of Irelands leading human rights campaigners
and best known political figures of the last fifty
years was deported on Friday past (21st February)
from the USA. Immigration officials at Chicago airport
detained and then deported the legendary civil rights
activist ostensibly on the grounds that Mrs McAliskey
poses a threat to US security.
absurd notion that Bernadette McAliskey is any danger
to the United States or any of its citizens is ridiculous.
Only the regime currently in the White House would
attempt to justify such a ridiculous idea. Mrs McAliskey
has, of course, often been a trenchant critic of the
US Government and its employees but only ever in that
they were abusing the rights and dignity of its own
or other people. In fact many liberal Irish Americans
are now rather proud of the stand Bernadette McAliskey
took in the late 1960s when she visited the
US and identified herself with the cause of civil
rights for the Afro-American community in the States.
McAliskey is without doubt an exceptionally capable
orator and is also a remarkably clear political thinker.
She has therefore a huge ability to identify and castigate
the politically intolerable. In a situation where
jingoism and hyperbole have replaced logic, Bernadette
has a gift for exposing the charlatan and discomfiting
says a lot about the current United States, that it
has joined that unlovely list of regimes that has
been or is now afraid to hear any criticism or even
risk hearing criticism of itself. The worlds
only super power is unwilling even to risk hearing
itself criticised by a voice that would not have accessed
any mainstream media outlet is no longer a flag bearer
for democracy and it might not be much longer before
it becomes a threat to it.
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