Friday, June 4, 2010

Calling on Irish diaspora: speak out for Gaza

MV Rachel Corrie due to reach Gaza within hours

Former UN Official Urges Irish-Americans to Defend the Rachel Corrie
Truthout: Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday... called on Irish-Americans to lobby the Obama administration [send email letter]...'We also feel there is a role for the Irish diaspora here, in the US and elsewhere, to lobby politicians over this continued illegal blockade of Gaza, which is causing such hardship to the Palestinian people.'...

The issue of the Gaza blockade has tremendous resonance in Ireland, partly because of Ireland's high degree of engagement in international humanitarian causes -- John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, who had called on the international community to break the siege by sending ships loaded with aid, is also Irish -- but also, of course, because the Irish people have some experience with the consequences for civilians of a colonial blockade.

Between 1945 and 1850, more than a million Irish people starved to death under British rule, while, as Sinead O'Connor famously noted, food was shipped out of Ireland under armed guard. A million more fled Ireland to escape starvation, many to America... Many Irish people -- and Irish-Americans -- take the responsibility of this legacy very seriously.

Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, and former UN high commissioner for human rights, has said: 'The best possible commemoration of the men and women who died in that Famine, who were cast up on other shores because of it, is to take their dispossession into the present with us, to help others who now suffer in a similar way."
Image source here.