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Clare - Event Notice
Thursday January 01 1970

Shannon Torture Watch

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | event notice author Wednesday October 29, 2008 09:31author by John Lannon Report this post to the editors

Vigil to end Shannon airport's complicity in torture and war

The monthly vigil to highlight Shannon airport's complicity in war and human rights abuse takes place on Sunday 9th November from 2pm to 3pm. Meet at the small roundabout just before the airport.

Tens of thousands of prisoners are still being held in secret CIA black sites around the world . It is known that in the past few years Shannon airport has been involved in the illegal rendition of prisoners by the US, and without a proper and effective inspection process it is likely that it is still involved. Meanwhile hundreds of US troops pass through the airport every day on their way to and from the unjust occupation of Iraq. And as military planes come and go, no questions are asked about their cargo.

Our complicity in widespread suffering and human rights abuse - including the displacement of millions of Iraqi men, women and children from their homes, and the torture of thousands of "suspects" (including young boys) - is shameful. We want our government to be accountable and to start showing respect for human rights. That means not turning a blind eye to US activities at Shannon.

If you can get to Shannon on Sunday Nov 9th, please join the vigil from 2 to 3pm.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Nov 03, 2008 02:46author address author phone 087.2178138Report this post to the editors

It is hoped that poets and writers will turn up at Shannon on this date and show their support by reading from their work. Anyone interested, give me a shout.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Sat Nov 08, 2008 17:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not for the first time I am conscious of a lack of response from Galway-based writers on this issue: writers can come from as far off as Cork to attend, but Galway's scribes, with some notable exceptions, seem not even to be able to reply to an e-mail.

author by carlpublication date Sat Nov 08, 2008 18:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

if anyone travelling from cork city i would appreciate a lift if possible. if not i will make my way there. thanks

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Sun Nov 09, 2008 23:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks to the Cork poets who valiantly made the effort but couldn't make it due to another gig running over time, but they gallantly contacted me to let me know: sincere thanks anyway, boys, we can do it again. It rained and rained. Poetry shall overcome.

author by Shaypublication date Mon Nov 10, 2008 01:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How did the poetry at Shannon go?

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Nov 10, 2008 03:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On a wet and miserable day weatherwise, we valiant few (Margaretta D'Arcy, John Arden, myself - three based in Galway) turned up and some others (see above) sent apologies but had tried to get there. Some Limerick poets contacted but none showed. Of other poets contacted in Galway, only one had the grace to reply to e-mails and none others turned up. Nothing daunted, we will try again: the invitation to poets and other writers to turn up is open.

author by Colm MacGabhan - unaffiliatedpublication date Fri Nov 14, 2008 15:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You guys need to stop making statements without solid evidence. A more accurate statement based on ye're level of knowledge would be as follows:

Many prisoners are potentially being held in secret sites of which we have no knowledge around the world. It is assumed that in the past few years Shannon Airport could potentially have been involved in the rendition of prisoners by the US, and without a proper and effective inspection process such arrangements if they have ever taken place may still continue. Meanwhile hundreds of US troops pass through the airport every day on their way to and from serving in Iraq. And as military planes come and go, as far as we know no questions are asked about their cargo.

The second paragraph is so sensationalist, controversial and irrational that it can not reasonably be edited. As a history scholar, I can tell you that neither poetry nor sensationalism will affect anything. Only solid argument backed by concrete evidence from legitimate sources will be taken seriously by anyone.

V/R,

C. MacGabhan

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Fri Nov 14, 2008 19:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think the evidence is there, without a doubt. And I think it has been produced on more than one occasion, any such occasion being an uncomfortable one for the present government. Any half-decent plane spotter could produce the kind of evidence you're talking about. As for the poetry - well, some of the world's greatest writers of all stamps have stood behind decent political causes - though most of our poets tend to stand 'WAY behind them, about as far as they can get. Poetry can change things. Such as your chances of getting a visa to go off and earn some dollars at US universities reading your literary work. So naturally some poets are, eh, wary of becoming too obviously involved in humanitarian affairs. Easier - and more profitable - by far to accuse the Chinese of human rights abuses than the US of A. And Guantanámo for some has become a fashion accessory. Irish poets and writers would serve their country well by assemblying at Shannon to protest against the US annexation of Shannon airport and the refuelling and servicing of passing US aircraft - but whether they would serve their own interests well is another matter.

author by Saoirsepublication date Sun Nov 16, 2008 22:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Poetry can change things. Such as your chances of getting a visa to go off and earn some dollars at US universities reading your literary work. So naturally some poets are, eh, wary of becoming too obviously involved in humanitarian affairs. Easier - and more profitable - by far to accuse the Chinese of human rights abuses than the US of A."

This is disgraceful rubbish. Does Fred Johnston know of one single example of an Irish poet who has been refused a visa to do a reading in the USA because of his or her political views?

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 02:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This view is not held by myself alone. What else would account for the overall disinterest shown by artists and writers to a situation where Shannon airport has been militarised by the US and used for through-fuelling of suspect rendition flights? If 'Saoirse' knows of any well-known poets or musicians who might be willing to protest at Shannon, perhaps she might contact them or ask them to contact me. She would be advised not to hold her breath while waiting for their response. Surely she is not suggesting that they aren't interested in human rights and the rest? Some of our poets quote for Ireland from every poet every condemned by the old Soviety Union, so surely they could easily be harnessed to protest at Shannon?

author by Saoirsepublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 03:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"This view is not held by myself alone."

Okay then, name one other person who has ever expressed this view?

The fact that Johnston doesn't answer my orgininal question speaks volumes.

I repeat, it is disgraceful to go around making such allegations against a group people without being able or willing to back up what you say up with one shred of evidence.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 15:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'Saoirse' - your pen-name (because you could be my granny, for all anyone knows) indicates freedom, but this doesn't imply the freedom merely to be abusive and secretly so. That's called cowardice. If you have a real name, then use it, if you believe in what you say, and then we can talk honestly. If you haven't and wish to hide behind 'freedom,' then I am cutting this discussion off right now in respect for those who have gone to Shannon, read their poems under their own names, and suffered the harrassment of gardaí while doing it. You secret little commentators are ten-a-penny. Goodbye.

author by Saoirsepublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 16:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My comments/questions were not/are not abusive. I repeat, Fred Johnston should subtantiate what he says, or withdraw his allegation about Irish writers supposedly staying quiet about the US military's use of Shannon because they are afraid they may not get visas to travel to do readings and talks in the US. Give us one example of when this has happened, Fred, or have the decency to withdraw your slur.

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