BEN AND CIARON IN IRELAND: ‘PROTESTING CLINTON’S VISIT TO IRELAND’
Ben Griffin (VFPUK) writes:
I had been planning to go to Ireland for some time and seeing as Hillary Clinton was visiting this week (06 DEC 2012) I decided to head over with my good mate Ciaron O’Reilly. The hypocrisy of Clinton is almost unique, portraying herself as a champion of human rights and democracy whilst supporting every war for the last 22 years. Whether as First Lady, Senator for New York or Secretary of State, she has consistently banged the war drum.
I flew into Belfast and met up with a local man who has been working on community projects and peace work for well over 20 years. We talked about the possibility of former combatants joining together to form a VFP Chapter in Belfast. We were joined by another long time peace activist – good to make some firm connections in the city.
AND OVER THE BORDER TO DUBLIN
SCHOOL TALK: TELLING TEENAGE LADS - IT’S NOT LIKE ‘CALL OF DUTY’
That night I headed across the border to Dublin were I met up with Ciaron and Máirtín.
The next day I was invited to speak at Máirtín’s school. The audience was made up of 15 and 16 year old lads. I told them about my experience of Army life and conflict, needless to say it didn’t match up with their experience of playing Call of Duty. I was told this week that there are more recruits from Ireland joining the British Army than at any time since WW2. One of the pupils had just returned from an Army medical in Belfast.
STANDING FOR BRAD AND JULIAN: WAR RESISTORS
That afternoon we headed into the GPO and stood for Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. Responses from the public were either positive or non-plussed which I suppose is better than negative. We also turned up to a protest at the Dail that had been called in response to another austerity budget. That evening we headed back to Máirtín’s for the Celtic game and a few tins of hard earned black stuff.
YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP
Thursday we met up with Paul O’Toole before heading over to Dublin City University to wait for the arrival of Clinton. Thank you Andrea for driving us over there. We met up again with Stephen, Colm Roddy and Justin Morahan and Niall. Tommy Donnellan and two folks from Occupy Dublin made it just in time to greet Clinton.
Three and a half hours in the cold was worth it to see her force a smile as she drove past our protest in a 10 vehicle cavalcade. It was disappointing to see the “great and the good” of Irish society turning up to the event in their finest outfits, eager to suck up to imperial power. After speaking on human rights she opened a new conflict resolution centre; you could not make this stuff up.
FORMING A NEW VFP CHAPTER?
That afternoon I met up with former Irish Army Major Ed Horgan. He has been active around US troops transiting through Shannon Airport for ten years. We chatted about forming a VFP Chapter in Ireland. Ed said he was keen to get started. I gave him some VFP Patches with a VFP flag and hopefully a chapter will begin to take shape in the near future. *YES! SEE ‘FOLLOW ON’ BELOW
‘WAR, MEDIA AND WIKILEAKS’ IN DUBLIN
Thursday evening was spent in Dublin talking at a meeting “War, Media and Wikileaks” organised by Joe Murray of AFRI. Also on the panel were Journalist Harry Brown, Farrah Mokhtareizadeh of Voices for Creative Non-violence and Ciaron O’ Reilly of London Catholic Worker. Joe Black started off the evening with a rendition of his great song ‘The Ballad of Giuseppe Conlon‘. There was a good turnout and many stayed behind to continue the discussion in the bar afterwards.
Thank you to Máirtín and Andrea for putting us up in Dublin, mi casa es su casa.
*FOLLOW ON: NEW VFP IRELAND FORMED
Following a meeting between Edward Horgan and Ben Griffin, Veterans for Peace has formed in Ireland. Edward is a former member of the Irish Defence Forces and UN peacekeeper. He is also international secretary of the Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance and a founding member of Shannonwatch.
Membership is open to former soldiers, sailors and airmen living in all parts of Ireland, regardless of the country they served. All members must sign up to the Statement of Purpose and Statement of Non-Violence constituted by Veterans for Peace, which was established in the United States in 1985 but whose ideals are spreading internationally.
In the interests of promoting peace within the island of Ireland and good relations with our neighbours in the UK, former members of paramilitary groups who have renounced violence are eligible to join Veterans for Peace in Ireland.
Veterans for Peace in Ireland participated today (Sunday 9 December 2012) in a Peace Vigil taking place under the auspices of Shannonwatch at Shannon airport on .
To join VFP in Ireland you can click here For more info; Email firstname.lastname@example.org Phone - 00353 8635 39911