right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken
Nine years ago a military coup by the Algerian armed forces ousted the country's president and contemptuously dismissed Algeria's only democratic election. Since then as many as 200,000 people may have been butchered.
Malika Matoub, the sister of the singer Lounčs Matoub, who was assassinated in 1998 recently said of the Algerian military that 'they shoot unarmed people. They fire at balconies, on children. We are pacifists and will remain so'.
The Italian judge Ferdinando Imposimato, who investigated the 1978 assassination of the former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro and the 1981 attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, has written that 'there has always been a hidden centre of power in Algeria ... It has acted with extreme cynicism to shape the course of events. It has locked up society, it has liquidated opponents, within and outside the system.'
He points out that in spite of such, at the start of this year the European Union gave Algeria euro 8,000,000 to assist in 'international co-operation in the anti-terrorist struggle'. The aid was made without any reference to human rights.
We support the call made by French and North African writers, artists and human rights activists for an international commission of inquiry into the appalling situation that exists in Algeria. We also call on those with the ability in Ireland to raise the matter at the highest level. The experience of Rwanda should remind us that self-serving and calculated silence is a fertile breeding ground for genocide. What role does Ireland want to play in a European Union that helps finance atrocity?
To contact the Blanket project with a comment, to contribute an article, or to make a donation, write to: