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For Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan & Human Equality – Stop the Royal Visit!

04/07/10

Another great ideaEarlier this month, Brian Cowen confirmed that Fianna Fáil and the Green Party are to invite the head of the British state on a state visit to the Twenty-Six Counties. While those who support a visit by the self-styled ‘British Queen’ will attempt to portray it as a routine visit nothing could be further from the truth. There are many reasons to oppose a visit by the British head of state. Here are just some.

For Ireland:
The British state continues to claim legal jurisdiction over six Irish counties. The counties of Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone are as much a part of Ireland as the other twenty-six counties. Britain’s occupation forces in Ireland include 5,000 combat troops, 9,000 paramilitary police and 100s of MI5 operatives. All of these forces are loyal to the British head of state and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces – one Elizabeth Windsor who styles herself as ‘the British Queen’. Where else in the world would a government even consider inviting the head of state of an occupying power on a state visit?

The British state continues to commit human rights abuses across the Six Counties. Such abuses include the firing of plastic bullets at unarmed civilians, the use of 28-day detention, the illegal ‘stop and search’ of tens of thousands of people, the suppression of peaceful political protests and the ‘big brother’ style surveillance of the population, including the illegal retention of fingerprints and DNA information on innocent people, including children.

The British state has never held its own forces to account for the murders that they have directly committed in Ireland. What signal would a British state visit send to the families of those people who died at the hands of the British army and the RUC? To those who lost loved ones on Bloody Sunday; to those whose family members died in the Ballymurphy Massacre; to those parents who buried children killed by plastic bullets, what signal does a state visit by Elizabeth Windsor send?

The British state continues to block all attempts to establish the truth about collusion between the British state and the unionist death squads. Such collusion resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people in atrocities that spanned at least four decades. Britain refuses to reveal its role in the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, the murders of solicitors Pat Finucane, Rosemay Nelson and hundreds of other incidents of collusion. What signal would a state visit by the British head of state send to the families of the victims of collusion?

It has been estimated that a visit by the British head of state may cost a minimum of €10 million [£8.2 million]. How can such a massive expenditure be justified by the Dublin government at a time when hospital wards are being closed, class sizes are being increased and social welfare is being cut? It seems the Dublin government would rather spend the people’s money on bank bail outs and royal visits than on public services.

Commander-in-Chief of Britain's armed forcesBy opposing a British state visit, you stand in support of the struggle for Irish freedom and in solidarity with all of those who have suffered at the hands of Britain's official and unofficial death squads.

For Afghanistan:
Britain currently has 10,000 soldiers waging an unwinnable war in occupied Afghanistan. Nobody knows exactly how many people have died or suffered serious injury as a result of the nine-year occupation of that country. What is known is that hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of Afghan men, women and children are dead today because of the actions of the United States and Britain.

The British government recently confirmed that, in 2009, it paid compensation to the families of more then 100 civilians that had been ‘accidentally’ killed by the British military. Remember, this figure is for only one year and only includes the people that Britain admits to killing. We in Ireland know that the British state is never quick to admit to its murders.

How can we in Ireland welcome the commander in chief of such a military? By opposing a Windsor visit you show the people of Afghanistan that you stand with them, not the British military.

For Iraq:
Like Afghanistan, nobody knows exactly how many Iraqis have been killed or died unnecessarily as a result of the US/British invasion and occupation of Iraq. The most reliable estimates put the figure at over one million human lives lost over the seven years since the invasion.

People across the globe know that Iraq was invaded for greed and not because it represented a threat. The invasion of Iraq was plain old fashioned imperialism designed to bring the country's vast oil and gas reserves under the control of the private corporations of the rich world.

We in Ireland knew why Iraq was being invaded back in 2003 and we took to the streets in our hundreds of thousands to oppose it. Are we now going to welcome the head of state of one of the countries that spearheaded that invasion? By opposing a Windsor visit you are standing in solidarity with the people of Iraq.

For Human Equality:
Marie Antoinette beheadedTwo hundred years ago the French revolution signalled, in the most spectacular fashion, the beginning of the end for the divine right to rule. Over the course of the following decades and centuries, the concept of universal human equality has been enshrined in law and constitutions across the globe. But the battle for equality is not over. There are still those who cling dearly to the idea of inherited privilege, who believe that a minority have the right to rule over the majority.

In Britain itself, more and more people are beginning to question what purpose an antiquated, sectarian, expensive monarchy and its extended class system serves in the modern world. Republicans across Scotland, England and Wales are now challenging the British caste system on a regular basis – through electoral reform and direct challenges to the monarchy.

Since the time of Wolfe Tone, the people of Ireland have overwhelmingly embraced the core values of republicanism – equality, liberty and fraternity. To welcome Elizabeth Windsor would fly in the face of that proud history.

By opposing a Windsor visit you send a message of solidarity to all of those who oppose the idea of inherited wealth, privilege and class across the world, but most particularly in Scotland, England and Wales.

What You Can Do:
For four years éirígí has been campaigning against all British royal visits to all parts of Ireland. Now that the Dublin government have confirmed their intention to invite Elizabeth Windsor, éirígí is stepping up that campaign. If you support Irish freedom and democracy and you are opposed to a state visit by the British head of state please do as many of the following as possible:

  • Join the public protests against a British royal state visit, or organise your own. The first protest in Dublin will take place at 7pm on Monday, July 5th, outside of City Hall on Dame Street. The protest has been called to coincide with City Council debating a motion opposing a visit by the British head of state. All are welcome. Bígí Linn.
  • No British Withdrawal? No Royal Visits!Join the campaign against a British head of state visit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/noroyalvisits
  • Contact your local politicians to tell them that British royalty are not welcome in Ireland.
  • Encourage your trade union, community group, sports club or other organisations to take a public stand against a British sate visit to the Twenty-Six Counties.
  • Encourage your family and friends to get involved in the campaign to stop the Windsor visit.
  • Download campaign leaflets from www.eirigi.org/campaigns/ImperialistsoutofIreland/No_royal_visit_leaflet.pdf
  • Donate to éirígí to help us build the biggest campaign possible – www.eirigi.org/donations/index.htm

Log onto www.eirigi.org for details of upcoming protest and campaign updates. Together we can stop the Windsor visit!

 

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