An Afri public meeting, which took place in the Teachers’ Club in July, featuring Veterans for Peace Members Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff raised €1000 to support Ken and Tarak, while they await trial in Ireland.
The elderly campaigners, in their “Veterans for Peace” sweatshirts, addressed the audience about the reasons for their actions and their commitment to opposing US militarism which they stated was a major cause of misery around the world, including to serving members of the military themselves (quoting a figure of 22 suicides per day), along with being a major cause of world pollution.
Ken Mayers explained that the USA has 800 military bases around the world in addition to its 400 on its own territory, the infrastructure, fuel expenditure and waste of the total which he stated is a major cause of pollution. (This is presumably without even taking into account the use of nuclear-generated power and disposal of radioactive material, or depleted uranium projectiles, such as used in Iraq or the Agent Orange defoliant used in the Vietnam War.)
Both men belong to an organisation called Veterans for Peace which campaigns against the US militarisation of the economy, war, interference in the affairs of other states and for better treatment of veterans. Recently they also supported a campaign against concentration camps for migrants along the US-Mexico border.
Ken Mayers, 82 years of age and Tarak Kauff 77, spent 13 days on remand in Limerick jail, where their toilet did not flush unless they poured buckets of water into it. Other than that, they said they were treated well and the other prisoners treated them “like celebrities”.
The reason for their bail being refused during that period was Garda objections that they would flee the jurisdiction. Tarak Kauff exposed the illogicality of this ‘fear‘ to the audience, explaining that they had taken their action at Shannon knowing that they would be arrested and wanting to use the trial to expose what was going on at Shannon airport: “For us not to attend that trial, they would have to physically drag us away from there!”
They were eventually granted bail on condition they remain within the Irish state and having to surrender their passports, due to Garda objections again that they might flee, also not to approach any airports. On July 10th the Court turned down their appeal against these conditions, though the judge said that he might review that decision if the case were to be moved to the Dublin District Court, where the waiting list was much longer. The defendants and their solicitor, Michael Finucane, will be seeking to have the case heard outside Clare, where it is believed a fair trial relating to a Shannon protest is unlikely. A trial date is expected in September or October.
Ed Horgan took the floor after Mayers and Kauff to speak about the one million total of children killed in the Middle East as a result of war and sanctions and urged action to prevent further loss of children’s lives.
Then Emer Lynam opened the meeting to questions.
In reply to questions from the audience about the cost to themselves, Ken Mayers revealed he was due to be on his honeymoon by now with his bride.
Music for the evening was provided by veteran campaigner John Maguire who sang a song he had composed back at the first demonstration at Shannon airport, with a chorus that the audience soon got the hang of and joined in.
RoJ performed a song also of his own composition, accompanied by Paul O’Toole on guitar and Nimal Blake on cajón. Later, O’Toole also sang a song of his own, about the child who lost both his arms to US imperialist ‘smart-targeted’ bombing, then going on to sing one of Dylan’s numbers. Both RoJ and O’Toole are long-time professional performers and have produced CDs of their material.
All performers were warmly applauded.
The evening was a fund-raiser and it could be seen that the collection bucket, although covered, was stuffed with notes. Ken and Tarak also have a Fund Me appeal and Afri is also receiving some donations for them through the Internet.
Based on an article by Clive Sulish
Joe Murray recently attended a conference in London, organised by the Movement for the Abolition of War entitled ‘Save the Earth, Abolish War’. Below is a short report on the meeting.
Save the Earth, Abolish War
The first speaker was Peter van den Dungen of the International Network of Peace Museums, who referenced the title of a book he recently bought entitled ‘the end of the world generation’. He described as ‘diabolical’ and ‘the road to destruction’ the philosophy based on the theory ‘if you want peace, prepare for war’. He argued for the abolition of war and rejected the notion that it was not achievable – in the same way as people in the past rejected the notion that slavery could not be abolished; that women should not have the vote; that child labour was acceptable and that the dreadful practise of duelling was an honourable pursuit. Our ideas of right and wrong change, over time – and it is now well past time that the very idea of war was consigned to the dustbin of history.
The Second speaker was Dr Stuart Parkinson of Scientists for Global Responsibility, who outlined the impact of war and militarism on our Planet in clear and graphic terms.
Human activities emit GHGs and cause global heating and climate disruption.
60,000 US Military vehicles run at 6 miles to the gallon
F-35 fighter planes do 0.6 miles to the gallon – 100 times the pollution level of a new car
B-2 long range bomber does 0.3 miles to the gallon – 250 tonnes of C02e per ‘mission’3.2 million tonnes of CO2e emitted by UK military in one year – higher than the carbon emissions from Iceland
BAE Carbon emissions were 1.2 million tonnes of CO2e 2017/18
The pentagon is the world’s largest Institutional consumer of petroleum.
US military emits 59 million tonnes of CO2e
US arms industry emissions for 2017 – 280 million tonnes CO2e
War on terror has caused 3000 million tonnes of CO2e
Military responsible for at least 5 to 6% of emissions compared with cars which cause Cars 15%;
Farming 15%; Civilian airlines 3%
Reducing the military boot-print
US negotiators successfully argued for military carbon emissions to be excluded from targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol (Clinton Administration) but they were included under Paris agreement.
Military emissions are going downwards (slightly) under slogan “more fight – less fuel”.
Highlight the high military carbon bootprint
Highlight the huge imbalance between military and climate spending
Point out that security goals are better served by shift from military to climate spending
Make link between climate and peace (war)
Arms conversion – successful examples
Factory making windmills in Hull – Centre for Green industry in Hull – taking jobs from the military
Make war history
Shift to public transport
Shift towards plant –based farming and consumption
Afri is proud to host ‘Veterans for Peace’ Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff for a public meeting in the Teachers’ Club on Wednesday, July 17th at 7.30pm.
Donate now online using our secure iDonate service: https://www.afri.ie/donate/
The 2019 Walk will take place on Saturday, May 18th.
Registration and opening ceremony
1. Registration takes place in the local town hall in Louisburgh.
2. This will be followed by the opening ceremony, which will last approximately 20-25 minutes.
3. Shuttle buses will take participants to the start point, following the opening ceremony.
1. The walk is 11 miles (approx.), walkers should walk on the left-hand side.
2. A shuttle car will be available during the walk for anyone who gets into difficulty.
3. No parking is available at Delphi Lodge.
4. Dogs must be kept on a lead.
5. Portaloos are available along the route.
6. There will be a tea/coffee (no food) station at the half way mark (approx).
Sonia, ‘Sunny’ Jacobs and Peter Pringle are both death row survivors. Sunny was exonerated in 1993 after 17 years in Prison while Peter had his conviction quashed in 1995, having spent 14 years in prison. They met in Galway while campaigning against the death penalty and are now married and living in Connemara, where they’ve established The Sunny Centre to help other death row survivors and those who’ve been wrongfully convicted. They spoke at Afri’s Féile Bríde ‘Light out of Darkness’ in Kildare on February 3rd, 2018.
Bill to end offshore drilling licences passes first legislative hurdle
The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has described the Dáil vote in favour of the Climate Emergency Measures Bill on the 8th February 2018 as “historic”. The Bill, proposed by People Before Profit TD Brid Smith, would end the issuing of licences to explore for oil and gas in Irish waters. It passed the second stage debate and was referred to the Climate Action Committee by 78 votes to 48, with cross-party support emerging to overcome Government opposition to the Bill. (more…)
The Dunnes Stores anti-apartheid strike has become iconic in the pantheon of great acts of resistance around the world – but it wasn’t always so.
The young strikers had to endure hardship, rejection, demonization and more in the course of this extraordinary act of solidarity.
Mary Manning’s book, ‘Striking Back’ , written with Sinèad O’Brien not only provides a first-hand account of the strike from start to finish but also interweaves her own story – exemplifying her great courage and integrity – at a personal and political level.
Afri are proud to have supported the Dunnes Stores Strikers and to promote this excellent book by Mary Manning.
Afri’s focus on An Gorta Mór is about looking at causes and consequences and, especially at its relevance for today. The ‘Great Hunger’ had many causes, including colonialism, blind allegiance to laissez faire economics and loss of biodiversity leading to over-dependence on one variety of potato. These issues remain totally relevant today as, for example, ten large profit-driven corporations control the vast majority of the food we eat. It is in this context that Afri has been campaigning to highlight serious concerns around the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). Not only is this deal about further promotion of intensive agriculture, but most worryingly of all, it includes the toxic ‘Investor Court System’. This short film outlines some of the issues involved.
Below is a short film, made by RoJ, about the Standing Rock Water Protectors, following a visit by Chas Jewett to Dublin. To read more about Chas’ visit go here.
Press Release from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
After a decade-long effort by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and 72 years after their invention, on the 7th July 2017 states at the United Nations formally adopted a treaty which categorically prohibits nuclear weapons.
Until now, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction without a prohibition treaty, despite the widespread and catastrophic humanitarian consequences of their intentional or accidental detonation. Biological weapons were banned in 1972 and chemical weapons in 1992.
On adoption of the treaty, ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said:
“We hope that today marks the beginning of the end of the nuclear age. It is beyond question that nuclear weapons violate the laws of war and pose a clear danger to global security.
No one believes that indiscriminately killing millions of civilians is acceptable – no matter the circumstance – yet that is what nuclear weapons are designed to do.
Today the international community rejected nuclear weapons and made it clear they are unacceptable.
It is time for leaders around the world to match their values and words with action by signing and ratifying this treaty as a first step towards eliminating nuclear weapons.” (more…)
A protest took place today outside Government Buildings to coincide with the visit of Canadian Premier Trudeau. The protest was in opposition to the proposed EU Canadian Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement and to call for the rejection of the deal by the Irish Government.
The protest was organised by Comhlamh and supported by Afri and participants expressed concerns as to how CETA will compromise laws which protect health, the environment, and the rule of law in the EU.
Participants also urged the Government to hold off on any vote to ratify the deal until the European Court of Justice examines the legality of CETA under EU law. Protestors are particularly alarmed by the notorious Investment Arbitration System, included in the deal, which allows foreign big business to sue Governments when their actions impact on their profitability.
Chas Jewett, from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and Standing Rock Water protector, spoke in the Teacher’s Club on Monday evening at an event supported by Afri, Comhlamh, Feasta and Friends of the Earth. This public meeting was part of a tour around Ireland visiting Cork, Galway, Cloughjordan, Leitrim and Dublin. Chas is a tribal organiser who lives in Rapid City, South Dakota, and aims to encourage people to engage and mobilise.
Since 2016 the Standing Rock Reservation has been the scene of a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline which aims to bring oil from Canada into the US through Native American lands over fears of contamination of drinking water supplies. The existing Keystone 1 pipeline has leaked 26 times.
Chas spoke about the legacy issues of the 19th century treaties between the U.S. government and the First Nations people. In 1873 General Custer found gold in the Black Hills which led to people being moved – without compensation – and separated into various different reservations, one of which is the Standing rock reservation. (more…)
Date: Monday, June 26th
Standing Rock was a beacon of hope for the world where indigenous people from all over the United States came together to resist corporate power and protect the water that is their life. Chas Jewett is one of those protectors. This public meeting will draw out the links between the Standing Rock action and threats to water in Ireland and worldwide and the need to continue protecting our water and our planet.
Chas Jewett, Standing Rock Water Protector & Cheyenne River Sioux
Oisín Coghlan, Director, Friends of the Earth, Ireland
Speaker (tbc) from anti-fracking group, Love Leitrim
Organised by Afri, Comhlamh, Feasta and Friends of the Earth Ireland
31st May 2017
Afri has welcomed the completion of the Bill to ban fracking which today passed all stages in the Dáil and will now go to the Seanad. “This is a victory for people power and for community resistance”, according to Joe Murray. Afri would especially like to congratulate Love Leitrim who led this persistent, determined and successful campaign.
We also pay tribute to the community in Rossport for the part they played in this success as it was John Monaghan who first alerted the community in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, to the dangers of fracking and who urged the community to organise and resist.
Film by Dearbhla Glynn on fracking
Find out who is going on facebook here.
Chelsea Manning was never one to take the popular or easy route in life. The decision to release classified information that would rock the world of military secrecy and murder would lead to her vilification and brutalization. But Chelsea did it because she believed in the truth: ‘I want the people to see the truth…because without information you cannot make informed decisions.’
Afri became involved in the ‘Free Chelsea Manning’ campaign when peace activist Ciaron O’Reilly organised for Chelsea’s family, who have strong Irish connections in Kerry and Dublin, to make a visit to Ireland. We organised a programme of events including a public meeting in Trinity College attended by Chelsea’s mother, aunts and uncle and addressed by Chelsea’s aunt Sharon as well as by the former Guildford 4 member, Gerry Conlon.
That was an evening of deep emotion: Gerry Conlon, tragically no longer with us, spoke with his trademark passion, principle and anger at how legal and political systems in Britain had crushed his own life and extinguished the life of his father, Guiseppi Conlon. He praised the courage of Chelsea Manning and lamented the fact that there was no similarly brave whistle-blower in the British system when he and his father and Maguire relations were incarcerated on completely spurious charges.
As a result of that visit to Ireland, Donal O’Kelly was inspired to initiate the Manning Truthfest, consisting of artists, musicians and activists who crossed the Irish sea in the Spring of 2014 and 2015 and again in the Autumn of 2016 to sing songs and play music in solidarity with Chelsea and her Welsh-based family and to protest the inhumanity of the 35 year sentence imposed upon her. Afri was a central part of this extraordinary seaborne solidarity!
During one of those visits, Chelsea’s uncle Kevin, a life-long Manchester United supporter, said it would have been easier had Chelsea chosen any other name than that of a rival football club to mark her female identity! Chelsea never dodged difficult decisions…
The commutation of Chelsea’s sentence is perhaps the best thing that Barack Obama will have done in office. But Chelsea, together with tens of thousands of other US soldiers, should never have been in Iraq, where they have succeeded only in laying waste to the country and its people. And Chelsea should never have been in prison in the first place. (more…)
We are all overjoyed that Chelsea will soon be free.
Chelsea exposed wrongdoing and was punished for being a whistleblower. We regret that it has taken so long for President Obama to commute the sentence and are outraged that Chelsea has been forced to endure such abusive treatment in prison. We agree with the UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez that some of this abuse amounted to torture.
We sincerely hope that Chelsea will now be able to get on with the rest of her life and that she finds happiness and fulfilment in whatever she chooses to do. There will always be a welcome for her here in Wales.
As an organisation promoting justice and equality at home and abroad, Afri supports the ‘Home Sweet Home’ group who have taken over the empty Apollo house in central Dublin, in order to provide accommodation for homeless people. This is a sensible, generous and effective response to the homelessness crisis, and it has caught the imagination and garnered the support of tens of thousands of people throughout Ireland.
This action not only provides urgently needed accommodation for homeless people but it also shows up the scandal of policies pursued by successive governments, who have created this crisis by not providing sufficient social housing and by instead pandering to ‘developers’ and big business interests.
It also demonstrates the scandalous behaviour of NAMA, which has intensified the effects of the economic crash by selling properties to vulture funds instead of fulfilling the basic needs of people for housing and shelter.
People have grown weary of the hand-wringing about the issue of homelessness, often by those whose policies brought it about, and are invigorated by the sight of people taking practical action to address the crisis.
Short film of gathering outside Dáil Eireann on Thursday 15th December 2016, calling
for imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning to be pardoned.
Read more here.
With thanks to all those who sent in their photos and messages of solidarity and to RoJ for filming