The Great Famine in Ireland and the Support of the Ottoman Empire

The Great Famine or The Great Hunger signifies a catastrophic period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland that occurred from 1845 to 1852. About one million people died and more than a million people emigrated from Ireland. At the end of this tragic period, Ireland lost almost a quarter of its entire population. In 1847, the Ottoman Empire was financially in a very severe situation. However, the Ottoman Sultan determined to help the Irish nation who experienced the most devastating and traumatic period in its history.

The letter above shows us the importance of providing support for the vulnerable people. The Irish people responded to the aid of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmejid by sending a gratitude letter for the generous help of the Ottoman Sultan and the Caliph of the Islam world. The significant point in the letter is that Ireland expected that the support of the Ottoman Empire would have been as a model for other European countries, which remained mostly silent during the Great Famine. It is also questionable to have the request of the Queen of England about the intention of the Ottoman Empire to send more funding than the British Empire while millions of people were striving to survive in the centre of this catastrophe. This approach invokes many questions about authority and domination.

Considering the recent refugee crisis and the abstention of a persistent and progressive intervention, our hopes regarding a civilised world are crippled. Yet we have not missed the opportunity to create a better world by broadening the scope of mercy, support, tolerance, and empathy. The history is full of such stories if we want to draw the necessary humanist conclusion from these cases.