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Plans by GAAW to Desecrate Liam Mellowes Statue

category galway | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday January 28, 2008 11:55author by saoirse - Republican Sinn Feinauthor email saoirse at iol dot ieauthor address 223 Parnell St Dublin 1author phone 01 8729747 Report this post to the editors

Statement by Tomas Ó Curraoin.

Republican Sinn Fein oppose plans by GAAW to draped orange jumpsuit on Liam Mellowes statue.

Republican Sinn Féin came out in opposition to the plans of the Galway Alliance Against War to drape Liam Mellowes Statue in an orange jumpsuit at a demonstration on Saturday January 26. RSF spokesperson, Tomas Ó Curraoin, said that it was: “a shameful insult to the memory of a brave Irishman, who gave his life for the freedom of his country, for his statue to be treated in this way.

“The war in Iraq is wrong, and Republican Sinn Féin, along with many others in Galway, have opposed this war from the start, and deplore the treatment of the prisoners in Guantanomo. However, desecrating the statue of Liam Mellowes, a man who suffered in prison and was executed without trial, for the freedom of his country, is just a cheap and shameful stunt, and should be opposed by all Galway people,” said Tomas Ó Curraoin.

author by Barry - 32 csmpublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Draping a symbolic cloth over a statue in this manner and in this context is by no means a desecration , there is nothing disrespectful in it . Its clearly an act of solidarity and identification with Liam Mellowes and the unjust manner of his death , comparing it to a deep injustice going on around the world committed against insurgents and suspected insurgents by imperialists . An injustice that is being facilitated by the very same state which murdered Laim Mellowes . That Mellowes and his sacrifice was considered relevant by a generation of political activists today was an issue that should have encouraged RSF , particulalry given the degenrate state of politics in this country .
That people actually travlled from around the country to protest against this is just staggering . Unbelievable .

author by lulupublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It was surely no insult to Liam Mellowes, rather a tribute.

author by Ciaron - Catholic Workerpublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a temporary decoration making th connection with the past and today.

I'm pretty sure this was done to the Joyce statue in Dublin. It's saying if these folks were around today chances are they would be on the Gitmo express through Shannon. I object to the sawing off the head of the statue in Fairvew and permanent writing on the Connoly statue in Dub on the basis of artistic censorship...long way from a temp draping.

We once put an East Timorese flag handle in the hands of the Moore statue in Liverpool.
One scouser raised his concern saying the guy was a good bloke. We responded "I'm sure he was and I'm sure he would object to Suharto committing genocide in East Timor!" He agreed.

Locals get jumpy when they think you're being disrespectful. People get jumpy when you mess with their symbols. Fair enough it's just an opportunity to explain your motivations.

For other creative attempts to raise the Gitmo issue, check this website

Related Link: http://www.witnesstorture.org
author by Property Valuespublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The 1916 men and women wanted better for the Irish people, they are not cast in stone- read the proclamation
does any of it apply to FF republican party?

do we have health care for our kids?
FF support war.
Is the ossified image of sentimental nationalism incapable of response to the current irish
situation in a manner that envisages what people died for and not what was taken and twisted
by De Valera?

Ernie O Malley hid out at the Hermitage in Ballsbridge- it is being sold for 20 million euros.
Did he give up his life so that our kids would learn to selfishly ignore the suffering of others in injust war,
that they cannot afford homes but fast cars and drugs?
That Ahern seems intent on repeating the Mistakes of his predecessors and produce an unequal society.
you stood against anti-war with someone who is involved with the continued partition of the island and signatories of
the GFA and oppressed a group of peaceful protestors- that is not in the spirit of those who wanted a socialist

shame on ye!

author by Barrypublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 13:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

was there any prior discussion or correspondence with any groups prior to the protest ? not that it justifies an actual counter protest but maybe steps should be taken to avoid issues like this developing in future through dialogue .

for example I had no problem with the anarchist balaclava on the james connolly statue , only the graffitti . The guantanamo symbol for mellowes is very clever in my opinion , but obviously a bit too clever for some .

author by tompublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 14:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

He was certainly not an Islamic terrorist fighting on behalf of Osama Bin Laden and his goons.

If find it incomprehisble that the so-called leftists and socialists appeared to have allied with Islamic extremist lunatics who would put Irish freedom to an end if they had their way.

author by LMpublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 15:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The "heroes" of RSF should be ashamed of themselves.

Thgis article should have its headline changed to reflect the fact that the draping of a statue does not amount to desecration.


author by Dan Hegartypublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 16:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Does Irish employment now depend on work provided by the war industry? CTL, Galway, headed by Dr. Conchur O Bradaigh, does work for Lockheed and Raytheon.


author by Niall Farrell - Galway Alliance Against Warpublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 19:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First of all, GAAW did not want to show disrespect to Mellows, quite the opposite and our statements in both Irish and English were unambiguous in this regard. Our Irish language spokesperson did an interview on RnaG as early as last Monday about our plans and it was front page in the Galway Advertiser. So RSF had plenty of opportunity to express their concerns. We were not contacted by RSF and were indeed quite surprised to see them there. It must be the first time any RSFer has been at one of our peace events.

But it is interesting that they have used the word “desecrate” as it has clear religious connotations. It tends to suggest their political “beliefs” are of a religious nature. Who knows, but maybe the “R” in RSF secretly stands for Religious. Or does the “R” stand for Roman as in RC. I have a sneaking suspicion that RSF particularly didn’t like the colour of the boiler suit – orange. And I jest not.

Our event combined speeches, music and song. And then there was the comedy factor – the Gardaí and RSFers standing together shoulder to shoulder against the anti-war movement. We are wondering is this the sign of a new peace process and will GAAW as a result be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. We will keep you posted.

One last thing: we have not allowed the Gardaí to intimidate us and we certainly won’t let these super-patriots to do so either.

author by FYIpublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Orange Bolier suits are the standard issue suit to all inmates in US Prisons, but i bet you knew that already....... TBH id rather see those terrorists or suspected terrorists locked up in Guantanamo than have them on the loose.

author by colin farrellpublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 21:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So RSF who have consistently been against the war in Iraq (inculding the initial one young uni types who think they invented activism) are in the wrong becuase they felt the misuse of Mellows memorial for Farrell to make a name for himself. Makes sense?

author by lulupublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 22:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If the Guantanamo inmates have committed crimes, then they should be tried by recognised international standards, not interned indefinitely.
Liam Mellowes was opposed to 'the fleshpots of Empire': draw your own conclusions.

author by Jacqueline Fallonpublication date Mon Jan 28, 2008 22:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would like to applaud everyone who turned out in support of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and also the people of war torn Iraq.

It is regrettable that some people thought it would be alright to drape Liam Mellows in a U.S. prison issue boiler-suit (although I am sure no disrespect was intended). In my personal opinion, this would be a disrespectful act and certainly not something I would like to witness. All monuments dedicated to Irish patriots should be left alone in peace and shown great dignity and respect. I am horrified also at the thought of the James Connolly monument being defaced and himself being adorned with a balaclava - what is wrong with people that they think this sort of behaviour is okay! Next, we’ll have people writing slogans on the Liam Mellows’ statue - ‘give people an inch and they’ll take a mile’!

I recall an incident I witnessed when I was 7-years-old when some Derry City football supporters draped a monument dedicated to the memory of all members of the Athlone Brigade of the IRA in a Derry scarf and hat and sang some republican songs whilst taking some swigs of beer and recall the outrage I felt at the time at this gross lack of respect, so I can absolutely understand now as an adult, why Tomás Ó Curraoin (a highly respected man in the Connemara/Galway area) and other members of Sinn Féin Poblachtach would be so outraged at the sight of Liam Mellows attired in a U.S. prison issue boiler-suit!

Well done to everyone collectively who protested on the day.

Beannacht Dé oraibh.

author by hillypublication date Tue Jan 29, 2008 00:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent post, Jacqueline.

Good to see someone keeping this in perpective. I don't know if RSF should be upset at the lack of respect to Liam Mellows i doubt many even knew who he was prior to this. There others here using this in a politically sectarian manner to misreprersent RSF.

author by Sharon . - Individual .publication date Tue Jan 29, 2008 00:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi !

My own thoughts on this issue , for anyone interested :



Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by d'otherpublication date Tue Jan 29, 2008 00:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This really just reminds me of all the idiocy some one the left were happy to spout when a much younger generation of activists decided to identify with James Connolly by sticking a balaclava on him and placing him alongside their own icons and within the ranks of the anonymous masked images that leaped otu so strong for years from summit protests.

Really this stuff just shows that some on the left would rather speak with the language of corpses in their mouths than make themselves or their icons in any way relevant to our world today.

author by An Ghaillimheachpublication date Wed Jan 30, 2008 14:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The GAAW should boycott or protest at the USA and UK owned firms in Galway. Covering the statue is offensive to most people in Galway and the comparison is completely daft.

author by ecojoepublication date Wed Jan 30, 2008 16:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are you for real????? Do you know what Connolly stood for and against?????????

This was a symbolic gesture (balaclava on statue), paying respects to his revolutionary spirit.

Related Link: http://www.marxists.org/archive/connolly/index.htm
author by barrypublication date Wed Jan 30, 2008 21:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RSF have every right to their opinion of the nature in which liam mellowes was used as iconic opposition to imperialism by other activists . But they really need to ask themslves which spectacle was more disturbing and shameful to look at ? a symbolic boiler suit or an actual counter protest to a protest against imperialism in the midst of Irelands participation in a global imperialist war . This course of action did no service to liam mellowes memory and opposition to the protest should have been persued in a more intelligent and dignified manner . This was not a dignified response and left their position open to ridicule . The very regime which murdered Liam Mellowes must have been rubbing their hands at that spectacle .

author by K Mpublication date Wed Jan 30, 2008 22:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Barry use the mind you have. it wasnt against the protest it was against the "dressing up" of the statue. Could they not have gathered at the base of the statue? It has been acknowledged that RSF were the first to protest at Shannon during the first Iraq war and has supported every prior event.. So there is and was no "counter protest " against those against the war like you are painting it.

author by Sharon . - Individual .publication date Wed Jan 30, 2008 23:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi !

Like the majority of us on this thread (I hope!) and , indeed , on the 'Indymedia' Board itself , I am against child labour , in whatever country it happens in .

Next week I intend to 'dress-up' Jim Larkin's statue in the clothes of a young boy to make my point .
Or I could just avail of that statue as a venue from which to make my point . But the former 'plan' - although some might consider it bizarre - would generate more publicity than the latter 'plan' .

'Point' made ?



Jim Larkin : disrespectful to 'dress' him up ?
Jim Larkin : disrespectful to 'dress' him up ?

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by quarefellapublication date Thu Jan 31, 2008 00:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

After playing a leading role in the Rising Mellows escaped to America, where (the story goes) he was "imprisoned without trial in The Tombs in New York on a charge of partaking in an Irish-German plot to sabotage the allied forces during World War I". See how that works? Mellows was imprisoned without trial on some vague war-related charges just like the poor slobs in Guantanamo.

I've come across that story about Mellows many times in various books and now on the web. I figured it was true until I stumbled on to the Carmelites' 2006 newsletter. Inside that edition of Vox Eliae (I love that name) is an article by Carmelite Alfred Isacsson, who actually researched the court records of the time to get the truth.

Mellows was not "imprisoned without trial" at all, but was arrested with Patrick McCartan and
indicted on December 3, 1917 for perjury and for conspiracy to defraud the United States. Both charges resulted from the falsity of their applications for seamen certificates.
Mellows and his companion had obtained false documents in order to return to Ireland in 1917. Mellows was bailed 10 days later. Eventually, the perjury charge was withdrawn and Mellows pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and was fined. {You can read the article here, but it's a mess. You have to hunt for pages 14 & 15 - they weren't scanned in order.}

I'm not sure where the tale of Mellows's imprisonment without trial came from, but it's generally accepted as fact now. I wonder how many of the Guantanamo stories will turn out to be more fairy tale than truth in the fullness of time.

author by Joseph Loughnane - NUIGpublication date Thu Jan 31, 2008 00:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Terrorists should be locked up in Guantanamo Bay? Who said they were terrorists? The racist minds of the US military? Yes. This was no desecration, this was just making a point, a connection between two times in history, I heard the remarks made by the RSFers, I was told what they told numerous people with foreign accents where to go. This was backward, play the neutral card as always, too scared to make a stance, only do it when it looks good, thats the majority of people for you, represented here by RSF and the Gardai. Those men in Guantanamo Bay are in the majority innocent, they are there to prove that the US had a reason to invade, they are evidence, but as is symptomatic of this world, its false evidence. Scumbags, thats all those people were who stopped this protest, idiots who think more of their own artificial nationalism than the lives of those persecuted across the world.

author by lolpublication date Thu Jan 31, 2008 01:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

so you were there and heard this yet you somehow believe this this protest was 'stopped'. when telling lies try to get the whole story at least lol

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