A Decade of War - Remembering the Victims

Shannon Town Councillor Greg Duff and former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq Denis Halliday at the October 9th demonstration in Shannon.

Around 50 people gathered in Shannon on Sunday 9th October to remember the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by the US. Thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed since the invasion on Oct 7th 2001, and millions have been displaced from their homes. Corruption is rife, and the country has no effective infrastructure. 

The protestors called on the Irish government to end its support for the failed occupation of a country that has had three decades of armed conflict. Ireland has been involved from the start, with over 600 US troops a day still going to and from Afghanistan through Shannon Airport.

Despite the wet October weather, the peaceful protest continued for an hour. People lined the road on the way into the airport with signs denouncing Shannon's role in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as its involvement in the US renditions programme. All the while Gardai blocked access to the airport itself, but did not engage directly with the protesters.

John Lannon of Shannonwatch reminded the assembled protestors of the present Irish government's promise to enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law. The commitment was made as part of the Programme for Government but to date no action has been taken to end - or even to reduce - the US military use of Shannon Airport.

"The Irish government should send a strong message to the international community that they will not support unilateral, military action by the US or any other government." said Lannon. "And they can do this by ending the US army's use of Shannon immediately."

Data released last year by Wikileaks showed 24,498 deaths in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2009. Over 4,000 of them were civilians caught up in the conflict. Shannonwatch would have liked to remember the individual lives lost but the names of the thousands who died are not reported by the Western media. "The Afghan people killed during the last decade of US occupation are reduced to statistics, not remembered as men, women and children whose loved ones grieved for them - just as the families of the US soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan grieve." said John Lannon at the start of the demonstration. "Today we remember them as victims of a war that has gone on for far too long". 









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