Over the last year or so I have chilled, not so
much because I had wanted to, but more especially
because I had needed to. Indeed over recent time
I have seen a sea change both within oneself and
within ones lifestyle. This as I am set now to return
to College and University in the form of gaining
additional educational qualifications, as well as
continuing the self education of a world around
me I now appreciate in real terms, and breathe in
nature, the environment, and all such things. I
am also into sports and healthy eating and living,
and such things ascend well above the materialist
and consumerist society that is now embracing our
move from war to peace.
such a materialist and 24hr consumerist society
seems an integral part of that process.
over recent time I have also found other interests,
such as enjoying the study of local and international
history, through to becoming more art and architecture
appreciative, and indeed dare I say even more cultured,
that is, in the artistic sense of course.
appreciation has been, and is highlighted during
the West Belfast festival where one can drown in
the host of cultural and other events provided,
where there is something to whet every one's appetite.
such facilities and resources will be provided to
ensure such events are not just yearly or at Xmas
etc, but will be an integral and essential part
of post conflict development for such working class
communities which are working to provide such.
as I chill I still always get reminders of my life
of activism and that of my youth growing up within
the war. Recently I had been contacted in relation
to having been flown to London to be interviewed,
again, as part of Black history month. Then I had
been contacted in relation to being made a Patron
of a human rights organisation, while having also
been contacted in relation to a possible award from
a University in the US.
me I had always thought that those abroad actually
take a great interest in activism here, and although
awards and such mean little to oneself, it does
though nevertheless show that some recognise the
work campaigners and activists are putting in here.
More especially it provides an additional platform
to get the issue or the campaign to an even wider
in recent time I have been surprised that such instances
of activism here had been more recorded that I had
initially thought, as it has become more visible.
Yet maybe it is but a simple matter of one visiting
more venues and events than I recently had done.
recent months I had had the privilege of seeing
a large picture of myself in full voice on the march
through Belfast city centre. The picture had hit
you each time as soon as you had walked through
the front doors of Belfast City Central Library
and was part of a photographic display of 'faces
and places of Belfast', I believe. The public libraries
I have always believed and stated, are an essential
part of providing an avenue of self-education and
of empowering local communities, and I am fortunate
that my local library has many facilities and is
therefore well utilised.
my partner and I had visited on a recent regular
basis the Ulster Museum and again had seen a picture
of one in youth. The Museum is now closing for refurbishment
and upgrading but had begun to add new features
and archives of Irish history in recent times.
had also visited events and I had attended meetings
in South and East Belfast and on occasions in Loyalist
and Protestant working class areas had again seen
oneself and others, organising and in activist agitation
both in photos around the walls, or on film.
as I had sat in a café in central Belfast
and had lifted up a brochure and had seen my face
in another photo on yet another issue marching through
Belfast, I had thought of how fortunate it was that
we could actually protest and march.
course in recent years I had been on various protests
that had been baton charged, gassed, water cannoned,
attacked by right wing paramilitaries and plastic
bullets fired at us, while in younger years had
witnessed live rounds being fired and bombs etc.
on thinking about such I had thought yet again of
the sheer terror and turmoil that was increasing
in the Middle East. Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan,
Iraq, and of those protests against such, and the
responses by Israel, the USA and the like.
on that matter, I had then with key members of the
IPSC headed our march off through Belfast streets
(the first such Anti War march in years), before
oneself making calls at the end for the re-vitalising
of the Anti War Movement.
we had went from this overwhelmingly West Belfast
and left march in make up, through to a Rally a
short time later that had seen mobilised the 'Collective
representation of the local Movement' not seen against
War in many a year.
but several hundred strong it nevertheless would
provide both the essential building block and the
momentum to large scale mobilisation if done correctly.
so in the lead up to, and through activists delivering
this, I knew that such Momentum created would move
others to bring others onboard, and so, came the
calls of the Stop the War Coalition now backed by
was as I had thought and as I had sought, this from
a few weeks prior as I had once again returned to
hand out leaflets with five members of the Belfast
Anti War Movement (SWP).
knew that we needed large scale mobilisation to
really get our message out, the IPSC, ARN and DAWC
could mobilise so many, with the BAWM, in real terms,
having little respect and support and had mobilised
nothing in years (another reason as to why the StWc
was to be reborn).
what was needed was the momentum created and also
worked in the background, as so the StWc backed
by ICTU could be moved into life - and it was,
through both understanding a mindset and through
creating with genuine activists that momentum, visible
will go into this in greater depth in a third part
of my anti-war articles for The Blanket shortly).
reason for the mobilisations was due to the terror
and brutality increasing in the Middle East. While
Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine see still the slaughter
of innocence and in some cases an increase of such,
the Israeli Government had also decided to attack
Lebanon, with the backing of the USA who has let
them run riot.
has seen over a thousand people slaughtered with
the overwhelming majority of such being civilians,
and from Lebanon. This has been coupled with the
destruction of the countries infrastructure that
runs into billions, roads, factories, bridges, buildings,
all demolished with the rhetoric of 'precision bombing'
and 'collateral damage'. Yet we have seen civilians
mowed down as they try to flee the turmoil and more
men, women and children slaughtered as they had
huddled together in fear, but had thought, in safety.
The sheer brutality and barbarity of it shows still
little chance of ease.
had all started (we are told) because Hezbollah
had captured two Israeli soldiers, yet this situation
has merited in the Israeli eyes the ongoing destruction
of Lebanon and seeking the destruction of Hezbollah.
The destroying of Hezbollah though will not happen
as Hezbollah is much more than a military organisation,
it is also rooted and supported within the local
civilian population. Indeed, many in the region
who had not before looked to such are now chanting
their name on the streets and are supportive of
the resistance they are putting up against the might
of the Israeli War machine. Couple this with the
continual destruction of a country and the slaughter
of the innocents, then the Israelis therefore are
creating more and more who would and will get actively
involved in such organisations. As like in Ireland
in recent decades there are many who will be driven
into such organisations as a way to hit back against
this ongoing slaughter and indeed, in many eyes,
they would have that right to resist.
is not to say that all actions taken by Hezbollah
are right; indeed the attacks on Israeli civilians
are as counterproductive and feeds also into the
Israeli propaganda machine. Despite the support
for the Israeli offensive from the majority of its
population, we have though also seen some protests
by citizens of Israel against this, yet some on
the left write off totally any such working class
resistance coming from within Israel. Indeed I had
read of the same in relation to Ireland when some
had called for the Catholics of the North to unite
with Catholics in the South, indeed this is little
more than religious Nationalism.
US backing of Israel will not be of surprise to
many as their own Imperialist pursuits sees Israel
as an integral part of that within the region, indeed
one just has to look at the history off the region
and the wars and battles played out for that interest
of the Imperialist powers. The US though is not
as strong as it was and is also tied down in other
insurgencies and Wars within the region, despite
that, that is not to say that many within the present
US administration have not also their eyes on Iran
and Syria. Couple this with the rise of economies
such as China and the election of Left leaning Governments
(and Movements) in Latin America (of yet the US
have not, as had previously done made a more determined
approach to deal with) shows in part weakness, but
also a willingness to attempt to re-assert their
despite the pressure, countries though from Iran
to Latin America are not bowing to US pressure,
at this time. Indeed such other minor powers in
the Middle East may very well lend covert support
to the resistance Fighters. Anger is growing in
the Arab world as they watch men, women and children
slaughtered, seemingly as the world looks on. Such
anger is also evidenced within many other citizens
of the world who are taking to the streets against
this. Yet the Imperialist powers are not stupid;
they will use whatever tactics they can to play
on people's fears, as they had done before to attempt
to demobilised any such protest movements that questions
en-masse what they are doing.
we need to mobilise en masse against this slaughter,
we should also acknowledge that the power to change
such lies from within the regimes, both Arab and
Israeli. Yes, Nationalism is strong, may it be in
the Arab world to stand against such slaughter or
within Israel to continue with such an offensive.
That does not mean that therein does not lay in
large part the power to also bring this to an end.
issue of this attack on Lebanon must also be tied
to the issue of Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and
Iran and Syria. We must also acknowledge (as is
the history of such Anti War Movements) that while
seeking mass mobilisation that many other tactics
need to be both embraced and utilised as so to attempt
to bring the barbarity and brutality of War and
such Imperialist ventures to an end. This means
working with ALL, who have a starting point of opposing
this slaughter, may it be trade unions, church groups,
liberals through to Revolutionaries, Socialist and
Anarchists. Yet within that to put our words while
at the forefront in actions as to how we believe
all such wars can be ended, to do otherwise is but
to stand at the side and to live in ones own purist
and isolated utopian world.
so, to that end, and fundamentally, that means that
the system that creates such wars must in tandem
be challenged at its very core.