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Basta / Action And Worth Reading

United Kingdom
Northern Ireland

new internationalist
issue 255 - May 1994

Would it – would it ever be
Year One again?
not that nondate no never
though in the end we agreed
to launch a reverse epic
in our chosen mode –
performance art
so krangg! brumpfff! schlump!
we took out the punishment block
the romper room
those wet black lanes
with sledges and crowbars
– it was a bop a real rave
as we chucked the grey
claggy remains
into a dozen skips
– our solid cheers as they swung
up onto truck after truck
our cheers rollicked the hillside
but is it credible
that by such thin threads
the great Leviathan was suspended
like the big weight to an eight-day clock?

– if you’ve seen armies hightailing it
out of dead land and desert
if you’ve heard people hurrah
as the remnants hurtle
over a golden bridge
then you know the score
you see that the historians
can say no more
they can’t ever believe
how below the dust and bits
– below the snapped electrodes
what we found was simply
a green field site
its grass almost liquid
like duckweed or cress
– so we waded right into
that watery plain
that blue blue ocean
and started diving and lepping
like true whales in clover


Most of the responsibility for action on Northern Ireland inevitably falls to British people (see below). In addition to contacting the organizations listed here, subscribers in other countries can protest about the human-rights situation there through your local branch of Amnesty International, which has just produced a damning report called United Kingdom: Political Killings in Northern Ireland.

AOTEAROA/NEW ZEALAND Information on Ireland: PO Box 90132, Auckland; PO Box 9579, Wellington; PO Box 1905, Christchurch; PO Box 6141, Dunedin. Produces a bi-monthly magazine.

AUSTRALIA Australian Aid for Ireland, GPO Box 327, Sydney, NSW 2001.
Tel: Paddy Gorman (02) 9267 1035 or (0418) 116 426. Stephen Lawler - Secretary 0411 559 149
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://sinnfein.ie/fosf/australia

CANADA Irish Freedom Association, PO Box 171, Station F, Toronto, Ont M4Y 2L5.
Trade Unionists for the MacBride Principles
, 177 Edgemount Street S, Hamilton, V5K 4W6.
Irish Solidarity Committee
, PO Box 69472, Station K, Vancouver BC V5K 4W6. Comité Quebéc-Irlande, BP126, Station A, Montréal, QC H2T 1R9.
Canadian-Irish Peace Alliance, 328 Gainsville Avenue, Unionville, Ont L3R 1W8.

UNITED STATES US campaigners have been responsible for successfully countering employment discrimination in Northern Ireland by persuading people not to invest in companies not abiding by the MacBride Principles, a set of equal opportunities guidelines for companies working in Northern Ireland. This is a textbook case of how internationalist action can work wonders.

The MacBride Principles, c/o Pat Doherty, Office of the State Comptroller, Bureau of State Expenditures Contract Section, Albany, NY 12236
Tel: (518) 474-3488
Web: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/

American Protestants for Truth about Ireland, 104 E Main Street, Lansdale, PA 19446-2519.

Campaigns are currently under way to:
[image, unknown] abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act
[image, unknown] bring about the prosecution of British Army and RUC members guilty of unlawful killing – only four soldiers have ever been successfully prosecuted for killings committed on duty
[image, unknown] end radiation emissions from military installations and equipment
[image, unknown] end the UK ban on broadcasting the voices of members of Sinn Fein and ten other Irish organizations (the Irish Republic lifted its similar ban on Sinn Fein in January)
[image, unknown] end strip-searching of women prisoners

The best organization to contact (at least as a starting-point) in relation to these campaigns is Liberty (formerly the National Council of Civil Liberties), 21 Tabard Street, London SE1 4LA. Liberty works closely with the main independent civil-liberties group in Northern Ireland, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), which produces authoritative reports on human-rights issues as well as a monthly bulletin called Just News. CAJ can be reached at 45 Donegal Street, Belfast BT1 2FG.

New Consensus, 22 Westwood Avenue, Middlesbrough TS5 5PY is a cross-party group aiming to raise awareness about the need for peace. The Troops Out campaign can be reached at PO Box 2803, London N5 1TN. Irish in Britain Representation Group, c/o 8 Archway Mall, London N19 5RG.

Worth reading on... NORTHERN IRELAND
An excellent starting-point is the Northern Ireland File, an information pack produced by the National Peace Council, 88 Islington High Street, London N1 8EG. Two independent magazines well worth reading are: Fortnight (a monthly despite its name), 7 Lower Crescent, Belfast BT7 1NR; and The Irish Reporter, Box 3159, Dublin 6, Ireland.

Ten Men Dead by David Beresford (Grafton 1987) is a gripping read which gives the inside story of the 1981 republican hunger strike. Big Boys’ Rules by Mark Urban (Faber 1992) profiles the role and attitudes of the British Army’s élite SAS squad in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland: The Political Economy of Conflict by Bob Rowthorn and Naomi Wayne (Polity 1988) is an analysis of the economic dimensions of the problem but also an argument for Irish reunification. A History of Ulster by Jonathan Bardon (The Blackstaff Press 1992) is a long but entertaining account from prehistory onwards of the nine counties of Ulster (rather than the six counties of Northern Ireland). Liz Curtis’s Nothing But the Same Old Story (Information on Ireland) is a very visual explanation of the roots of anti-Irish prejudice in Britain. A Citizens’ Inquiry edited by Andy Pollak (Lilliput 1993) is the report of the independent Opsahl Commission containing a wide variety of submissions from across Ireland.

US readers might start with More Than The Troubles by Lynne Shivers and David Bowman, available from New Society, 4722 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143.

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New Internationalist issue 255 magazine cover This article is from the May 1994 issue of New Internationalist.
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