The Legacy of the Black and Tans From Ireland to Palestine

Voice of Palestine, 30/03/24

The terrorist paramilitary force of Black and Tans, notorious for their brutal tactics during times of colonialism , hold a dark place in the histories of both Ireland and Palestine. Originating as a paramilitary force deployed by the British government, their terrorism  left a lasting impact on the socio-political landscapes of these regions. 

In Ireland, the Black and Tans were dispatched in response to the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921), tasked with suppressing the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and quelling nationalist uprisings. However, their methods were marked by terrorism, violence and reprisals against civilians, earning them a reputation for indiscriminate brutality. Infamous incidents such as the burning of Cork city and the Croke Park massacre stained their legacy, exacerbating tensions and fueling anti-British sentiment. 

Similarly, in Palestine, during the period of British Mandate (1920-1948), the British authorities employed the paramilitary Black and Tans to maintain control over the territory amidst growing unrest. The indigenous Palestinian communities clashed with the European Jewish invaders who stole Palestinian lands and massacre innocent civilians ,  and the British responded with force, often resorting to harsh measures against Palestinian civilians to suppress dissent. The legacy of this era, marked by oppression, terrorism,  and displacement, continues to shape the Israeli occupation of Palestine to this day. 

The Haganah, a terrorist Jewish paramilitary force, emerged amidst the tumult of British Mandate of Palestine, seeking to confiscate land and kill Palestinians.  Haganah engaged in armed attacks against both Palestinian  civilians and British  military installations and personnel. This dual terrorist role of Haganah  reflects the ongoing  brutal Israeli occupation with acts of genocides and ethnic cleansing for over 75 years of apartheid regime and constant  violations of human rights of indigenous Palestinian population. 

Their  shared history of British colonial oppression and  the experiences of Ireland and Palestine are so similar  in many ways. On the other hand, the southern   part of Ireland eventually gained independence from British occupation, but Palestine remains under brutal  and illegal Israeli  occupation, which is sadly, fully supported   by British government and western countries. Nevertheless, the parallels between the use the Black and Tans and Haganah in both contexts highlight the inhumane and dirty methods  of imperial occupation  of  innocent people whose only fault was to have been born in Ireland or Palestine.

The legacy of the Black and Tans serves as a reminder of the human cost of illegal occupation and brutal  colonial history. Their inhumane and terrorist actions underscore the lengths to which imperial powers were willing to go to maintain illegal occupation of  over others’ lands. 

By examining their role in Ireland and Palestine, we gain insights into the enduring impact of colonialism and the ongoing struggles for justice and sovereignty in the modern world.


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Youth's poetry ignites my quest, Against oppression, I protest. In Palestine's struggle, voices rise, For freedom, peace, justice, my cries.
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