• Morgan Fagg

Has Captain Chainsaw ever heard of Captain Boycott?

The Irish gave the world the word boycott and I think it is very important to remind people of Captain Charles Boycott's legacy and what it actually means when the Irish have beef with you.

The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro a.k.a "Captain Chainsaw" is clearly playing with fire by clearing indingeneous people's land for farmers and miners but has he ever heard of Charles Boycott and the events in Mayo in 1880?

Charles Boycott was a retired army captain employed as a land agent for the 3rd Earl of Erne. Boycott managed to get on the wrong side of the local community and ended up having to leave Ireland.

The dramatic episode involved many people of course but the treatment of Captain Boycott earned him his place in history. His 15 minutes of fame came after the famine where I am sure many nationalists were still hungry for some justice and Boycott found himself ostracised from the community to such a degree that the British government had to help the Earl of Erne with farming his land at a considerable expense.

Soldiers had to protect his workers who themselves had come from other communities and the treatment of Captain Boycott as if he was a leper gave the English language the verb boycott.

According to the Wikipedia page, "The episode was estimated to have cost the British government and others at least £10,000 to harvest about £500 worth of crops."

Has Captain Chainsaw made the mistake of annoying the Irish community? Does it matter? The Irish community is tiny only about 5 million people. I live in a European city of over 6 million but like me, there are many Irish people around the world. Some of them might have even heard stories of Captain Boycott and the British land agent who had to leave Ireland and you know what, the global Irish diaspora is estimated to be twenty times the size of the Irish community in Ireland.

Captain Chainsaw can bulldoze through the Amazon but will he find his crops have cost him more than they were worth?

I know I have only focused on the Irish community but you have to start small and I am reminded of the success of the Smoking Ban back in 2004. The Smoking Ban prohibited people from smoking in clubs and pubs and restaurants.

People had to step outside for a breath of fresh air if they wanted to smoke and suddenly like wildfire, the Smoking Ban went right across Europe and the world. Governments realised the need to act on the danger of smoking without taking away people's freedoms and more importantly taxation.

Where there is smoke there is fire and the world will be looking to see if the far-right Brazilian president is caught with what Donald Trump would call a "Smocking Gun."

Trump and Boris Johnson will be happy to trade with Jair Bolsonaro but I'm hoping, history doesn't forget Charly Boycott and the name he made for himself in the West of Ireland.

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