Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mairead Corrigan Maguire - still campaigning, injured, but are Media interested?

MAIREAD CORRIGAN (left), and (below)
with Irish Ploughshares campaigners who disabled a US warplane en route for Iraq.

MAIREAD CORRIGAN MAGUIRE has been injured by a rubber bullet and tear gas fired by Israeli Border Police, while taking part in a protest at Bil'in against
Israel's annexation wall.
REMEMBER the name? Time was the British and Irish media could not get enough of her. As Mairead Corrigan she was co-founder with Betty Williams of Women for Peace, after three children of her sister Anne Maguire were knocked down and killed by a car driven by IRA man Danny Lennon, who was shot dead by pursuing British soldiers.

Anne Maguire later committed suicide. Mairead and Betty Williams succeeded in bringing 30,000 women on to the streets of Belfast, calling on Republicans and Loyalists to abandon violence and seek to educate themselves for a better way.

Women for Peace became the Community for Peace People, and gained worldwide attention. The movement eventually lost support however. People in the Catholic community particularly, began to doubt what could be achieved by purely peaceful means, and accuse the Peace People of focussing too much on the violence of the oppressed, the Republican side, while doing nothing to stop the violence of the loyalists and British state forces.

Maybe the enthusiasm of the media for the Peace People did more to harm their credibility than enhance it. But Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams were rewarded with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1976, though incurring more criticism for keeping the money. Mairead became Mairead Corrigan Maguire, having married her sister's widower. She also began to take up other causes, in line with her beliefs, and quest for peace.
She met with Israeli nuclear whisteblower and long-time prisoner Mordechai Vanunu. She took part with Betty Williams in founding the Women's Nobel Initiative, along with Iranian women's rights campaigner Shirin Ebadi, US anti-landmine campaigner Jody Williams, Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai and other Nobel laureates. Burmese opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would have been with them had she not been jailed by the military.
Not all the causes with which Mairead Corrigan Maguire has been associated are ones we might support. As a Catholic she has given her support to "Pro-Life" anti-abortionists.
But what mostly strikes me is that the more Mairead's horizons have widened to take in the world-wide quest for peace and human rights, the narrower the media interest in her activities has shrunk. For the pictures above and reports with them I had to scan the internet, visiting the sites of the Nobel Women's Initiative and the Irish Indymedia respectively.
Last week Mairead Corrigan Maguire was attending the international conference on popular struggle held in Bil'in, occupied Palestine, whose proceedings were broadcast on the internet (see earlier posting,
That this conference was being held at all, hosted by a people who have been under a 40-year long military occupation, should have been news. So should the weekly confrontations between Bil'in villagers, with their Palestinian, Israeli and international supporters, trying to hold peaceful demonstrations, and the occupying Israeli forces responding with rubber bullets and tear gas.
But if the corporate media rarely considers injuries to Palestinians or even Israeli peace activists worth a mention, you might think they would say something when a distinguished international figure is hurt? Well, so far all I have seen is the report below, forwarded from the Israeli online news YNet (I've forwarded it on to people in the UK and Irish media, so we'll give them a chance):

Nobel peace laureate Corrigan injured in anti-fence protest
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan was treated for injury in leg sustained by rubber bullet
Ali Waked
04.20.07, 16:47 / Israel News YNet

Nobel Peace Prize Mairead Corrigan has been injured during confrontations between security forces and left-wing activists protesting the security fence route near Bilin, activists said.
Corrigan, who won the prize in 1976 for her work in encouraging a peaceful solution to the Northern Ireland dispute, was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet and was transferred to a hospital for treatment. She was also said to have inhaled large quantities of teargas.

Policemen and soldiers used teargas grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the routine Friday protest against the security fence near the Palestinian village of Bilin and were confronted by a hail of stones.
Two Border Guard policemen were lightly injured by stones.

The security forces say the area where activists hold their protest is a no-access military zone which they have to evacuate of Palestinian and Israeli protesters every Friday.
Activists say the fence route near Bilin was designed to expropriate Palestinian farm land which will be used to expand a Jewish settlement in the area.
Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti and Deputy Prime Minister Assam al-Ahmad also took part in the protest.

"I salute the residents of Bilin for their peaceful struggle in a region that is so violent, and I call on the Israeli public, whom I know is for justice and peace, to support the residents' struggle," Corrigan told Ynet.

Tito Kayak was also there "I want to say that this separation wall, contrary to what the Israeli say, will not prevent attacks and violence. What will prevent attacks and violence is a peace agreement between the two peoples, and I'm sure the Israeli people, like the Palestinian people, want peace," Corrigan added.
Puerto Rican peace activist Tito Kayak climbed a tower on which the army had planted security cameras and hoisted a Palestinian flag.
"All I did was to express my identification with the villagers against the wall which is believed to be evil and illegal by the whole world and many leaders like Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, and the United Nations," Kayak said.
Kayak, who was arrested in 2000 for climbing to the top deck of the Statue of Liberty in New York, was apprehended along with six other activists by policemen.
Kayak was a key figure in the 1999 Navy-Vieques protests in Puerto Rico against the US Navy's use of the Vieques Island for bombing exercises. The protests forced the US to end its activities on the Island.

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At 4:15 AM, Anonymous Cindy Smith said...


My Colleagues and I are appalled to learn about the shocking shooting incident perpetrated by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

We wish you a speedy recovery and offer our full support to your ongoing campaign against the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by the Israelis.

In peace

Cindy Smith
Human Rights Coordinator
Creating A Sustainable Future (CASF)


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