IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
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always looking for interested people who would like to learn more about
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organize volunteers, coordinate events,
assist in National campaigns, educate the public-- or simply to stay
abreast of the REAL news in Occupied Ireland.
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American Supporters -
August 2, 2002
by Niall Fennessy
Recently, in regards to the Provisional army's open apology, the US
media has engaged a campaign boasting of a declining support within the
Irish-American community towards the Republican movement. Employing
sensationalist headlines and rhetoric, some have gone so far as to
suggest an outright abandonment. Indeed, the abrupt reality of the
September 11 atrocities stunned America. As such a tragedy predicts,
membership throughout the various political prisoner support
organizations were shaven of both fair-weathered activists and others.
Events were rescheduled or outright cancelled. And when President Bush
adopted a McCarthyite 'either-or' approach to foreign policy, legitimate
opponents towards American-aligned governments became targets. Irish
Republicanism was marked.
Yet the movement advances. Challenging the hysteria of the media and the
gullible, many within this community still hold true to the traditions
of their Fenian forefathers. Far from being exhausted, these people
within their various organizations continue to exercise the political
freedoms guaranteed under the first and fourth amendments to the US
Constitution. Their efforts to raise awareness of the issues and
increase activism are progressively met with success as the weeks go by.
The death threats, harassments, and campaigns of humiliation against
Irish Republican prisoners of war and their families is not lost on
them. And will never be so.
In this same breath, however, it is unfortunate that the largest of
these organizations, Irish Northern Aid, has for some years withdrawn
itself from leadership by example. It is in the general silence of their
membership that the US media finds the grounds for its charges. The
refusal of Irish Northern Aid members to recognize the more than seventy
political prisoners incarcerated in Portlaoise, Maghaberry, Wheatfield
and Belmarsh Prisons speaks volumes to those with anti-nationalist
agendas. Irish Northern Aid, cowing blindly to their Sinn Fein masters,
have unabashedly adopted the constitutional nationalism which they so
ferverently opposed the previous three decades.
No. Irish-American support for political prisoners will not abandon the
very legitimacy under which the American colonies defeated the British,
and under which the Easter Rising signatories died. These groups working
today hold firm to the illegality of Britain's occupation of Irish soil.
Their efforts are an integral form of political activism which
challenges the repetition of a historic failure. And, in light of the
deliberate campaign against Irish Republicanism in the US, Irish
Northern Aid supporters and members of all Irish-American organizations
need now to justify the terms of their
charter with that of their Fenian ancestry. The tradition of O'Donovan
Rossa, James Stephens, and John Mitchell, amongst others, will not
forgive any Irish Republican's failure to recognize all political
prisoners of war currently incarcerated.
- The author is a member of the Irish Freedom Committee