In 1996, when I visited New York to speak at some local universities, I was surprised to read a story on the front page of The New York Times. The Republican Governor of the state, George Pataki, had just signed into law a new curriculum for state high schools in the field of patriotism, citizenship, and human rights. The curriculum made it compulsory for schools to teach their students that Britain had committed genocide against the Irish in the Great Famine of 1845–50. The newspaper quoted Governor Pataki saying at a function attended by the Irish President Mary Robinson: “History teaches us the Great Irish Hunger was not the result of a massive failure of the Irish potato crop but rather was the result of a deliberate campaign by the...


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