Sunday, 11 October 2009
A Proposal for the Abused Children of Ireland
1 The State to declare all orphans and others who were abused in Ireland's industrial schools and other places of detention to be Honoured Citizens of Ireland
2. An official certificate to be granted to all such citizens declaring that they are Honoured Citizens of Ireland. The certificate to be signed by the President and Taoiseach of the day and stamped officially.
3. Special privileges, apart from compensation, to be granted permanently to Honoured Citizens. These to include Free Medical Card, free travel, free access to cinema and theatre etc.
4 Existing compensation granted to victims to be quadrupled without further investigations. This payment not to be an obstacle to victims (Honoured Citizens) seeking further and better compensation.
5 Those who should have been but were not heard by Judge Ryan to be heard by a new Tribunal composed solely of victims and their cases decided by that new tribunal in a non-adversarial way.
6. A Park of Remembrance to be created to honour the deceased Honoured Citizens and their families. The Park to contain a building for recreative purposes for all Honoured Citizens and their families.
7. In Seanad Eireann and Dail Eireann the present official prayer to be replaced permanently by a declaration recognising the culpability of the State vis-a-via its Honoured citizens and promising that every effort will be made, starting now, to prevent any such abuse from taking place in future or present times in any place whatever within the State. This declaration to be made daily in both Houses before start of business.
8. All Churches and religious congregations to be equally liable with the State for the financing of the above
9. In all Masses, a special statement admitting guilt against the victims, requesting forgiveness and promising never again to be part of such abuse, to be inserted and read publicly. Similarly for other religions who have been responsible for the abuse of children or other inmates under their care.
(Church people themselves might have some other proposals along with these)
Monday, 5 October 2009
Tales of Ballycumber is a tragedy. The author, Sebastian Barry, has tackled the extremely difficult and harrowing subject of the large number of suicides recently happening among young Irish people, especially young men. For those who have not been touched in real life by being close to such tragedies, the play might be a bitter pill to swallow. For those who have had to swallow a more bitter truth already, in a barn or bedroom maybe, at a moment of awful, sudden and unchangeable realisation, this work and its performance on the Abbey stage will provide at least a little hint of empathy and hopefully a little solace.
The play has been carefully constructed with a mixture of story-telling, bright and dark imagery, rural dialect, farm lore, ghosts, parenting and themes of young love hindered by shades of ever so delicate inter-religious tensions. It begins with the brilliant song, Heartbreak Hotel, made famous by Elvis Presley which sets the scene to follow. Farmer Nicholas Farquhar (Stephen Rea) is 45-ish, his young friend Evans Stafford (Aaron Monaghan) is 17, both are Protestant. The neighbourly Evans has just helped Nicholas to root out a crow's nest from his chimney when the two sit down to tea and chat. Evans has news about Elvis's ancestors coming from the nearby Hacketstown, Nicholas recounts tales of the famous Kennedys. In between, Evans is anxious to talk about the girl with the greeny blue eyes, a Catholic with whom he has fallen in love, whose brother has lately hanged himself. Nicholas counters with recalling the tragedy of a young local girl, "one of the most beautiful wee girls that was ever seen around Ballycumber" who has died of cancer.
However, it is Nicholas's own advice to Evans, summed up in "You couldn't be trusting a girl like that to look after you" , that sows the seeds of the play's own immediate tragedy. Evans leaves a note saying that "Nicholas Farquhar knows" why, when the young lad shoots himself in the stomach. The focus turns on Nicholas. The gentle Andrew Stafford, Evans's father, wants to know, while Evans still struggles for life, what had Nicholas said to his son that caused him to do this. Nicholas's own sister, Tania, also wants to know. She becomes the bearer of bad news that Evans has died. She further wants to know "was there anything amiss" between Nicholas and Evans, recalling a shopkeeper whose wife had to lock up their three sons "so he couldn't get at them". For Nicholas this is too much.
He has ghosts in his head. One is the wee girl who died of cancer. Another is his dead mother to whom he cries in his grief. The wee girl (who sang the Heartbreak Hotel song) comforts him from time to time. Evans becomes another ghost, visiting him with a strange tale of how he was looking for the girl with the greenie blue eyes, found her (now her name was Casey) but just when they were enjoying each other's company, a band of men attacked him, pinned him down and shot him in the stomach.
The cast is star-studded. The writing has a strong hint of Synge. The portrayals, especially of Nicholas and Evans, were memorable. So, I have been asking myself: Why was it not a very satisfying theatre experience for me?
Part of the answer is probably that it was a first night pre-view, some characters were not fully prepared, some sentences were lost, some voices very weak. Another reason may be the denseness of the text, the difficulty of listening to long tales without any action. The cyclorama failed to convey the atmosphere it was intended to convey. The direction (on that first night) may have lacked subtlety. There was little movement on stage. People spoke mostly from a standing or sitting position. The stage itself looked unbelievably small and odd. Most of all I think it was the daffodils (which unnecessarily smothered the stage) that made me uncomfortable.
On the positive side, what a brilliant idea to have the full text of the play published in the official programme. This affords you an opportunity to compare what you heard with what you see and to try to tackle the unanswered questions of the play.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Among the groups against acceptance are Irish Friends of Palestine Against Lisbon who have created the above poster. The imaginative logo has also, in the form of a boat been sailing on two Irish rivers over the past weeks.
But in Galway a human rights activist, Tommy Donnelan, who was displaying the poster on the public street, was arrested by Gardaí after two Israeli tourists lodged complaints. Yesterday in Dublin, another human rights activist, Seán Clinton was arrested, handcuffed, detained and photographed while in detention, because he had first displayed the poster outside the Israeli Embassy and later, after a compromise with Dublin City Council tried to erect a smaller version of the same poster in its place.
It emerged that the instigator of the complaint this time was the Israeli Embassy in Dublin and both Gardaí and DCC had to bend to the Embassy's will.
It appears that the powerful message on the poster reminding people of the slaughter by Israel of 300 children in Gaza , and the European Union's lack of back-bone in failing to take Israel to task for this atrocity by imposing sanctions, was too much for the Ambassador of Israel to stomach.
It was easier for Ambassador Dr Zion Evrony to stomach the IDF killing of children in Gaza than the poster recalling the killings outside his Embassy in Dublin.
But what can be said of the Irish State that disallows freedom of expression in Ireland in the run-up to a referendum but engages in active repression and arrest of citizens who exercise their right to that freedom? A disgraced State (Ireland) is hell-bent on forcing Lisbon on its citizens whether we like it or not.
(The logo on the poster states: "Israel killed over 300 children in January - yet the EU will not impose sanctions EU policy facilitates Israeli genocide Vote NO to Lisbon"
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Niall Harnett, an Irish supporter of the campaign to stop Shell from building a refinery on land in Mayo, has been jailed for his non-violent civil disobedience.
In a disgracefully harsh sentence he received two consecutive periods of four months, making a total of eight months, in the squalid and remote Castlerea prison, where he has already spent 16 days.
In Ireland, even for violent offenders, sentences for two or more alleged offences, are almost invariably concurrent, meaning that innumerable sentences are all rolled up in one. Not so for this brave non-violent young man who has challenged the status quo, Shell and the State that sold out its natural resources in Mayo waters to Shell for nothing!
Niall's non-violent stand is too principled for the State to countenance. A Government minister had given away the people's ownership of our natural resources off the Mayo Coast and the people got nothing back in return. Then the Shell consortium proceeded to do what they wished in Mayo until the"Shell to Sea" campaign was set up to oppose them.
Five locals were jailed for contempt and spent 94 days in jail.
Another local, Maura Harrington, has been jailed three times, (see previous post) but this last time received bail. Niall's bail was too severe for him to accept on principle as it would keep him away from the scene of the action.
The Garda Síochána, the police force of the Irish State, often work hand in hand with Shell security police and have sometimes assaulted the protestors. No prosecutions have been made because of these assaults although some were shown on RTE News.
Niall comes to Dublin to appeal against the severity of his bail conditions on Monday, August 17th.
On Sunday August 16th, Ezra Nawi will stand trial for his beliefs in Israel. This is not the first time that Ezra Nawi stands trial for his beliefs. But it is the first time that they will probably be able to stop him.
He has been harassed and targeted throughout the years, because, he believes, he embodies three elements which provoke bigotry in the Israeli society: He is a homosexual, he is a Mizrahi Jew, and he devotes all of his time to fighting for the human rights of Arab Palestinians.
In his own words:
I always knew that many people silently supported me, and that if I ever got into trouble they would stand behind me. This moment has come.
Ezra adds: I am a simple person. I did what my heart told me to do. Looking back, I know that what my friends and I have done is changing the harsh reality of the occupation in the whole area of south Hebron. I feel that now the Israeli authorities are punishing me on a personal level.
I would like to believe that my personal adversity will inspire and motivate individuals to actively oppose the occupation.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
Work was further delayed on the highly controversial Shell project by a five-member lock-on team, arms bound together with cement sleeves. The total delay time was estimated at 12 hours.
Because the Irish Government gave away the rights of the Mayo oil field for nothing to a Shell led consortium and Shell bull-dozed their way over private property, bird sanctuaries, and through land owned by others, there has been local, national and international protest. A vibrant and heroic Shell-to-Sea protest group have made it difficult at every turn for Shell to realise their pipe dream.
The State and Shell are not happy. As a result of Sunday's action nine people have been charged but even while in prison on remand a Judge Devins put out warrants for the arrests of some of them.
One protestor received a vicious wound on the hand and arm from a Garda, a note-taker was deprived of note-book, a number were arrested for crossing the road.
Read an exciting account of the whole episode with brilliant pictures here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/92918
United States Ambassador to Ireland
Dear Ambassador Dan Rooney
Welcome to Ireland.
I have been listening to a small bit of the interview you gave to RTE 1 this (Saturday) morning and as you will be hearing from me from time to time, I thought it would be appropriate to begin by saying Céad Míle Fáilte.
There are issues which I wish to raise but let me first say that whether or not President Barack Obama intends to come to Ireland on an official visit is not one of them. Of course, should he come there is no doubt that he would be welcome. But there are more important issues in the world than the US President visiting Ireland.
These are some of these issues:
1. The United States of America under George W Bush has brought itself shame and disgrace in its acceptance of the lie that there were "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq and the ensuing "shock and awe" massacre inflicted on that country's inhabitants. Reparation is overdue.
2. Even before Mr Bush's disastrous Presidency, Bill Clinton's USA administration had caused the deaths of a half million children under five, also in Iraq, through unjust and wholly unnecessary sanctions. Madeline Albright's infamous reply to a question on this matter was that she thought the price was worth it. Reparation is overdue.
3. The sympathy garnered worldwide because of the infamous bombing of the Twin Towers evaporated because of the actions of George W Bush.
4. The present policy of President Obama of "pursuing Osama Bin Laden" by bombing Afghanistan (January 23, June 18 and June 23 as well as several less well reported attacks) and Pakistan is wrong and counter-productive. It is more important to realise that it is wrong. All bombing should end.
5. Ireland's civil Shannon Airport is being used by the US military to wage this war in Afghanistan, which violates Irish neutrality. . On this question, the Irish Government is out of step with the people. 130,000 marched in Dublin against the war in Iraq, yet the then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, granted George Bush the use of Shannon for war purposes. A Dublin jury acquitted five peace activists who prevented a plane from going to Iraq (and their decision was unanimous). The US should stop using Shannon as a military conduit now.
6. The US policy towards Israel has been disastrous, giving massive amounts of dollars without strings attached for military aid to a State (Israel)that occupies its neighbour Palestine, a State (Israel) that is guilty of flagrant human rights abuses against the people of Palestine, a State (Israel) that carried out a massacre in Gaza as recently as December/January last, a State (Israel) that violently attacks peaceful demonstrators on a weekly basis in villages like Bil'in and Nil'in, often wounding and sometimes killing unarmed and peaceful demonstrators at these demonstrations.
The US has not opposed Israel's secret nuclear arsenal and its disgraceful lack of inspection by the IAEA, at the same time that israel was denying liberty to speak or to leave Israel to Mordechai Vanunu, the whistle-blower who told the world about Israel's ugly secret. Vanunu spent 17 and a half years in prison, (eleven in solitary confinement), was freed from prison in April 2004 and has been confined to Israel since then under draconian conditions. It is sad that the IAEA were at that very time funking to examine Israel's nuclear stockpile in Dimona but were stalled in Tel Aviv plotting with the Israelis to keep tabs on Vanunu.
As you know, at present, the aid boat for Gaza, Spirit of Humanity, with its 21 international peace activists has been seized by Israel, all the passengers held in prison, including US and Irish citizens.
Among those peace activists, now prisoners, is Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire who was herself, on a previous visit, gassed and wounded by a direct hit from an IDF soldier at a peaceful demonstration against the Wall in Bil'in.
The patent fear of all recent US Presidents to talk straight to Israel was at its peak during the Bush Administration but, in spite of hopes to the contrary, much has not changed since President Obama came to power. Particularly disappointing has been the failure of George Mitchell to enter Gaza and see for himself the devastation that has recently been visited on the people there.
President Obama has rightly spoken out against the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators in Iran but he has not spoken out against the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators in Israel. And isn't it ironic that the demonstrations in Iran were because of an election and election results that may not have been free and fair?
The President's recent speech in Cairo, while broadly welcome and unbiased, had one crucial element missing. It went along with the lie that no free and fair elections had been held in Palestine, that Hamas are not the legitimate rulers of the country since 2006, that Israel should not talk to Hamas not even in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority (Fatah), who were defeated by Hamas in the same elections.
The crucial paragraph in the President's speech was this:
"The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israel's right to exist."
This was a de facto recognition of the Israeli and Bush position that fair and free elections in Palestine were not to be recognized - because of who won them. This is a total abnegation of the rights of a people and an attack on the democratic process. It was saying that Fatah (Israel's choice) rather than Hamas (the people's choice) are the legitimate rulers of Palestine - free and fair election results to the contrary notwithstanding.
It was also a one-sided and biased comment in that it called on Hamas alone to put an end to violence. Israel was not called on to renounce violence, nor Fatah. That was simply endorsing Israeli policy and parroting an Israeli tune.
The comment also ignored the fact that, on many recent occasions, Hamas has asked Israel for peace talks saying that it does recognise Israel's right to exist.
How can the President know of Hamas's point of view, unfiltered by an Israeli presentation of it, without engaging directly with Hamas?
In football parlance, Israel has not been playing according to the rules of the game and the US, as self-appointed referee, is not enforcing those rues, instead turning a blind eye to the Israeli foul play.
Is the United States afraid of Israel and if so, why?
The US should end its present blind policy of support for Israel no matter what heinous crimes she carries out. All military aid should stop and efforts towards peace and justice should be initiated with the full participation of Israel, Hamas and Fatah.
The above are by no means the only issues that concern me but I think you will agree that for the moment they are sufficient.
With best personal wishes for a long, happy and fruitful stay in Ireland
Pacifist and Human Rights activist
Thursday, 28 May 2009
On May 15th last my friend Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, was detained by Home Security in the new Obamaland that is the USA
She was returning from Guatemala where she was attending a Women's Conference hosted by women Nobel Laureates.
According to a press release from the Free Gaza Movement, she was pressurized to tick a box that stated she was a criminal! The news came late and I have contacted Mairead for further details.
We have been hoping against hope that President Barack Obama would change the soul of the American administration from the evil ghost it had become under George W Bush and Bill Clinton.
Is hope still alive? Is the President a kind of Pope John XXIII, gagged and hindered from doing what he wants to do by Congress and sinister powers that can control Congress?
Are his disastrous and murderous incursions into Afghanistan a sop to those powers before he feels strong enough to bring all the troops home?
It is a dire prospect that he would gamble with lives and human rights like this.
And this is the better of two terrible scenarios
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
She had already spent 28 days in the notorious prison, a sentence which began on 11 March last. On that occasion, Judge Mary Devins, wife of a Fianna Fail Junior Minister in the Irish Government, ordered that she receive a psychiatric examination.
MAURA HARRINGTON story
Wikipedia's entry says: "Maura Harrington (born 15 September 1953) is a spokeswoman for the Shell to Sea campaign, from County Mayo, Ireland. A recently retired school principal, on 9 September 2008 she began a hunger strike in protest at the arrival of the Solitaire, an Allseas pipe-laying ship assisting Royal Dutch Shell's Corrib gas project. The strike took place at the gates of the Shell compound in Glengad in Erris, in her car. It ended after the ship left Ireland for repairs.
"Harrington was previously involved in fundraising for the British Miners' Strike.
"On 11 November 2006, Harrington was hospitalised after a baton-charge by Garda Síochána at Bellanaboy left her with head injuries.
"No-one was charged with the assault.
"She appeared in Belmullet District Court on 8 October 2008 accused of a public order offence related to her "lunging" towards President Mary McAleese at the official opening of a civic centre in Belmullet in April 2007. In March 2009, she was found guilty of this charge. She was also found guilty of assaulting a Garda during a fracas which saw several protesters injured. For this, she was given a sentence of 28 days imprisonment, fined and bound to keep the peace for 12 months, though she refused to pay the fine or sign the bond. The judge in the case, Mary Devins, also directed Harrington to receive a psychiatric assessment due to what she described as her "bizarre" behaviour.
"Harrington denied both charges, and refused to give evidence in protest after Judge Devins refused to allow video evidence of the incident of the assault to be shown".
MATTER RAISED IN SEANAD BY SENATOR DAVID NORRIS
On 12 March 2009, Senator David Norris raised the matter of Maura's imprisonment, and the Judge's comments and order, in the Irish Seanad.
Senator David Norris: "I ask for a debate on the Corrib gas field. I do so in light of my considerable concern at the jailing of Ms Maura Harrington and the process which led to it.
"A former Minister of the Government gave this field away for nothing. The Minister concerned was subsequently jailed in the wake of a corruption scandal. He gave it away to Shell, one of the worst polluters and one of the most avid multinationals. It has been involved in incidents of pollution and was deeply implicated in the judicial murder of Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa. It literally got away with murder in Kenya and there have been explosions in many other places where it has oil terminals.
"I am concerned about this and would be very sorry if, after the Garda having been enlisted on behalf of a multinational, the courts system would begin to play a role in this matter.
"Judges are above criticism, apparently, and we cannot even ask questions about their remuneration. They are immune from cuts. I am concerned when judges feel free to comment widely on the personality traits of somebody they are sentencing, this is not a judicial matter.
"She then referred Ms. Harrington for psychiatric examination in addition to jailing her for 28 days. Are we returning to eastern Europe? Is it an attempt to use psychiatry to control political expression? This is terribly dangerous territory."
Sunday, 12 April 2009
You can find it at http://antibullyingireland.nfshost.com/
The host is NFS, standing for "Nearly Free Speech".
Anti-Bullying Ireland offers free help and advice to victims of bullying, to schools and Boards of Management and other bodies responsible for setting up anti-bullying programmes.
It also contains a full description of the Box and Interview Method to Prevent Bullying in Irish schools.
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Described as a hawk even compared to the trio of Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni - all the architects of the abominable holocaust of Gaza over the Christmas period 2008-2009,- Mr Netanyahu in his first speech to Parliament spoke ambiguously of seeking "full peace" with the Arab and Muslim world but then added "Under the permanent status agreement,the Palestinians will have all the authority to rule themselves".
"Authority" is the important word here, implying a Palestinian Authority but never a Palestinian State.
Stephen Gutkin of AP remarks that his comments appeared to hark back to a decades-old notion that peace could be achieved through limited Palestinian autonomy. Gutkin also dismisses the idea that Mr Netanyahu is redy to soften his position on this issue but rather is saying enough "to curry favour with the West". http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090331/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_politics;_ylt=
Every new Prime Minister needs a short time in which to show his true metal. If this Prime Minister has any idea of the well-spring of animosity against Israel that has sprung up around the world in the wake of the latest atrocities in Gaza, he should be wise to consider the implementation of justice toward the Palestinians.
He should stop the ruthless ongoing robbery of Palestinian land, end the occupation, talk to the elected Parliament of Hamas which he refuses to recognize, squarely face up to all past injustices perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians, settle to their satisfaction the burning question of the right to return and recognize Palestine as a sovereign State.
Friday, 27 March 2009
During his ten year tenure I was present in the audience only on one occasion. Although the content was mediocre there was a buzz in the auditorium helped on by a warm-up that was just too rehearsed. There was also a portion that was to appear on a later show; obviously this part was not live. Afterwards the host was friendly to all comers for a bit of a chat.
Pat Kenny was never able to fill the shoes of Gay Byrne. He could never relax with a guest and was invariably not listening to a reply but focused on his own next question. His nervousness carried over to the interval after a band or singer had performed. The applause for the performance was always cut out with a hand admonishing the audience to be quiet for his next announcement. By contrast, Gay Byrne would sit back smiling in the direction of the performers for as long as the applause lasted, letting them enjoy their moment of glory and adding his own comments of praise when the applause had died down.
On Radio however he is an able performer just as Gay Byrne was and still is. He is also a genial person to talk to. The TV chat show was just not Pat's medium.
There was no explanation given on the Show for his decision to quit except that he and his family had decided that they wanted to spend Friday nights at home.
Coming so soon after John Bowman's announcement that he will no longer present his own Monday night programme "Questions and Answers" on RTE 1, the question that immediately arose was: Were these two presenters pushed in any way or did they really want to go themselves.
We will wait and see.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
30 December 2008
(published in the Irish Times)
Madam, - Permit me to express outrage at the inhuman attacks by Israel against Gaza that have resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives and injuries to many hundreds more.
Also please permit me to add my condemnation of the lies emanating from Messrs Olmert, Barak, Ms Levine and other Israeli spokespersons, including the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, concerning the origin of, and the alleged necessity for, this murderous assault even while they continue to escalate it.
I commend the forthright condemnation of Israel's action by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mícheál Martin. It would be even better if, with the full backing of all Opposition parties, the Government shut down the Israeli Embassy because of this atrocity. - Yours, etc,
(2)GAZA ATROCITY WILL HAPPEN AGAIN
(published in the Irish Independent)
20 January 2009
Hamas and Israel have agreed to a truce that may allow children to sleep in Israel and Gaza. In Israel, there will be no need to run to shelters.
In Gaza, parents can collect the tangled bodies, blasted heads and torn-apart limbs of their own little ones from the hospitals without fear of being themselves blown to similar pieces there, or along the way.
We should be grateful for small mercies. Only the cynical will be unhappy. Only the cynical will be afraid.
And only the cynical will know that this respite is not out of mercy or feelings of humanity but timed accurately by a rogue state that appears to have gone mad with power and patronage.
The cynical know of this because some brave citizens of that rogue state, to whom we should be forever grateful, have spoken openly against its disgraceful treatment of Palestinians in general and in particular of its war crimes these past horrendous weeks in the tiny strip of Gaza.
Israel's now disgraced leaders rush their last troops from Gaza, hours before the demise of the reviled Presidency of George W Bush sets in, two continents away from the awful action.
There is no doubt about it: a holocaust has been perpetrated on the population of the caged-in population of Gaza and no-one was able to prevent it.
There is also little doubt that a state which has perpetrated such a holocaust weeks before an election in Israel, if it gets away with it now, will repeat the process whenever it feels that it is necessary.
No major international power, neither the EU nor the UN or USA, was willing or able to take any serious action, or even disapprove.
Our own country has so far not seen fit to expel the Israeli ambassador who has been allowed, all through this sad and sorry period, to use the Irish media to express his opinions, repeatedly, ad nauseam, mostly unchallenged and usually in defiance of facts.
I again request our government to take that step.
(3)ISRAELI OFFENSIVE AGAINST GAZA
29 January 2009
(Published in the Irish Times)
Madam, – The letter of January 22nd from Katrina Goldstone and seven others, Jewish or of Jewish descent, was welcome as it was courageous. The recent Israeli attack on Gaza – they accurately describe as a massacre – cannot be justified by Israel’s alleged “security concerns”.
It has long been particularly difficult for Jewish people or people of Jewish extraction to criticise the state of Israel. The point was made tellingly by the (Jewish) president of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, on January 23rd.
In blaming himself and other Jews in the US for having remained silent on Gaza, he remarked: “Some of our hesitation to act results from the condemnation and opprobrium anyone, but especially Jews, encounter with even mild criticisms of Israel”
We have listened for four weeks to the outpouring of that opprobrium and condemnation against Irish citizens. – Yours, etc,
NOTE: The last letter above was curtailed by the Editor. The full version is here:
The letter by Katrina Goldstone and seven of her fellows, Jews or of Jewish descent in Ireland, was welcome as it was courageous. (IT 23 January 2009) The recent attack on Gaza by the State of Israel which they accurately describe as a "massacre" can never be justified, and it is not justified by Israel's alleged "security concerns".
It is refreshing and reassuring to find these eight humane people give the lie to much of the Israeli spin that has been woven without intermission throughout that shocking and shameful episode and beyond.
It appears that for long it has been particularly difficult for Jewish people or people of Jewish extraction to criticise the State of Israel. The point was made tellingly by the (Jewish) President of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, on 23 January last.
Mr Ratner, in blaming himself and other Jews in the USA for having until then remained silent on Gaza, remarks: "Some of our hesitation to act results from the condemnation and opprobrium anyone, but especially Jews, encounter with even mild criticisms of Israel"
We have listened for four weeks to the outpouring of that opprobrium and condemnation against Irish citizens and, inevitably, Ms Goldstone and friends were confronted by Drs David Abrahamson, Leonard W Abrahamson and Mr Stephen Molins. (IT, 26January and 27 January.)
The latter two of these eminent gentlemen in particular are able to leap-frog over three weeks of cynical and barbaric killing by Israel in Gaza, giving us patronising lectures instead about their "concern" re media fairness and, outrage of all outrages, how Hamas is to blame for the massacre carried out by Israel in Gaza.
Against such cynicism, the humane Katrina Goldstone and her fellows can, I presume, only gnash their teeth in disbelief
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
The following letter was sent to Senator Harkin via e-mail but I got a notice two days later saying that it had not been delivered. Here's hoping that the Senator might be able to read this slightly edited version now.
Story of the occupation and video at:
TO: Senator Tom Harkin, Des Moines, Iowa, USA
I support the action of the protestors who occupied your office lately in gentle and prayerful protest at your silence on the massacre of so many human beings in Gaza by the Israeli Defence Forces and the many other atrocities perpetrated by Israel on the Palestinian people over more than forty years of occupation with massive help from the US.
Why is the US media hiding the truth about Israel, Gaza and the West Bank from the American people?
From being a victim during the Holocaust years , the Israeli State has turned its own people there into aggressors who use unbelievable cruelty towards Palestinians.
Many in Israel now believe that they are a master race just as in Hitler's Germany Arians were made to believe that they were superior.
Only last year outside Dublin's GPO, when I noticed an altercation between a pro-Palestinian group and a lone young Israeli who had pulled the table cloth from under their leaflets, I heard him say as he walked away: "That's all you can do - abuse people, not engage in dialogue."
As he passed by me I said to him quietly "I will engage in dialogue with you"
He then told me that he had been in the IDF, had killed "Arabs", was proud of it and was going back to kill more. He said that God and Abraham had given all of Israel to his people. When I countered some of these points, he stood back and said;
"I am superior to you because I am a Jew and you are only a Gentile"
At least 1330 Palestinians were murdered from the sky and on the ground in the tiny cage of Gaza since Christmas Day. Uri Avnery, an Israeli patriot and former member of the Israeli Knesset believes that this time was chosen, partly because George W Bush was still in power, partly because Western politicians were on holidays and they would not interrupt their holidays for Gaza.
GAZA - I fear that you may not even know what has been happening there. I was struck by the words of one of your protestors who said that her money had paid for what had happened to the children who were murdered.
GAZA - the word will always remind you of the protest in your office but the word will in future years ring out as a damning condemnation of all who were in power in the USA at this time and did not lift a finger to prevent this massacre.
GAZA - PLEASE REMEMBER THAT PEOPLE ARE STILL SUFFERING THERE. The US fiddles while Gaza burns.
Also remember that it is a slander to pretend, as some of your supporters have been doing, that these pacifist protestors are supporters of the violence of Hamas.
It is important not to shirk the truth that, whether you or others like it or not, HAMAS is the elected Government of the Palestinian people, elected in democratic elections. For any solution to the problem of Palestine and Israel, HAMAS must be a player.
That does not mean that those of us who say this are supporters of terror. I am a pacifist and abhor terror. I am not a supporter of HAMAS but a supporter of human rights and an advocate against all violence and injustice.
But you support Israel, and I must ask do you also support, either purposely or through default, the continual State terror of that political and military establishment?
With best personal wishes
Monday, 2 March 2009
Mordechai, the nuclear whistle blower, spent seventeen and a half years in Ashkelon prison and was released on 21 April 2004. However, he was immediately served with crippling conditions including a ban on speaking to foreigners and a ban on all travel outside the borders of Israel.
As about 100 international supporters were outside the gates of Ashkelon to greet him he was going to have to break the ban on speaking to foreigners on that very first day, which he did.
I was among the supporters and wrote an account of that memorable day and night on Indymedia Ireland. See https://www.indymedia.ie/article/64579.
The State of Israel has continued to harass him in the following five years and has consistently refused calls from many quarters to allow him to leave Israel as he wishes to do and be truly free. In this they are in direct and open conflict with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 13 and 19. But, as with the recent invasion of Gaza, Israel appears to be a law unto itself and cares not a jot for what the UN, the EU, the USA or any others within the International community demands of it. These bodies continue to cosset Israel without receiving anything from Israel in return.
Below is a copy of Mordechai's letter
Dear Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo,
I am Vanunu Mordechai, who has been nominated several times to Nobel Peace Prize, also this year’s 2009 award.
I am asking the committee to remove my name from the list for this year’s list of nominations.
My main reason for this is that I cannot be part of a list of laureates that includes Shimon Peres. He is the man who was behind all the Israeli atomic policy.
Peres established and developed the atomic weapon program in Dimona in Israel. Exactly like Dr. Khan did in Pakistan, Peres was the man behind the atomic weapon proliferation to South Africa and other states. He was also, for instance, behind the nuclear weapon test in South Africa in 1978.
Peres was the man who ordered the kidnapping of me in Italy Rome, Sept. 30, 1986, and for the secret trial and sentencing of me as a spy and traitor for 18 years in isolation in prison in Israel.
Until now he continues to oppose my freedom and release, in spite of my serving full sentence 18 years.
From all these reasons I don’t want be nominated and will not accept this nomination. I say
No to any nomination as long as I am not free, that is, as long as I am still forced to be in Israel.
FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM IS WHAT I WANT .
FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM I NEED NOW
VANUNU MORDECHAI J C.
KIDNAPPED IN ROME SEP' 30 TH'-1986.
AFTER 18 YEARS IN ISRAEL PRISON.
Waiting In East Jerusalem.To Be Free,To Leave.
Mobile ( 9 7 2 ) 0 5 2 3 7 4 4 5 6 9.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Exit polls from Israel show that Ehud Barak and his Labour party may not have gained the votes he expected from the massacre he carried out in Gaza. His Labour Party may have lost up to seven seats.
Tzipi Livni's macho support for, and ultimate responsibility for, that massacre may have boosted her chances of retaining power as her party, Kadima, leads the predicted seat count with 29 seats and 80% of the votes counted. There is no change in her party's' situation.
Ultra hawk, Benjamin Netyanyahu's Likud Party may have gained sixteen, leaving him in second place with 28 seats
Avigdor Leiberman's Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Homeland) Party may have gained five seats bringing his total to 16 while Shas may lose one seat to still hold 11.
Gil (The Pensioners Party) appears to be losing heavily and may not retain any of its seven seats.
Other parties, including the Arab United Front remain more or less the same. The Greens have not made a breakthrough.
Despite Barak's losses, the eighteenth Knesset will not differ greatly from the seventeenth. The old Parliament had a coalition powered by Kadima (Livni) and Labour (Barak). No matter what array of parties forms the new Government of Israel, Kadima and Labour or Likud, Yisrael Beitienu and Shas?) it will still be composed largely of parties and people who perpetrated, supported, incited and excused the recent holocaust in Gaza.
They are like blood-soaked peas in a pod.
Will any party or individual break the cycle of arrogance and violence that characterizes the present Knesset in Israel?
"The reason they do it (Gaza massacre) now is because of the elections (within) two months and our so-called leaders want to guarantee themselves more votes" - Omer Goldman, member of the Israeli Shministim, daughter of former Mossad agent (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QTHzhyvnMY)
The 17th Knesset
Kadima 29 Labor Party 19 Shas 12 Likud 12 Yisrael Beiteinu 11 Jewish Home and National Union 9 Gil 7 United Torah Judaism 6 Meretz 5 United Arab List–Ta'al 4 Hadash 3 Balad 3 The Greens 0
Latest results for 18th Knesset (80% counted) (source:http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1061917.html)
Kadima (Tzipi Livni) 29 (No change), Likud (Benjamin Netanyahu) 28 (+16), , Labour (Ehud Barak) 12 (-7) Yisrael Beiteinu (Avigdor Leiberman) 16 (+5) Shas (Eli Yishai) 11 (-1), United Torah Judaism (Yaakov Litzman) 4 (-2) Meretz (Haim Oron ("Jumes")) 4 (-1) Jewish Home (Rabbi Daniel Hershkovitz) 3, National Union (Ya'akov Katz) 4, (JH and NU, -2) Gil (Rafi Eitan) 0/1, (-6/7) Meretz (Chaim Oron) 4 (-1) United Arab List (Ibrahim Sarsur) T'al (Ahmad Tibi and Mahmud Asad.), Hadash (Mohammad Barakeh), 4 (+1), Balad (Jamal Zahalka) 2 (-1) Greens (Pe'er Visner) 0 (no change)
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Yesterday she addressed the question. She did not say that the State of Israel went in and murdered 1300 and injured 5000 near defenceless people in the Strip of Gaza which they had weakened by siege. She did not say that Israel had refused to accept the democratic elections in Palestine (2006) which removed Fatah from power and elected the rival Hamas political party in their place.
She did not say: "For shame on the administration of George W Bush who said he was spreading democracy around the world, yet when elections were held in Palestine, internationally monitored and declared to have been free and fair, he did not condemn Israel for refusing to recognize the democratic process. In fact, the USA also refused to recognize the election results. For shame on the USA. We will be different."
No, Hilary did not say that as any true democrat should have done.
Nor did she chide Israel for lying again about their pretext for the savage murders in Gaza of men women and children. She did not tell the world that the propaganda from Israel that Hamas had been the first to break the truce was a blatant lie. For the truce had been well and truly broken by the State of Israel on the night of 4 November 2008 when the IDF crossed the border and killed five Palestinians on Gaza soil. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/05/israelandthepalestinians
Instead, she said: "We support Israel's right to self-defence. The (Palestinian) rocket barrages which are getting closer and closer to populated areas cannot go unanswered.”
Then she went on to give substance to a new lie, namely that the present truce was also broken first by Hamas. This lie has been presented in various media although there had been an Israeli attack on a fisherman's boat days before the death of the Israeli soldier and the Palestinian man to whom she referred.
Ignoring this, and always mentioning a killing by Hamas first, Mrs Clinton "blamed Hamas for the death of an Israeli soldier on the Gaza border yesterday and the subsequent killing of a Palestinian man by Israeli forces", according to the Irish Times report.
Hilary Clinton is no Barack Obama but she could be the tail that wags the dog. Just as the State of Israel has been the tail wagging the USA dog for many decades.
It all adds up to little hope for a fair and just peace for Palestine and Israel.
Monday, 26 January 2009
First published in Indymedia Ireland 3 January 2009
Dear Ambassador Dr. Zion Evrony,
Further to my telephone call to your office this morning I wish to reiterate some of the points which I made in the conversation with your secretary, and to elaborate on them a little further.
1. I am sick to the teeth of the lies you are telling on RTE and in the Irish media about what is happening in Gaza. Israel has killed over 400 people there on the pretext that a cease-fire had been broken unilaterally by Hamas. You know this is not true.
2. You said that Israel is trying to avoid civilian casualties but that Hamas use their civilians as shields for Hamas soldiers. You know that this is not true. Gaza is smaller in area than our smallest County, Louth, and is over-populated with 1.4 million people, before your country reduced the population with murder from the sky.
3. Your Army invaded Gaza prior to an election and in the interregnum between the Presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. You kill over 400, injure over 1000 and promise more killings and injuries. And you blame Hamas for all of these killings and injuries. You know that it is not true that Hamas are to blame for your murders. You, the State of Israel and the IDF, are to blame for the people you kill and injure, no one else but you.
4. You said the upcoming elections had nothing to do with the massacre in Gaza. You know that this is not true. On the eve of the election you deliberately provoked a barrage of rockets from Hamas, even though you knew it would put Israeli lives in danger because you also knew that the Hamas response would give you a pretext to wreak havoc on Gaza and make it appear that it was Hamas' fault.
5. You and other Israeli propagandists keep repeating ad nauseam on RTE and in articles in the Irish Times the question: "What would you do, if you lived in Sderot or Ashkelon and your children had to run from constant rocket fire?" But you never ask the countering questions: "What would you do if you lived in Gaza, besieged by an Israel that denied the legitimacy of your democratically elected Parliament, and where Israel,a hostile power, has ultimate control over every aspect of your life? What would you do when this hostile power has the fourth or fifth most powerful army in the world, complete even with a nuclear arsenal, when it "agrees" to a truce (good public relations) that it breaks at will (no-one will notice the "small" incursions and killings of Palestinians)? What would you do if Israel invaded your little plot of land, murdering men, women and children, including many civilians, from the sky? Would you take your children and run to the sea (there is no other escape in Gaza) or would you think "This is a war against me and my children" and would you resist in whatever way you could?"
6. Do you think that all of the Irish people are stupid enough to believe your propaganda, no matter how often it is repeated?
7. Though not mentioned this morning, your Government has lied about the Israeli navy ramming the Dignity in international waters. The Dignity was carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza and had two Irish citizens on board. I protest against this action also and strongly condemn it
8. As a result of the war crimes which the IDF/Israel has committed in the Gaza Strip and in Palestine, I believe that our Government should call you in, advise you to leave and shut down the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge.
I have already written to Minister Mícheál Martin making this precise request.
With best personal wishes
2 January 2009
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
I protest against the relentless, most cruel and savage bombing and invasion of Gaza which you have carried out and continue to carry out against the will of the peoples of the world, in spite of international condemnation which is growing in intensity at every hour. At every hour too your aggression is defying all comprehension in its pure evil. Do you not even care about the children that your soldiers are blowing into pieces?
On TV and in the press you defend your flagrant killing of defenceless people in Gaza, no matter how horrendous and bloody the killing. Your spokesperson from the IDF lies through her smiling teeth after every new and fearsome atrocity. All of you are guilty of war crimes.
It is a disgrace of the highest magnitude that the Governments of the world are cosseting and pampering you while you ride roughshod over the people of Palestine whom you have divided, in order to conquer and obliterate them.
You, Ehud Olmert, you, Ehud Barak, you Tzipi Livni are all war criminals. All of those who planned and now support these horrific killings in Gaza are also war criminals. As some decent people of Israel have said, you are compelling your own young soldiers to be guilty of war crimes.
For your own selfish reasons, to win popularity before the forthcoming elections , you are teaching them how to murder and then forcing them to murder people who are stuck in the cage of Gaza which you have locked and sealed. There are credible reports now emerging that you had planned this atrocity for six months and that you hope it will help you to gain control over the off-shore gas belonging to Palestine. You are the real murderers. You are killing children and stealing the goodness and virtue away from the hearts of your own children.
When the Germans were murdering Jews in Europe there was no Internet and people like myself could not protest against it. Now the shoe is on the other foot, you are the aggressors, the Internet is there and I, a pacifist, a human rights activist, and above all a human being, call upon you in the name of whatever or whoever you believe in to stop murdering people. Stop murdering children, stop acting the bully, stop the massacre, stop the New Holocaust.
At the present time your apologists give the impression of supreme arrogance. They repeat the same lies, over and over again, gaining continual access almost at will to the world's media. When the lies are uncovered, they are nevertheless repeated in different parts of the world by countless spokespersons, while others of your lobby of propagandists complain and whinge, like so many Uriah Heeps, that your side of the story is not being heard.
But the lying propaganda of tyrants wins only temporary and Pyrrhic victories. Where is the legacy of Joseph Goebbels today? Your imitation of the Nazi persecutors of your fathers can only lead you and your children into a similar ignoble oblivion. Is that what you wish for yourselves and for your children?
Through this letter from one human being, I call on the Government of my own country, Ireland, to expel your ambassador, Zion Evrony. I call on all other Governments to expel your Ambassadors from their own countries and to deny you all the special privileges you have been granted until you come to your senses, look at the carnage you are creating and realize that we, the people of the world, will not tolerate the savagery of your actions against defenceless and hapless civilians.
I call on you who are still fellow humans to end this new and already infamous Holocaust of Gaza, to lift the siege of Gaza, to end your occupation of the whole of Palestine, to stop stealing land for your settlers, to recognize the rights of Palestinians to their own homeland from which you once ousted them, to treat Palestinians as humans with equal rights to yours.
I call on you to put your humanity before the politics of the forthcoming elections. otherwise, you may win the elections but lose your humanity.
If you don't care about your own humanity, have regard for the humanity of your children. Many of them, many in your own households, are crying out against your actions, your own children are calling these actions war crimes, they do not want you to murder other children. They are shouting to you, even as you throw them into jail for doing so:
"COME WHAT MAY WE WILL NEVER ENGAGE IN VIOLENCE".
Are you totally deaf to these profound words of wisdom?
With best personal wishes