press, 2007

  5. As far as I can make out, the reason Cromwell was in Ireland was that the Irish decided to intervene in the English Civil war on the royalist side., which seems rather foolish to me. The ‘massacre’ at Drogheda was pretty comprehensively de-bunked on ‘War Walks’ with Richard Holmes. (Series 2 episode 4 ” The Boyne”)

  6. “the Irish decided to intervene in the English Civil war on the royalist side”: up to a point – he was their king too; I’m not sure that “intervene” is quite the word, since they were staging a civil war of their own, weren’t they? Mind you, styling themselves “The Catholic army” and then “The Catholic Confederacy” and starting off with a jolly massacre of protestant civilians in 1641 made their intentions pretty clear.

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