Afri applauds the courage and dedication of the two US Veterans for Peace, Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff, who have been convicted of interfering with the operation of Shannon Airport during their peaceful action three years ago. These are two men who, from their direct personal experience of war, have dedicated themselves over decades to the UN Charter’s goal ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’. In doing so, they have reminded us of our own Constitution’s commitment, in Article 29, to peaceful conflict resolution – a commitment which also underpins the genesis and maintenance of the Irish Peace Process. This commitment has recently been yet again reaffirmed by the vast majority of the Irish people in a poll on Neutrality. While the disasters of aggressive war in Afghanistan and elsewhere are temporarily eclipsed by the savage, illegal, Russian onslaught on Ukraine, it is more than ever crucial for us, while supporting and welcoming refugees from that and other conflicts, to help to make space for diplomacy rather than to fan the flames of war. How can it be right that two elderly, lifelong peace activists should be punished by our state authorities for peacefully reminding those same authorities of their most solemn obligations under Irish and international law, starting with inspecting the fleets of military aircraft which regularly use Shannon as a way-station to promote the scourge of war?
4.5.2022. Dublin, Ireland. Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff, ‘Veterans for Peace’, with supporters outside the Criminal Courts, following the conclusion of their trial. ©Photo by Derek Speirs