#ParisAttacks – Time to work for Peace, not War…
Dáil Diary no 60 – 18 November 2015
The reaction to 9/11 by the US and its Western allies has resulted in death, destruction, untold misery and displacement for millions. All for what? For control of the Middle East region and beyond? For the promotion of the increasingly powerful Arms Industry? How can the Irish Government defend their complicity in all of this, by allowing Shannon to be used as a US Military Airbase, aiding the US in their mindless slaughter of so many innocent people. Yesterday, writing about the attack on Paris, Mehdi Hasan wrote –
“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see,” wrote Ayn Rand in her novel The Fountainhead. That there is a link, a connection, between the west’s military interventions in the Middle East and terrorist attacks against the west, that violence begets violence, is “glaringly evident” to anyone with open eyes, if not open minds.”
On the same day, Robert Fisk wrote “The French now boast that they have struck Isis’s Syrian “capital” of Raqqa 20 times – a revenge attack, if ever there was one. For if this was a serious military assault to liquidate the Isis machine in Syria, why didn’t the French do it two weeks ago? Or two months ago? Once more, alas, the West – and especially France – responds to Isis with emotion rather than reason, without any historical context, without recognising the grim role that our “moderate”, head-chopping Saudi “brothers” play in this horror story. And we think we are going to destroy Isis..”
Here’s my short contribution on the attacks on Paris in the Dáil yesterday –
“I too extend my sympathy and express solidarity in respect of all those killed in Paris last weekend. Nobody of a rational mind would try to justify what happened. It was beyond horrific. I have a niece who lives in Paris and has three small children. Five people were killed on her street. It was not a great place to be on Friday night. Twice I have been to one of the restaurants where people were killed with my niece and I can just picture the scene. It is just too bad for words.
While it is hard to talk about all this, it is also hard to explain what is wrong and how can this happen. The number of people now being killed by military hardware has gone off the Richter scale. The five largest exporters of arms over the past five years were the US, Russia, China, Germany and France. How many repressive and autocratic regimes in the Middle East region has France not sold arms to? That is a difficult question. It has sold arms to Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Pakistan.
Last Saturday morning, my niece said that for the first time in her life she got an idea of what it must be like to live in the Middle East. What happened in Paris happens there regularly. Can one imagine not being able to go to a concert, a restaurant or a bar for fear of being killed? This is what people in the Middle East face all the time. Last year, we gave permits for 190 tonnes of bullets to go to Afghanistan. I cannot imagine they did much good for peace. Since 2001, up to 2.5 million troops as well as huge quantities of military armoury have gone through Shannon Airport while huge amounts have flown over it. Yet, we are okay with that.
Over the past three days, shares in arms industry companies have, on average, gone up by 4%. It was a good weekend for them because it now looks like even more arms will be used. The French President, François Hollande, said, “We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless”. They, however, are already bombing ISIS and others. They are giving guns and arms to Saudi Arabia which is then giving them to ISIS, as are the United Arab Emirates. They will give arms and guns to anyone who will fight Assad. Western countries are arming both sides. We have created ISIS.
We are not going to defeat ISIS militarily. Only Iraq and Syria will eventually defeat it. ISIS wants France to react in a strong military fashion. It does not want us to take a peaceful position on this and to stop militarising the region. It does not want us to take a rational position on it. We are feeding ISIS with the whole militarisation of the region.”