Taking a Knee at Shannon
On Sunday June 14th we had a small peace vigil at Shannon Airport, in solidarity with victims of US violence everywhere. The airport continues to support that violence by allowing military planes to pass through on their way to and from war.
We also took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all the American people targeted by racism and violence in their own country. The brutal killing of George Floyd has shown police brutality and extrajudicial killing at its worst; we support our brothers and sisters in the US and all around the world who demand an end to this and to all forms of racism.
Outside the US, the country's militarised interventions around the world reflect a global disregard for the rights and humanity of people in other countries. Over the decades people in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America have suffered at the hands of the US/EU/NATO axis of domination. Operating as though they are above or immune to the international rule of law, there is ample evidence to indicate that the US is guilty of war crimes around the globe. Most recently the International Criminal Court (ICC) has found reason to believe war crimes have been committed by the US in Afghanistan. The Trump regime responded by imposing sanctions on court officials, blocking the assets of ICC employees and stopping them from entering the country.
To put what the US military are doing in Afghanistan, it is worth reading a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism which was published earlier this month. In it they say:
"In a sample of ten air strikes carried out by the US military and their Afghan allies on family compounds in the past two years, 115 people were killed, more than 70 of them children. The strikes share similar features, and similar outcomes; a pattern that repeats up and down the country.
In January of 2019, a strike in Helmand killed ten children. Two months later and hundreds of miles away in Nangarhar, ten young cousins lost their lives. The pattern continues: in July of that year, a farmer in Baghlan lost his wife and six children."
These, the report says, are just a handful of the thousands of strikes that have been recorded – the ones the Bureau has been able to investigate.
This is what Shannon and Ireland are supporting. War crimes for which the US leaders will not accept responsibility. Just like it won't accept responsibility for the killing of black Americans by its police.
As US troops and weapons transit through Shannon on an almost daily basis, we are also mindful of the fact that many of them come from bases like Fort Bragg in North Carolina that are named after Confederate officers. As noted in a New York Times article, these base names were agreed upon as part of broader accommodation in which the military embraced stringent segregation so as not to offend Southerners by treating African-Americans as equals. The names "represent not only oppression before and during the Civil War, but also state-sponsored bigotry after it".
We in Ireland owe it to African-Americans, to Afghans, to people all over the world, to stop supporting US violence and racism.
No justice without peace. No peace without an end to our complicity in war.