Since its inception in Novemeber 2001 the Galway Alliance Against War set itself the goal to produce a monthly e-bulletin to those signed up to the cause of peace and justice. Below is GAAW's October Bulletin. Each month we send the GAAW bulletin to over 900 supporters . Beir Bua!
Joe Neylon (1955 – 2010)
A Tribute to John Arden
Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Tony Goes To Dublin & John Le Carré on Blair
Shannon Airport: US Part of the Problem Not Solution
Website of the Month: http://www.ivaw.org/ - Iraqi Veterans Against the War
Book of the Month: Sharon and my Mother-in-Law by Suad Amiry
Read a review of this book: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/jan/16/biography.f...ures2
Truck Driver of the Month: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0929/...ia=mr
JOE NEYLON (1955 – 2010)
It is with deep, deep sadness that we report the sudden death of Joe Neylon, who was a founding member and a steadfast supporter of the Galway Alliance Against War. Not only was he at the meetings that led to the formation of GAAW back in 2001, but over 8 years later he was in attendance at our last AGM in February 2010.
Joe may never have been to the forefront in GAAW, but he was always available to offer important political advice and not infrequently financial support to our active peace group in this town.
Joe’s political acumen was considerable and his political activity spanned over three decades. He played a particularly active role in opposing Ireland’s integration into the economic, political and military construct that is the EU. From the Single European Act campaign right through to the Lisbon Treaty referenda Joe was active. He recognised that loss of control over our economic, political and military affairs to the EU bureaucrats in Brussels was not in the interests of Ireland or the rest of the world. It is perhaps not a coincidence that Joe – an accountant by profession – led the anti-Maastricht Treaty campaign in Galway. The Maastricht Treaty saw the surrendering of Ireland’s control over fiscal policy that led to the introduction of the Euro. Many experts would argue – including Joe Neylon – that this contributed considerably to the economic catastrophe our country faces today.
Joe was not insular in his views - a socialist republican - he had a strong sense of internationalism and international solidarity. This was reflected in his substantial donation to a Galway-based project to import Palestinian olive oil, the profits from which have been spent to assist Palestinian orphanages and schools in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank.
However, in the last number of years another priority prevented him from being involved in peace campaigning. Joe and his wife Mary have a profoundly autistic son, Seamus. Over the past decade Joe had focussed his energy in helping set up the Abalta School for autistic children and attempting to force the Irish government to guarantee a bill of rights for the disabled. Of late, Joe was at the forefront with other concerned parents in trying to defend the already rather limited state respite services offered to the families with disabled children.
On the day of Joe’s funeral, the Galway Independent quoted Eamon Ó Cuiv, the Minister for the Dept of Social Protection (what a misnomer!), claiming the €3 Billion in health cuts would be “modest”. Just above this article was a report stating that the already meagre state respite services would be drastically cut. What the charlatan Ó Cuiv considers “modest” will spell utter disaster for so many families. Meanwhile the bondholders, speculators, bankers and developers get bailed out and laugh all the way to another foreign bank.
We wish to convey our sincere condolences to Mary, Cáit and Seamus. Joe’s contribution to our struggle for peace and justice will be sorely missed. Nevertheless, while there is deep sorrow in our hearts at Joe’s death, we have no alternative but to continue our struggle – BEIR BUA!
(GAAW will make a donation to the Abalta School in memory of Comrade Joe Neylon)
GAAW would like to convey its condolences to Councillors Colette & Catherine Connolly whose father Coleman has just passed away.
A TRIBUTE TO JOHN ARDEN
GAAW is recommending that people try and attend this wonderful evening to pay tribute to a tireless campaigner for peace and justice, John Arden.
A Tribute to John Arden; to mark his 80th year, the Town Hall Theatre pays tribute to an outstanding playwright and novelist.
Featuring a collage of short excerpts from Arden’s work,
introduced by himself, illustrating the wide diversity
of his themes, from rackety brothels in London, to the
fallout from colonial war, to the life and death of James
Connolly, to a 1970s eviction in the West of Ireland
– all in a mix of music, performance and archival film
clips, including Arden in his acting role in Bob Quinn’s
acclaimed film Caoineadh Art Uí Laoire. It will also
feature a rehearsed reading of selected scenes from
Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance, directed by Eamonn Draper.
Friday 1 October 8pm
Wine reception from 7.15pm
Related Link: http://www.tht.ie/1058/John-Arden-Playwright-and-Novelist
GAZA FREEDOM FLOTILLA
Despite Israeli propaganda, the Gaza Strip remains under siege and the humanitarian crisis is as bad as ever. The tiny coastal area that is home to 1.5 million Palestinians is effectively an open-air prison camp controlled by Israel. Those who comprise the Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign represent Irish people and organisations that aim to break this inhuman siege by being part of the Second Freedom Flotilla. We are fundraising to ensure that an Irish ship is among those that set out in October 2010 to break the illegal siege of Gaza.
Organisations involved in the Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign include the Palestinian Rights Institute, Irish Anti-War Movement, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Derry Friends of Palestine, the Free Gaza Movement, Trade Union Friends of Palestine and Ireland to Gaza.
The first Freedom Flotilla was violently attacked by Israel in an act of brazen piracy in international waters that left 9 human rights activists dead. This was an attempt by Israel to intimidate international activists – it was an attempt that failed. In fact, the killings led to global outrage and have strengthened our resolve to break the siege.
Support our efforts to send a large Irish contingent on Freedom Flotilla 2 by donating towards the cost of an Irish ship.
Please help us ensure that Ireland is fully represented in the Freedom Flotilla 2 to break the siege on Gaza by donating to the Irish Ship to Gaza fund below.
BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS
P.O. Box 96A, 7/12 Dame Street, Dublin 2
Sort Code 93-20-86
Account Number 33077059
TONY GOES TO DUBLIN
Across the world from Vladivostok to Tierra del Fuego people could see on their television screens what a Céad Míle Fáilte for war criminals looks like, as the assorted shoes, sandals, boots and eggs came hurtling in the direction of Tony Blair as he arrived at Eason’s in Dublin for his infamous book-signing. And then there was Kate O’Sullivan’s brave attempt to make a citizen’s arrest of Blair. But surely the cherry on the top of that protest was the announcement in the following days that Blair’s book-signings in London were to be cancelled thanks to our actions. Well done all those who participated in any way to this campaign.
It was at a series of GAAW meetings in Galway’s poetically titled “Hidden Valley” district– in the studio of John Arden and Margaretta D’Arcy – that the plans were initially hatched to give Blair a welcome he wouldn’t forget.
John Le Carré on Blair
Let’s face it the Late Late Show interview with Blair bordered on the obsequious. And we all knew it would. But that even the audience was not allowed to throw a few questions in the man’s direction is truly scandalous.
Speaking to “Democracy Now” the well-known British spy fiction writer, John Le Carré, explained why he refused to interview Blair, before the last British general election.
“At the last election in which he stood, I was invited by The Guardian newspaper to interview him. And after much thought, I declined, because I did not see how I could lay a glove on him. And I’ve asked some pretty heavy-hitting journalists what questions they would have asked, in retrospect, that might have unseated him a little, that might have thrown him. And they said, almost with one voice, there’s nothing you can get passed him, there’s no way of doing it.
I think I would have asked him one question, perhaps, and I’d have asked it repeatedly. I’d have asked him about his faith, because we were told, when journalists asked about Blair’s faith, the reply was, "We don’t do God here." Well, of course, he does do God, and he reports that his actions have been put before God and confirmed, as if somehow God has signed a chit for him. I think that the question of somebody’s religious faith is absolutely central to what we think of them, if we are members of the electorate. We have to know. If it is, for example, somebody’s conviction, widely held among Christians in the United States, that the second coming of Christ is not possible 'til the Greater Israel is established, we need to know that. That's an important political perception. In Blair’s case, I would have asked him that question, and I’d have pressed him on it. I’d have asked him whether God had ever restrained him. I find it very strange that we elect a politician who then claims to serve a higher deity who guides him: "I did what I believe is right." Well, will you tell us, please, how that relates to the Christian ethic? Do you believe in war first and negotiation afterwards? Exactly how does this work?
And the second question I would ask him is the really painful one, which I could not have asked if I hadn’t gone on my own journey. Have you ever seen what happens when a grenade goes off in a school? Do you really know what you’re doing when you order shock and awe? Are you prepared to kneel beside a dying soldier and tell him why he went to Iraq, or why he went to any war? I think that if anything has happened to Europe since 1945 that defines it, it is collectively Europeans do not believe in war anymore, until it comes as an absolute last resort, and then they’re going to do it rather badly. The United States, I think, still sees war as a necessary part of its existence. It’s impossible to maintain the military on that scale, a Pentagon on that scale, without turning it over. You’ve got to have officers who are experienced in command and control. You’ve got to have troops who have been bloodied. So, we were, in that sense, at odds. I was, as a European. I was at odds with the whole notion of a preemptive strike. And I think many Europeans have that in common, of course with very many Americans, too, feel the same. So I would have tried to challenge him in that area.
And as I think I said earlier in the interview, for me, there are very few absolutes about human behavior. But I think a leader who does take his country to war under false pretenses is simply not an acceptable person. I don’t think that we should be weighing the rights and wrongs of that. It seems to me to be quite simply wrong.”
Shannon Airport – U.S. Military are Part of the Problem, not the Solution
Peace activists in the mid-west support calls for Shannon Airport to be maintained as a viable travel hub for the region, with increased routes and traffic. However, they warn that this should not be done by relying on U.S. military traffic. When it comes to ensuring the viability of Shannon Airport, the war business is part of the problem, not the solution.
Since 2002 close to 2 million armed U.S. soldiers have passed through Shannon Airport on their way to fight in wars of occupation. More than 4,000 of these young men and women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, where their presence has resulted in corruption, human rights abuse and regional instability. In Iraq the war has resulted in over one million deaths. Millions more have lost their homes and their livelihoods, children have been denied an education, and a functioning society has turned into chaos. Afghanistan is now rife with corruption and human rights abuse, as U.S. drones attack civilians from the air and prop up a puppet government.
“The Irish people were not asked if they were in favour of active involvement in these wars” said a spokesperson for Shannonwatch who campaign against the military use of Shannon. “Ireland has had a proud record of peacekeeping and non-participation in war. But the Fianna Fail led government ended all this by relinquishing the airport to the global war industry. This was done without a thought for the millions of innocent victims of war, or without taking steps to protect the people now living and working in a military air base at Shannon.”
“Shannon Airport seems to be at the beck and call of the U.S. army these days, with two officers of military rank stationed there” said Shannonwatch. “Costs in excess of three million euro have been quoted for security, but the real financial cost of their presence to the Irish taxpayer is unknown. Furthermore, there are conflicting reports over whether they are even paying the appropriate landing fees and air traffic control charges.”
Shannonwatch call on the airport authorities, the Ministers for Transport, Justice and Defence, and the Commission for Aviation Regulation to provide full disclosure on the financial costs and income from the U.S. military business at Shannon.
“The U.S. use of Shannon Airport has embroiled the mid-west in a sad litany of involvement in human rights abuse and war crimes. The CIA has used it for their so-called rendition flights, and as a result workers in Shannon have serviced planes involved in kidnapping and torture. War crimes have been committed by the armed forces using Shannon, and there is every likelihood that illegal weapons have passed through the airport before being used to kill and main civilians in other parts of the world”.
The primary concern over the U.S. military presence at Shannon is the death and suffering of innocent men, women and children caused by their presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it is also important to realize that dependence on these wars will destroy Shannon Airport. “The U.S. military will eventually abandon Shannon” said the Shannonwatch spokesperson. “When the volcanic ash cloud spread from Iceland last May they left immediately, leaving the airport authorities, politicians and local workers without any indication of when the military traffic would return. Rumours now abound that the US Military plan to move their troop transit flights to Leipzig in Germany, which is already being used for U.S. military flights. If these are true the airport authorities at Shannon are powerless to do anything about it”
A major demonstration will be held at Shannon on Sunday October 10th at 2pm to protest against the U.S. military use of Shannon. The key message of this event will be that U.S. occupation is destroying the lives of millions of people in Afghanistan, and at the same time the future of Shannon Airport.