Campaigners to continue their peaceful opposition in 2009
As another year begins, peace and human rights activists in Irelandís mid-West continue to oppose the role of Shannon airport in war and torture. The first events of the year will include a Peace Camp commemoration on Jan 6th, followed by the regular monthly vigil on Jan 11th. Monitoring of known torture/rendition planes and military flights will also continue in 2009 as part of the ongoing efforts to end Irish complicity in war and illegal trafficking of prisoners.
The first Shannon vigil of the year is the Peace Camp commemoration on Jan 6th. Organisers are inviting members of the public to join them in expressing abhorrence of the brutal wars being conducted, condoned or supported by the West at this time, and to help knit a gigantic peace banner. According to the organizers the knitting, as a communal activity, will serve as a symbol to unite people in solidarity and mourning against the complicity of the Irish Government in the Afghanistan and other wars. And as more and more reports come through of the appalling Israeli massacre of Palestinians, Nollaig na mBan or Womenís (Little) Christmas is an opportune time to remember the innocent lives taken or destroyed by forces that care little for the suffering of others.
The Peace Camp commemoration takes place on the sixth anniversary of the original peace camp at Shannon and will run from 11am until 9pm in the evening. Details are available from http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90370 and http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90358.
Shannon Airport has been central to the suffering of Iraqi people since the time of the original peace camp in 2003. In the last six years, hundreds of thousands of US troops have passed through the airport lounges on their way to or from occupied Iraq. Having gone nervously on a mission that lacked legal legitimacy and moral authority, many were directly involved in the death of Iraqi people. Others were killed themselves, bringing unnecessary tragedy and sadness to American families. Today as almost 5 million Iraqis are forced to live as refugees, without homes, and in dire need of humanitarian care, Irelandís response is to continue to ferry more occupation soldiers, military equipment, arms and munitions to the region, and at the same time impede Iraqi applications for asylum here in Ireland.
While the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars continue to envelop innocent victims, the ferocity of the most recent Israeli massacre of Palestinians is quite shocking. After six days of air strikes, nowhere in Gaza is safe. Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, has said his government does not want another ceasefire with Hamas. Instead they want to kill and maim civilians, and block the medical supplies needed to keep innocent children alive. The illegal and indiscriminate killing of women and children is now being condoned by the failure of the Irish and other governments to impose any sanctions against the genocidal Israeli state. Indeed Shannon may even play a direct role in the brutal repression of Palestinians; Israeli planes and crews have in the past used the airport, and even today there are no assurances about the nature or ultimate destination of the military cargo going through the airport.
As US and British forces continue to occupy war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan, and their Israeli counterparts kill innocent Palestinians in their homes, there are countless other crises and oppressions that barely receive a mention in our busy lives. The people of Zimbabwe are living through a nightmare; Somalia is once again facing a humanitarian and security crisis; the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo suffer violence, poverty and health epidemics while the West profits from their rich resources. These and other victims of greed and unresolved conflict will be remembered at the Peace Camp commemoration in Shannon on Jan 6th.
As efforts to end Shannon airportís use as a war base continue in 2009, people from all walks of life are asked to support the monthly vigils (second Sunday of every month from 2 Ė 3pm), and to let the Irish government know that nothing justifies complicity in the bombing, maiming and prolonged starvation of innocent victims of war, or in the illegal torture of our fellow human beings.
Details of all organised events and regularly updated information about Shannonís complicity in war are available from http://www.shannonwatch.org.