The Blanket

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Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

- John F. Kennedy


The Wicked Never Rest

Anthony McIntyre


As a result of our work with the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign we drove from Belfast to Dublin on a cloudless but cold Saturday morning to take part in a protest aimed at highlighting and ultimately helping to stop Israeli state terrorism in the Middle East. Earlier in the week we had, in the somewhat inflated account of one newspaper, 'stormed' the American Consulate in Belfast in opposition to continued US support for the rogue state of Israel. The Saturday before saw us on the march through Belfast city centre to the City Hall in a public display of anger at an ever-growing vortex of savagery in occupied Palestine into which humanity and sentiment are being sucked and crushed as this savage war of pitilessness continues to grind the animate innocent beneath the inanimate wheels of tanks manned by the guilty. The capacity of these mechanical monsters for compassion as non-existent as that of the Julius Striecher type tyrant who despatched them.

Our Belfast march gave a cosmopolitan tinge to Donegal Place as people of different colours, cultures and religions blended together in contrast to the virtually white pavement rooted pedestrian population that stopped to gaze at us, take our leaflets and shout support. I was reminded of Hector Bolitho's endearing little phrase from A Summer in Germany, 'Fences are good for animals but not for human beings'.

In Dublin, I felt that the Gardai were going to need fences to ensure we did not stray off the pavement into the path of oncoming traffic. Gathered at the Bank of Ireland in Dame Street our numbers multiplied due to an influx of interested Dubliners straining to hear the speakers. Those of us at the back were forced onto the road by the bulging crowd to the annoyance of those guards trying to hold the line between passing cars and protestors. But there was no animosity, just a businesslike preoccupation. The proceeding march to O'Connell Street saw even more people join the throng as the thoroughfare became adorned in flags of red, black, white and green. Palestine was being inserted into the public consciousness of Dublin. Massed in its main street those pressing home their ethical resistance challenged the media to remove its own ethical blinkers.

And such blinkers seem to come with the turf. It was all too evident in London when we brought traffic to a standstill in support of the Turkish hunger strikers almost a year and a half ago - and the hunger strike still goes on against a backdrop of virtual media quiescence. In the very city in which we were now on the march, only a matter of months ago, the media paid scant attention to a large rally, again in support of those on hunger strike in Turkey. Perhaps the olive tinge to the skin of the slain and the starving helped create, unconsciously or otherwise, a 'we see whites only' mentality. An intellectual apartheid all the more invidious because it is piloted by an ethereal stealth while consciousness sleeps.

On our way to the Israeli Embassy we passed a small group of Hari Krishna sitting on a Grafton Street kerb playing music and murmuring as if in prayer. The thought crossed my mind that while a legitimate form of activity it has as much capacity to change anything as the pub socialists of Belfast. The latter spout rhetoric about 'bourgeois liberalism' and 'revolutionary proletariats' from their bar stools while monotonously but endlessly enjoining the rest of us with sore feet to mobilise the organised working class. Less pleasant to listen to than our kerbside companions in flowing orange saris, they give new meaning to Sartre's Being and Nothingness - being so full of nothingness. The thought was all the more pronounced as a result of having read a Guardian piece at the beginning of the week in which an international business lawyer from Scotland, Rory MacMillan, said 'I decided to use my Easter holidays to come out with a group to dig up road-blocks and block tanks in the occupied territories'. He and others risked their lives to prevent Israeli troops capturing or killing Palestinians or harassing poor families. Viewed through a glass of red wine it would appear just another sentimental dose of liberalism. Maybe lacking the moral fibre or elbow grease required to quaff down another pint for the revolution he, nevertheless, won the admiration of those of us gingerly tramping back across Dublin city centre to our ragtag means of transport home.

The embassy had been picketed, the Israeli flag torched, the solitary protester in the tree outside showered with greetings of solidarity, our work had been done - but only for the day. I had hardly arisen from my bed the following morning when the chair of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign phoned. There was something else to be done. There is always is, there always will be. The Israeli onslaught never stops, never sleeps. And if we are to help prevent it, neither can we. There is no rest for the wicked or for those who oppose them.


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