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War, Peace and Justice

Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú:  I am glad to have the opportunity to touch on an item on which I believe we should clarify our standing. We should be proactive in our position on global terrorism, as evident from some of the contributions in the Seanad each time there is an atrocity underpinned by the type of depravity seen in Paris. We should not feel that we are outside the loop in terms of responsibility.

I recall a debate in the House during the bombing of Iraq. A very vulgar title was given to that campaign - "shock and awe". It is estimated that tens of thousands of men, women and children were killed during that campaign. At the time a number of Senators spoke. I recall saying I believed what we were doing there would spawn a whole new generation of terrorists. World powers are now competing with each other to bomb opposing factions in Syria.  One can only imagine the carnage left behind when all of this is over. We can be pretty sure it will spawn a further generation of terrorists.

We have had many debates on the Palestinian situation, and we know thousands of people were slaughtered by Israel in Palestine. It was allowed to do so with absolute impunity and was able to get away with it, even though it was suggested by spokespeople in the United Nations that Israel could be held responsible for war crimes. In recent months, Israeli forces have killed 71 people, including young babies. What do we expect the outcome of this to be? In addition to the killings, it has devastated completely the infrastructure in Palestine. People can barely survive at present. Recently I spoke to a medical specialist in Dublin who is from Palestine. He goes back to visit his family. He said he has to psych himself up for days before he goes and he must psych himself up again when he comes back. He said one could not believe what is happening out there.

There is an opportunity for people in Ireland, particularly at Government level, to be more proactive in our response to human rights abuses. At the end of the day, moderates are being sidelined in this. One wonders where the great diplomats of the past have gone. Where are the peacemakers? All we are using at present is the language of war and the act of war, and innocent people, as happened in Paris and in so many other cases, are losing their lives. We will have more of it, because the people doing this cannot be reasoned with, but we can reason with those who are moderate and we must bring the moderates back into the circle.

 

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