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Gaelic Song From The Isle Of Lewis - Thainig Na Meirlich Anns An Oidhche

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Added by Admin in Music and dance
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This song was written after watching the John Pilger documentary "Stealing a nation." The programme (which you can find on-line) is about the forced expulsion of the people of Diego Garcia by the British Government in the 1960s and 70s to make way for an American air-force base. Many of the people were dumped in the slums of Mauritius.

The documentary exposes the cynical duplicity of politicians of every hue. It demonstrates how democratic governments are quite capable of ignoring injustice when it suits them (often when simultaneously criticising other countries for similar abuses). Despite continued activism by the remaining survivors, and a high-court ruling that the removals were illegal, the British government still chooses to ignore the plight of the people that it cleared

Of course the forced clearance of people from their homes is something which we are very familiar with in the Highlands (as, unfortunately, are many others around the world). One of my own ancestors, called Mary MacLean, was evicted from her home in Rodel in Harris at Bayonet-point and, despite being heavily pregnant, was forced to shelter under a dyke until she eventually found sanctuary with relatives - and all this because the landlord wanted to make the village into a sheep farm.

The pictures are of various deserted and ruined houses and other landscapes around the island. The song is in the form of a traditional Waulking Song or "Orain Luaidh" -- a work song used to thicken hand-woven cloth. It is dedicated to all those forcibly cleared from their homes, but particularly the exiled people of Diego Garcia.

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