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Page updated Tuesday, 9 June, 2020 8:33 AM
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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Racism, moral leadership and Shannon Airport

Dear Sir or Madam,

I appreciate Taoiseach Varadkar for speaking out on racism and on the abysmal lack of moral leadership in the U.S. According to the Irish Times, this is what he expressed: “We’ve also seen genuine revulsion at the heavy-handed response in some instances towards peaceful protesters and journalists. And we’ve witnessed the absence of moral leadership, or words of understanding, comfort or healing from whence they should have come.”

I would however, appreciate even more, would he speak out against the murderous racism of U.S. war-making that abuses and disrespects any concept of Irish neutrality by using Shannon airport as a refueling stop for planes carrying weapons and troopsheading to and from U.S. wars of aggression in the Middle East and Africa. Last year Ken Mayers (82) a former Major in the USMC and myself (78) a former U.S. Army paratrooper, were arrested and detained in Ireland for 8 1/2 months for making our way onto Shannon airfield as two military veterans to do something for world peace, something that the Irish government, in violation of their own laws, and in violation of the precious concept of Irish neutrality, have failed to do for 19 years – that is, to inspect U.S. planes for weapons and troops with those weapons.

Again, credit to the Taoiseach for speaking out on (Trump and other's) lack of moral leadership, but he needs to continue to have the moral courage to speak out against U.S. war-making in violation of Irish neutrality.

Tarak Kauff
Veterans for Peace

Related Link: http://shannonwatch.org/?q=content/speaking-out-about-murderous-racism-us-war-making


Saturday, 22 August, 2015

Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Sir,

It beggars belief that some people still try to defend the indefensible atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Letters, 07 and 10 August).

Extensive scholarship, primarily from the US, ably demonstrates that the Japanese leadership wanted to surrender and had, through various avenues, sued for peace. Much of the US military knew this. General Dwight Eisenhower said, ‘Japan was at that very moment seeking some way to surrender with minimum loss of face. It was not necessary to hit them with that awful thing.’ Two days before the Yalta Conference in January 1945 and seven months before the bombings, General Douglas Mac Arthur presented a 40-page report to President Roosevelt outlining the Japanese peace proposals.

But the US politicians thought differently. Roosevelt dismissed Mac Arthur’s recommendations with the remark, “MacArthur is our greatest general and our poorest politician.” Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson described the atom bomb as the ‘master card’ in US diplomacy towards the Soviet Union. Churchill and Roosevelt had decided as early as September 1944 that the new deadly weapon should be tested on Japan and that their ally, the Soviet Union, should not be informed before its use. They derided the efforts of eminent atomic scientist Niels Bohr who attempted to convince them to share the knowledge openly with their allies if only to prevent a post-war arms race. This gives the lie to the propaganda version that the decision about bombing was taking in extremis to force surrender.

The US pleaded potential deaths of American soldiers as a cover to test the two different atomic bombs (uranium and plutonium) on Japanese civilians and on buildings in different physical settings, while securing political, diplomatic and military advantage that strategically assured its hegemony as the dominant world power in the post WW2 era. The atomic bombings were callous, cynical, barbarous and opportunistic war crimes of the highest order.

Yours etc.

JIM ROCHE,
PRO Irish Anti-War Movement,
PO Box 9260,
Dublin 1.


Monday, 20 January, 2014

Sir,

Legacy of Ariel Sharon

Denis Staunton (Politics, 13 January 2014) manages to chart some of Ariel Sharon’s war crimes yet still retrieve him as a courageous statesman.

He claims for example, that Sharon’s “unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, which involved the evacuation of all Israeli settlers from the strip, demonstrated that the colonisation of Palestinian territory by settlements must not be irreversible.” In fact, the reverse is true. This absurd theatrical public relations exercise by Israel, orchestrated primarily to show the world the difficulty of removing settlers in any future peace deal, was merely a ruse by Israel to camouflage the illegal settlement expansion within the West Bank. In any case Israel still terrorises Gaza by land, sea and air on a daily basis, in what is the largest open air prison in the world.

Sharon’s main legacy, apart from the awful memories of his obvious war crimes, is the permanent state of separation, lockdown and war against the people of Palestine that has attracted the worst forms of xenophobia, racism and hatred within Israel. His twin track approach of demolition and settlement, an open policy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territories as part of his vision of a greater Israel, is now normalised and an everyday experience for Palestinians, and seems to be accepted by almost all western political leaders. For example, on 10th December last, 30 Palestinian homes were demolished in the Jordan valley resulting in the displacement of 41 people, including 24 children. Illegal settlements continue apace during the farcical peace talks. Where is the outcry? Instead we have the appalling sycophantic scenes of western leaders praising Sharon.

Sharon’s policy of separation and containment, of demolition and settlement have made the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state practically unachievable. His favourite weapon of war was the bulldozer and he revelled in the demolition of Palestinian homes as much as he enjoyed killing women and children. Presenting him as a courageous statesman is just not credible. The one regret about his passing is the fact that he died before being tried at an international criminal court for his crimes against the Palestinians. The way to counter his memory is to intensify the struggle of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against his awful legacy of what is now unquestionably an apartheid, racist state.

Yours etc.

JIM ROCHE,
PRO Steering Committee,
Irish Anti War Movement,
PO Box 9260,
Dublin 1.


Response to Anne Ferris Media outburst.
Mon, 23 Sep 2013

To whom it may concern,

I am E mailing you on foot of Anne Ferris article in the Wicklow time and Sunday world we wise to respond in order to bring balance to the situation, and I think we deserve the right of. reply in this instance

Labour TD Anne Ferris is trying to use the media to get people to dislike our Wicklow Home and water taxes page, and using our grass root campaign protest to spit venom at other political groups, she went as far as using not just local papers but the national papers (Sunday world)too, yes there is another group who protest outside her office every week, and we are not here to stop any group who decided what measure they want to take when standing up for what they believe.

But Anne Ferris is trying to make out that we are the same, our campaign is open too all who want to unite in the fight against home taxes, and everyone is entitled to join this campaign. We are here to send a clear message that we oppose Labours involvement in bringing in theses taxes, and due to the fact that they lied to the Irish people to get into government. Anne Ferris was voted in on these promises by the Wicklow people but she was not mandated to do what she and her party has done and our continuing to do, she is not the true voice of the Wicklow people, she broke her pre election promises, and the people of Wicklow are here to remind her of that.

They do say that when a scared animal is cornered, all it can do is bite, well that is what i see here, she bit, barked and spat in the papers, using what i can only call hate incited words which to me is so childish and twisted and very immature. The image that the Sunday World ran was not an accurate image as they put a picture on an Eirigi member beside out image, this is a person we have never met and who has never been evolved with Wicklow Campaign, and was not even there on the day in question, but the image suggest other wise, due to the fact that Anne Ferris seems to have a hatred for Eirigi does not give her the right to imply or tarnish us all as sinister paramilitary groups, we resent and reject the implication that we are in any way connected.

This was a very peaceful protest to deliver a letter asking her to step down as she does no represent the people of Wicklow. This decision to deliver a letter to Anne Ferris came from the Wicklow wide meeting and was voted on democratically by all and, it was an over whelming yes, it was one of the shortest and quietest protest we have ever has, due to the fact that we were entering into a town housing estate, and we had the innocent residences in mind when we decided to drop the letter into Anne Ferris, it was very peaceful and the letter was dropped and the whole demonstration lasted only about 10 minutes outside her house.

People country wide in this CAHWT campaign are ordinary everyday people. And we will continue to fight for against unjust taxes, which were brought in by the labour party, the local election are next May 2014, we will be on the streets reminding the people exactly what the labour party has done so they are clear about who they give their vote too. And we won't be bullied into silence..

Representatives
Patricia O Leary
Sharon O Callaghan
Anna Doyle


 

We must remember the horrors of the Porrajmos
by EveryOne Group

We must remember the horrors of the Porrajmos and do everything in our power to put a stop to the persecution of the Roma people today.

Milan, August 2, 2013. On August 2, 1944, 2,897 Roma were murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Romany words "Porrajmos" and "Samudaripen" recall the extermination of five hundred thousand Roma in the war (though some scholars speak of more than one million). Unfortunately the racial persecution of the Roma continues to this day. Throughout Italy and many other so-called "civilized" countries the Roma people are forced to live segregated and persecuted by the authorities and racist groups, and are slandered by both journalists and politicians. Because of this persecution, the average life expectancy of the Roma people in Europe is just over 40 years, while that of other Europeans is roughly double. The mortality rate of Roma children is very high, in some countries ten times higher than that of other children. The judicial harassment the Roma are subjected to is horrifying. Over 50% of the Roma who live in or have lived in Italy have been hit by minor criminal convictions. Every year hundreds of children are taken away from their legitimate Roma parents by the authorities and entrusted first to a shelter and then to Italian families. On the social networks we see hundreds of pages filled with slander, insults and threats against the Roma people and very rarely are these pages removed after complaints are made. Remembering the Porrajmos must not only be the commemoration of a particular day, it must inspire a daily commitment to ensure the Roma obtain social equality as soon as possible, putting an end to the terrible discrimination they are constantly subjected to.


 

"Open letter: "Pro-life" (as long as you're a right-wing bigoted man)

To John Waters
Reading your article in the Irish Catholic would make anyone with progressive views sick to their stomach. It consists of attack after attack on women, with arguments that we are 'emotionally manipulative' and 'selfish' combined with the insult that suicidality during pregnancy is a 'theoretical idea'. The reason it warrants a response is because you expose the reality that the 'pro-life' position is inherently anti-women.

Firstly, you begin by comparing a suicidal woman having an abortion with a suicidal man murdering his partner. As one commentator has already mentioned, this comparison is not only disgusting, but makes no sense. The fact that you are happy to equate the life of a woman to a clump of cells is truly mind-blowing. Not to mention the fact that the man has the option of leaving his partner while the suicidal woman has no other option but to have a termination.

Bigot
In your mind women have long-since manipulated men in Ireland, claiming 'victim status' so we can get to 'kill babies'. This view of women as manipulators and schemers is absolutely abhorrent. In reality, women in Ireland have faced huge inequality and sexism throughout the 20th Century compared to those in other European countries.

The exclusion of women from the workforce, lower wages, the ban on contraception, divorce, abortion and deficient public services (like childcare) have had a massive negative impact on women's lives.

The notion that the risk of suicide during pregnancy is a 'theoretical idea' is also disgusting. I really wish you could have said that to the thirteen year old at the centre of the X case in 1992, who was pregnant from rape and felt that she would rather take her own life than give birth to the baby. In reality, women have unwanted pregnancies, which they cannot go through with, for whatever reason. The distrust of women you display brings us back to days of the Magdalene laundries when women were locked up as slaves, abused and mistreated.

Control
Your anti-women sentiment has exposed the true nature of the anti-abortion lobby. The argument is not about 'life', but about living women, and the need of the Catholic Church and the capitalist system to control us.

Dying breed
Thankfully, people like you are a dying breed. The vast majority of young people in Ireland support a woman's right to choose and more than 80% of the population support X case legislation. Unfortunately the Catholic Church has come back from its grave with dusty old men, backed by US funding, attempting to stop legislation to save women's lives. The legislation proposed by the Government does not come close to what is needed. The 14 years jail sentence for procuring or helping to procure an abortion is really a reminder of the dark past in Ireland and has to be removed.

Luckily young women and men are daily leaving behind your barbarism, whilst standing tall against those who wish to limit and control them.

Suitably disgusted,
Madeleine Johansson
Dublin 8


The Ghosts of Bethany Home

Sir,

A group of survivors of the Protestant Bethany Home, their spouses and friends (including public representatives) met in Mount Jerome Cemetery Dublin yesterday (August 28th). We were there to report progress to the ghosts of 219 Bethany children in Mount Jerome, 218 in unmarked graves.

In 2010 we reported to the children the official explanation for their deaths. In 1939 the then Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the state observed in a confidential memo after visiting Bethany Home, "It is well known that illegitimate children are marasmic and delicate". He then prevented the home from admitting Roman Catholics. 'Unwanted' children were expected to die and suffer abuse or neglect separately, that is to say silently (from an official point of view).

We did not have a lot of progress to report yesterday with regard to the Irish state admitting culpability. That is despite considerable support from TDs, senators, MLAs, MEPs, newspapers, TV and radio, north and south. The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin has wished us well, though he or his representatives were obviously too busy to attend. The same goes for the equally well meaning Presbyterian Church. In their absence one survivor, Victor Stevenson, read a short passage from the Bible, while another, Sydney Herdman, delivered a short prayer. Former Bethany Resident Patrick Anderson McQuoid, Niall Meehan from Griffith College and Gerald Morgan from Trinity College spoke, as did Sean Crow TD and Senator Terry Brennan. My wife Carol was also moved to speak, the first time ever to speak publicly. I said a few words. We were very grateful to Joe Costello TD, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for attending and pledging his continued support, immediately on his return from inspecting refugee camps in Jordan.

Afterwards, we marvelled at the ability of certain formerly Protestant run institutions that were, unlike Bethany Home, admitted to the state redress scheme contributing precisely nothing toward the approximately €6m paid out by the state in compensation to former residents. It may be because during the 1970s these institutions lost their exclusively Protestant character and were effectively taken over by the state. Our misfortune is that Bethany Home closed in 1972. However, former residents from, for example, Miss Carr's Home and the Smiley's Home, claimed compensation when they were resident in those homes on precisely the same basis as I and fellow survivors were in Bethany Home. But we are still locked out of official recognition of our institutional existence.

It would spin your head if not a child's body in its grave.

Yours, etc,
Derek Leinster
Chairperson, Bethany Home Survivors


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