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Knitting for Peace at Shannon

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Saturday January 10, 2009 13:19author by Margaretta D'Arcy - Women Knit for Peaceauthor email margarettadarcy at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

10 Hours in sub-zero weather

Nollaig na nBan, 6th January: in sub-zero conditions women (and some men) kept alive the tradition of the Shannon Airport Women’s Peace Camp.


The annual Women’s Peace Camp was started by Mary Kelly and myself in 2003 just before the invasion of Iraq. This year we did something different, spurred on a few weeks earlier by Fiona Wheeler as we were standing on the airport roundabout for our regular second-Sunday-of-the-month vigil. “Why don’t we,” she asked, “have a knitting circle?” Most of us hadn’t knitted for years. A son of one of the women sneered, “I didn’t think that women were to ‘get out of the house’ only to knit.” But the more one reflected, the more the symbolism took hold: to knit is to mend, to unite, to concentrate one’s thoughts. It was banned in parts of Denmark as being too subversive, “wool-gathering” men called it. It was also the grimly-significant activity of the women who sat under the guillotine knitting their enemies’ names into the fabric as the heads rolled into the basket...
We sat there with our needles, conscious that it was a working day and that we were right in the hub of the Shannon Free Zone, the underbelly of an insidious war machine where companies produce the dual-purpose primarily-military armament components (helped along with grants from us tax-payers), where US troops pass through on their way to war, where manacled prisoners have been transported to torture, where the Gardaí are paid overtime to protect the war from the likes of us, where their pensions will eventually derive from investments in the war machine itself.
So I sat for ten hours, warmed by Fiona’s wood-fired brazier, fed by her hot soup, busy in my own thoughts as I knitted: I considered the questions of who we are, what are we doing, how is our country governed, with all its double-dealings, hypocrisies and corruptions? We felt in touch with the nightmare happenings in Gaza as news came in of the children herded ‘into safety’ by the Israeli army and then slaughtered; Conor Cregan rang us from Hebron; Ed Horgan told us about his invitation to Obama’s inauguration and how he had been initially refused a visa because of the fears of Homeland Security.
We were in the right place for a check on reality. The world condemns Israel for killing civilians, and yet there we were at the entrance to a civilian airport which has now become a military one. Why are we allowing this? We who are civilians must take back our civilian space. A surreal image came to mind as we knitted in the firelight: a huge woollen blanket made of small pieces of knitwear from thousands of women (and men too), sewn together in all their different colours to be thrown over the whole of Shannon, reclaiming our airport, a blanket to blank out the military, a huge soft cloud descending from the heavens: all we need are knitters. Any volunteers?


author by Chrissiepublication date Sat Jan 10, 2009 19:00Report this post to the editors

& blessings on yr work for peace - keep reminding people; they might catch on!

author by Margaret O'Regan. - SWP.publication date Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:02Report this post to the editors

I think this was a great idea. It should spread. I have knitted two political caps - one with the slogan 'Shell To Sea' and the other with the slogan 'VoteNo.ie'. I am working on a 'boycott Israeli goods' one now. It has proved easy to adapt a pattern to include words - I just pencilled them into a sums copy book.

It is also a great way to reject the mass-produced corporate logo knitted items - empowering in several ways.

Well done.

author by Finn Ardenpublication date Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:43Report this post to the editors

7min 30 sec video

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by Finn ardenpublication date Mon Jan 12, 2009 15:07Report this post to the editors

Link to video

Related Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZCu8YtF34k&feature=chan..._page
author by linkerpublication date Mon Jan 12, 2009 15:47Report this post to the editors


Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by Margaretpublication date Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:24Report this post to the editors

By Caitrina Cody

Wednesday January 07 2009

A GROUP of anti-war activists kept away the winter chill with a small wood-burning stove yesterday as they held a Knit-For-Peace vigil at Shannon Airport in protest at the invasion of Gaza.

Armed with knitting needles and wool on Nollaig na mBan (Women's Christmas), the mood was upbeat despite the cold.

Organiser Margaretta D'Arcy was hopeful that the women's message of solidarity with the victims of war around the world would catch the attention of the Irish public -- and draw attention to Ireland's foreign policy responses.

"We hope that knitting, as a communal activity, will serve as a symbol to unite us in solidarity and mourning against the invasion of Gaza, and the complicity of the Irish Government in the Afghanistan war," she said.

The vigil, organised by the Galway Alliance Against War, took place outside the entrance to Shannon Airport from 11am until 9pm last night.

Our picture by Eamon Ward shows Roisin Ni Fhaolain from Galway, who was among among the women taking part.


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