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Coronavirus – Come Together, Right Now
6 May 2020
1.01pm
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sigh butterfly
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I never heard this story before. Nice to think that kindness is never forgotten. heart

 

Irish return centuries-old favor, donate millions to Native Americans battling coronavirus

Alyssa Newcomb
NBC NewsMay 6, 2020, 10:10 AM PDT

It was a gesture born of suffering and kindness carried over generations.

In 1847, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma sent $170 to Ireland during the Great Famine — a time of mass starvation on the island. More than 170 years later, Ireland has returned the favor, helping to raise more than $2 million for the Navajo and Hopi nations, which have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Donors said they felt like it was a chance to pay the good deed forward.

“I saw that Irish people were starting to donate and share the story of Choctaw Nation and the historical symmetry really affected me," said Paul Hayes, a native of Tipperary, Ireland, who runs Beachhut, a technology public relations firm said in an email. "Sending the actual amount of $170 personally after 170 or so years felt like the right tribute across the ages."

The Navajo Nation reported more than 2,700 coronavirus cases and 70 deaths as of Monday, a rate of infection that makes it one of the worst outbreaks in the United States. During a visit to Arizona on Tuesday President Trump said the Navajo Nation would receive $600 million in federal funding.

The sentiment runs deep in Ireland where the memory of the Great Potato Famine — which claimed more than one million lives by the time it ended in 1852 — endures to this day. And that’s why strangers were inspired to make a symbolic gesture of goodwill toward people living across an ocean, 5,000 miles away. The donations sent on GoFundMe include messages of hope and gratitude from people in Ireland.

"The care shown generations ago was not and will not be forgotten," said Jonathan Legge, CEO of &Open, a bespoke gift-giving company based in Dublin.

“An overdue debt repaid on behalf of our ancestors to your ancestors. Stay strong,” read a note attached to one $30 donation.

“I am currently unemployed so I'm sorry that my donation is not more, but I hope that this little contribution will make some positive difference in the same way those donations 173 years ago were sent with the same hope for ancestors of mine,” another donor who gave $10 said on the website. “I stand in solidarity with my Native American brothers and sisters during this time of crisis and send this message with love, respect and Hope For The Future .”

When the Choctaw Nation paid it forward all those years ago, it was empathizing with Ireland’s plight based on its own experience. During the 1830s, 60,000 Native Americans had been forced by the federal government to relocate from their ancestral lands and move west on what is now known as the Trail of Tears. Thousands of people died during the devastating trek.

In 2017, Ireland honored the Choctaw Nation with a sculpture of nine stainless steel eagle feathers stretching 23 feet high. The next year, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar visited the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma.

Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation said adversity can “bring out the best in people” and said he’s happy to see his ancestors’ generosity inspiring donations to other Native American tribes.

“We are gratified, and perhaps not at all surprised, to learn of the assistance our special friends, the Irish, are giving to the Navajo and Hopi nations. Our word for their selfless act is ‘iyyikowa’ — it means serving those in need,” Batton said in an email. “We have become kindred spirits with the Irish in the years since the Irish Potato Famine. We hope the Irish, Navajo and Hopi peoples develop lasting friendships, as we have. Sharing our cultures makes the world grow smaller.”

The donations are being used to buy critical supplies, including food and personal protective equipment.

There are 13 grocery stores in the Navajo Nation serving 180,000 people, while there are just three small stores in the Hopi Nation serving 3,000 people. The entire area spans more than 26,000 square miles in northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah and northwestern New Mexico, making it an “extreme food desert,” according to organizers of the fundraiser.

The communities also include many elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions who could be especially hard hit by the coronavirus. One-third of Navajo Nation residents also do not have running water and other essentials to help them stay safe during the pandemic.

The surge of donations from Ireland was acknowledged Sunday by Vanessa Tulley, one of the organizers.

“In moments like these, we are so grateful for the love and support we have received from all around the world. Acts of kindness from indigenous ancestors passed being reciprocated nearly 200 years later through blood memory and interconnectedness,” she wrote. “Thank you, IRELAND, for showing solidarity and being here for us.”

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6 May 2020
6.05pm
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The Hole Got Fixed
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@AppleScruffJunior you were telling me about that only yesterday, was it not?
What an incredible coincidence.

It's a very moving story. All hail the Choctows!

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6 May 2020
9.56pm
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Wish I had known about Leo Varadkar being in Oklahoma. I would have gone if it was an open meeting.

I see that the story calls him the Irish *Prime Minister*. a-hard-days-night-john-7 Even I know to use Taoiseach. @AppleScruffJunior 

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7 May 2020
8.28am
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The Hole Got Fixed said
ASJ you were telling me about that only yesterday, was it not?

What an incredible coincidence.

It's a very moving story. All hail the Choctows!

  

Yuppidy. As I mentioned in the Discord chat as well, Ireland has a scholarship for Choctaw students to come over here and study. It's very, very nice, free tuition and €10,000 a year.

 

Ahhh Girl said
Wish I had known about Leo Varadkar being in Oklahoma. I would have gone if it was an open meeting.

I see that the story calls him the Irish *Prime Minister*. a-hard-days-night-john-7 Even I know to use Taoiseach. 

  

Spread the word AG, let Americans know!!!

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7 May 2020
2.31pm
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We lost a close friend to COVID-19 this morning. I love NYC, but it's really not a great place to be at the moment.

I've been recollecting all the U.S. Beatles albums and "Second Album" and "The Early Beatles" arrived in the mail today, so...something good happened.

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7 May 2020
2.54pm
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Beatlebug
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Oh my, I'm so sorry to hear that @Pablo Ramon. heart

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7 May 2020
3.27pm
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My condolences as well, @Pablo Ramon, and I do hope that things get better for you and for everyone you know in NYC.....I can only imagineheartapple01

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7 May 2020
6.33pm
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That's absolutely terrible, @Pablo Ramon, sending love to New Yorkheartheart

a-hard-days-night-paul-10

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7 May 2020
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I'm sorry to hear about the news, he must have been a hell of a guy. My wishes are to your friend's family as well as to all of NYC.

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7 May 2020
7.48pm
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CakeMaestor said
I'm sorry to hear about the news, he must have been a hell of a guy. My wishes are to your friend's family as well as to all of NYC.

  

My wife met him when they lived in the same apartment building over 30 years ago. Later, his daughter had a kid who happened to be the same age and went to the same school as one of ours. We spent Thanksgiving with them last year. Lovely family of smart, good hearted people. He will be missed, like everyone taken from us by this awful disease. 

I can't help myself pointing the finger at our "president," even though I know it's probably not the healthiest way to think about it.

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7 May 2020
8.40pm
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@Pablo Ramon Oh my God , I'm so sorry. I hope everyone else is doing okay.

heartheartheart

A friend of mine just lost an uncle to coronavirus. And here in Argentina we haven't even passed the mark of 300 deaths confirmed. This shit is really getting to us all.

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7 May 2020
8.46pm
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Pablo Ramon said

I can't help myself pointing the finger at our "president," even though I know it's probably not the healthiest way to think about it.  

If you're to point your finger at anyone, I'd think it would be the Chinese Communist Party who covered up the outbreak and allowed it to spread to the world, encouraging huge gatherings for Lunar New Year's even though they knew that it was likely to spread the disease.

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7 May 2020
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That's also terrible Jules, hope your friend isn't doing too badlyapple01

Beatlebug said

Pablo Ramon said

I can't help myself pointing the finger at our "president," even though I know it's probably not the healthiest way to think about it.  

If you're to point your finger at anyone, I'd think it would be the Chinese Communist Party who covered up the outbreak and allowed it to spread to the world, encouraging huge gatherings for Lunar New Year's even though they knew that it was likely to spread the disease.

  

Even though there's no proof? If there's proof, yes fine. This is currently speculation.

Besides, one can't help what a foreign government did or did not do, and frankly the US response has been one of the worst of the world. I mean, Seriously? The US has more than a million more cases than the next worst affected country, which is nearly 6 times as many as said country. It has 98 times more cases than the similarly populated Indonesia, which is far denser with a worse health system. If the US (Trump in particular) could take some responsibility for their own actions and not blame other governments, that would be nice - if the US had been proactive when news first came, regardless of how bad China's action were or weren't, the situation wouldn't have been nearly as bad - see New Zealand as a prime example.

Oh, and all the news I found stated China, for the most part, cancelled Lunar New Year.

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8 May 2020
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There's evidence that the virus was in France in December i.e. the same time that Chinese doctors were realising some new virus was developing. This virus would have spread even without a cover-up. You cannot put the blame solely on China. It was probably in the US in December or January, just undetected. 

Our Taoiseach (who is a doctor) was saying, it wouldn't surprise him if we also found out that we had undetected cases in December as we're so connected to France. If we had it, the US definitely had it in December- big mass cover-up or not. This thing is contagious, it spreads like wildfire, not shutting the country down earlier (in most countries' cases but particularly looking at the US because their reaction was so slow and because this response centers around the US government) inevitably caused the deaths of thousands and thousands of people who would not have died if it wasn't for President Trump insisting everything was fine and acting like everything should go on as normal. 

 

You can finger point at China all you want and go THEY'RE TO BLAME but you cannot say the inactivity of the US' government did not play a large part in the spiraling amount of deaths that the country is currently experiencing. 

 

I'm sorry to hear about your friend, Pablo. The death of a good friend is horrible at any time but this lock-down exasperates it. I hope you'll be able to go see your friend's family soon and visit his resting placeheart.

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8 May 2020
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AppleScruffJunior said
There's evidence that the virus was in France in December i.e. the same time that Chinese doctors were realising some new virus was developing. This virus would have spread even without a cover-up. You cannot put the blame solely on China. It was probably in the US in December or January, just undetected. 

Our Taoiseach (who is a doctor) was saying, it wouldn't surprise him if we also found out that we had undetected cases in December as we're so connected to France. If we had it, the US definitely had it in December- big mass cover-up or not. This thing is contagious, it spreads like wildfire, not shutting the country down earlier (in most countries' cases but particularly looking at the US because their reaction was so slow and because this response centers around the US government) inevitably caused the deaths of thousands and thousands of people who would not have died if it wasn't for President Trump insisting everything was fine and acting like everything should go on as normal. 

  

My wife was terribly sick starting on New Years' Day. Friends we saw on NYE got sick almost exactly 14 days later. I got sick on January 12. We had fever, trouble breathing, cough, etc. I definitely believe that this virus was spreading in NYC well before it was formally identified. We went and got antibody tests this morning. If we test positive for the antibodies I take that as confirmation that it was spreading in NY in December...Should have results in a few days.

8 May 2020
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Beatlebug said

Pablo Ramon said

I can't help myself pointing the finger at our "president," even though I know it's probably not the healthiest way to think about it.  

If you're to point your finger at anyone, I'd think it would be the Chinese Communist Party who covered up the outbreak and allowed it to spread to the world, encouraging huge gatherings for Lunar New Year's even though they knew that it was likely to spread the disease.

  

Wherever the virus may have originated, the abject denial of its seriousness, failure of testing, lack of a coordinated response from the top of our government is the proximate cause of many deaths and much economic devastation. 

 

Had it been taken seriously in January, we could have had widespread testing in place to identify asymptomatic spread. We also could have had better plans to keep our economy running without a precipitous total shutdown. You're welcome to disagree, but I am firmly of the belief that our federal government failed us massively in this situation and that it started with the "president."

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8 May 2020
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Pablo Ramon said
We lost a close friend to COVID-19 this morning. I love NYC, but it's really not a great place to be at the moment.

I've been recollecting all the U.S. Beatles albums and "Second Album" and "The Early Beatles" arrived in the mail today, so...something good happened.

  

I'm sorry to hear of your loss Pablo. I know several people who are hunkered down in their Manhattan apartments. My daughter's best friend says her husband has made sure that she didn't go outside since mid-March. He told her if I lose you my life is over anywayheart.

My aunt gave me the Beatles Second for Christmas (Meet The Beatles was sold out) and I played that record until it was a scratchy mess. I can still remember dropping the needle that morning and hearing George Harrison for the first time, "Well gonna write a little letter, Gonna mail it to my local D.J.".

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9 May 2020
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Beatlebug said

Pablo Ramon said

I can't help myself pointing the finger at our "president," even though I know it's probably not the healthiest way to think about it.  

If you're to point your finger at anyone, I'd think it would be the Chinese Communist Party who covered up the outbreak and allowed it to spread to the world, encouraging huge gatherings for Lunar New Year's even though they knew that it was likely to spread the disease.

  

They weren't the ones who dismissed the pandemic response team and released a flurry of contradictory statements and attitudes about the virus, including the fabrication of statistics, inaccurate comparisons to the flu, the attempt to divert the country's attention from the federal government's shortcomings in the face of this disaster by racistly referring to coronavirus as a "Chinese Virus," and of course the suggestion that we inject disinfectant into ourselves. Unless you can find a way to blame China for that too? It may have spread from China but, let's face it, that was inevitable. Diseases spread. That's what they do. In fact, the quarantine of Wuhan probably slowed the spread of coronavirus to the rest of the world. 

I just don't think blaming other countries for your own country's failure to effectively handle an issue of this magnitude is fair.

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9 May 2020
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Wish we could "oblue-terate" this virus. Too bad we couldn't have done it before you lost your friend, @Pablo Ramon.

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9 May 2020
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I really don't see the point of arguing who's to blame when no doubt China could have done more to contain and warn but a good few countries like the US and the UK were so shit with getting themselves organised that they missed the opportunities anyway. It's all well and good saying they're to blame, boo hiss, but it makes absolutely no difference when you sit on your fingers doing sod all for weeks when you know it's coming.

Trump has been throwing out all kinds of utter batshit crazy bullshit for months and still insists that they got it almost all of it right and it's almost everyone else at fault; they did so little for so long and even when it was getting worse he was far more concerned in promoting his own nonsense whilst trying to look smug and get one over on the press. So yeah, China fucked up but so did the US and the UK (despite the nonsense the Tories are coming out with when asked about the highest death rates and why we were so underprepared).

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