IAWM Press Statement on Migrant Deaths in Mediterranean 22 April 2015
The Irish Anti-War Movement condemns the disgraceful response of the EU to the ongoing tragedy of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean.
The governments of the EU bear direct responsibility for these appalling events. Last November they deliberately cut funding for the sea rescue operation Mare Nostrum and replaced it with the agency Frontex whose priority is border control and which only operates within 30 miles of the Italian coast. The consequences of this callous action were predictably disastrous. It is also clear that this dreadful attitude is caused by these governments’ anxious appeasement of the racist and fascist right across Europe who have whipped up anti- migrant and xenophobic hatred.
There is also a deeper responsibility. The refugee crisis is the result of the catastrophic situation prevailing in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East – Iraq, Syria, Yemen etc. This situation has mainly been produced and exacerbated by disastrous military interventions, occupations and invasions by NATO and western powers. The Irish Anti-War movement has consistently warned that these interventions and wars would make things worse. Tragically this is the case.
When it served our rulers’ interests to invade Libya or Iraq or Afghanistan they claimed they were doing it for humanitarian reasons and money was no object. Now, faced with a real humanitarian crisis, they look the other way and there is no money.
The Irish Anti-War Movement condemns this hypocrisy. We call for:
1. No repetition of the failed policies of the past – no further military interventions in the Middle East or North Africa and a halt to arms sales to despotic regimes.
2. An immediate increase in Ireland’s, and other EU states’, willingness to accept refugees.
3. An immediate and large scale increase in sea rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
Letter sent to all three Irish broadsheets on 24 January
"never in the history of diplomacy has so much hypocrisy been exercised by so many western leaders for a deceased, despotic tyrant. Shame on them all, including our own elected leader who allowed the Irish flag to fly at half mast. Saudi Arabia enslaves women, publicly flogs dissenters and officially beheads people with impunity while the main western powers buy its oil, arm it to the teeth and praise it as a "valued" ally. The Irish Government should dissociate the Irish people from this repressive regime, call for an end to western arms sales, an end to beheadings and for the immediate release of prisoner of conscience and flogging victim Raif Badawi.
Jim Roche, PRO, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 087 647 2737
Website - www.irishantiwar.org
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IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT LETTER ON THE CHARLIE HEBDO ATROCITY AFTERMATH
SENT TO IRISH TIMES, IRISH EXAMINER AND IRISH INDEPENDENT
21 January 2015
the inclusion of politicians from countries with appalling human rights records, e.g. Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, in Paris last Sunday week vividly represents the cynical efforts of many powerful states to make political capital from the Charlie Hebdo atrocity and is insulting to the memory of the murdered journalists and cartoonists. Israel killed 17 journalists alone in its attack on Gaza last summer. The Turkish state regularly harasses and imprisons journalists. Saudi Arabia publicly beheaded a total of 87 people in 2014 and 10 so far this year, (the most recent a Burmese woman who screamed in terror while being dragged down the street before her beheading) and is publicly flogging Raif Badawi for expressing freedom of thought, a mainstay of journalism.
While the media spotlight, belatedly shines on Saudi Arabia’s despicable human rights record, one aspect missing from the analysis is how the major western powers prop up this reactionary regime, particularly through trade in armaments. The US Congressional Research Service reports that Riyadh signed $66 billion worth of arms transfer agreements with the US in 2011 alone. The Campaign Against Arms Trade reports that Britain, under David Cameron’s premiership, has approved export licenses to Saudi Arabia worth £3.8bn, with £1.6bn of those in 2014 alone. In February last year, frequent visitor Prince Charles frolicked with the Saudi Sheiks while British defence firm BAE sold them 72 Typhoon fighter jets worth £4.4 billion.
11 January 2015
The Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) unequivocally condemns the terrorist murders of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris. As an anti-war movement we are opposed, and have always been opposed to terrorism in all its forms. We strongly insist on the right of journalists to practice their trade and, regardless of the content of what they write or publish, nothing can justify their murder in general or this atrocity in particular. It is shocking, as the Committee to Protect Journalists notes, that since 1992 alone, 1109 journalists have been killed in the course of their work.
The Charlie Hebdo atrocity is not a random act of evil. It has an historical and contemporary context which does not excuse it but which has to be understood. Like other terrorist atrocities such as 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London or even the Birmingham Pub bombing in 1974 (all of which claimed more lives) it is a bitter fruit of the legacy of western imperial interventions, war and racism. It is completely the wrong reaction to the latter - wrong because it is brutal and reactionary in itself, and wrong because it plays into the hands of reactionaries, warmongers and racists. Nevertheless, it is a reaction to these things.
In particular in France it is a reaction to:
Press Release 090114
From Irish anti-War Movement
LETTER PUBLISHED IN IRISH TIMES TODAY RE CHARLIE HEBDO KILLINGS
the horrific murders in Paris must be roundly condemned. It should be possible to criticise and satirise both public figures and ideology without such actions from young men, alienated and angry as they may be.
It is equally important that the response to the attacks does not lead either to an increase in future terrorist attacks or a rise in attacks on Muslims. Hatred and revenge are not the answer to the grief that the relatives of the victims are experiencing.
The French Government could lead effectively in calming the widespread public anger and grief by reflecting on its own dubious foreign policy, which along with that of other western powers has fostered instability, sectarianism, oppression and hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed and injured, all of which has ultimately led to a rise in terrorism. We should remember that the response of the French Government to the brutal suppression by Tunisian dictator Ben Ali to the calls for democracy by peaceful protesters was to offer to send 300 French paratroopers.