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News ::
Summit of the Hypocrites (english)
07 Apr 2003
President Dumbya arrived in Northern Ireland of all places today for a Summit of the Hypocrites. The agenda of the Bush-Blair meeting at Hillsborough Castle outside Belfast is to include besides the War on Iraq, the israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in Northern Ireland. Not surprisingly massive protests will greet him and his buddy Tony Blair as anti-war activists from throughout Ireland, and Britain are congregating in Belfast

Anti-war actions will include everything from boycotts of the visit by political and labor leaders to die ins. Anti-war organizer Davy Carlin says protesters from all over Ireland and Scotland will converge on Hillsborough at 6.00pm tonight. "We are calling on all the antiwar politicians not to meet Bush, we believe that after 30 years of war here it is ironic that they are coming to plot war while talking peace. Bush is cynically exploiting the peace process here to show himself as some sort of international statesman. There is no support for his war here and we want to tell him that, his visit is just blatant hypocrisy. Bush is talking peace while subjecting the people of Baghdad to an horrific war."

Ailsa Keane, development education officer for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, described the meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair as a "war summit". She added: "We acknowledge the role of past American administrations in the Northern Ireland peace process. But this administration has shown no shame. To hold a war summit in a city ravaged by conflict is the ultimate hypocrisy. We know that peace can only come through dialogue and Bush has shown a complete disregard for this. We have to question why he is visiting Belfast at this time. It is more to do with the widespread opposition to war in the UK. He thinks it is impossible to visit anywhere else in the UK without massive protest." Carmel Gates, president of the Nipsa trade union, added: "If our parties meet Bush they will be shaking hands with someone who has the blood of the Iraqi people on his hands. We are calling for all-inclusive protests. Bush has no right to use Northern Ireland as a platform. He has done nothing for the people of Northern Ireland."

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said this morning it was inappropriate to hold such a summit where the peace process would be addressed "in the margins…We would be wrong not to point it out ... the insensitivity… of having a war summit which then discusses peace in the margins, of having a war summit which appears to be trying to use the Irish peace process as a stage or as a prop," Adams said. "We're for peace in Ireland, we're for peace in Iraq, we're for peace in the Middle East and I certainly will look for the opportunity to convey that when I speak to Mr Bush. I have no problem meeting him of course on the issue of peace in Ireland but I do see a contradiction in both the British and US position."

The leader of the nationalist SDLP Mark Durkan also expressed disquiet about the war summit in Belfast being combined with discussions on the Irish peace process. However, Durkan confirmed that he would be leading his party into the round table discussion with US President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Taoiseach Mr Ahern on the peace process tomorrow. Durkan said: "What I'm uneasy about is this mixed summit - co-locating discussions about the war in Iraq with discussions about our peace process.... I am determined to take part in whatever talks there are about our situation but I'm not going to be dishonest or hypocritical enough to pretend that I do not have misgivings about the circumstances in which they are taking place," Durkan said.

However, many in Northern Ireland think nationalist leaders should boycott the meetings. Paul O’Connor of the Derry based Pat Finucane Center said he would try to ensure nationalist politicians did not attend the meeting. "Gerry Adams and Mark Durkan aren’t going to want to arrive on the back of a huge PSNI (Police Services of Northern Ireland) baton charge. If they insist on attending this meeting, we will do our damnedest to ensure they can’t get there," he said.

In Derry the Derry Anti-War Coalition has called for mass walkouts from schools and workplaces tomorrow in protest at the Bush visit. A spokesman said: "As the world witnesses unprecedented levels of barbarity and brutality perpetrated by US and British forces in Iraq, the Derry Anti-War Coalition believes it to be a staggering hypocrisy that a man of war should come to this country to masquerade as a peacemaker."

Ulster Unionists, meanwhile, were said to be considering a pro-war rally to demonstrate their loyalty to the British military.
Sources: Andersontown News, Belfast Telegraph, Irish American Information Service, Irish Republican News and Information

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