16 March 2006 Edition
Letters to An Phoblacht
Bush jerks Bertie's lead
The ever more imperial nature of US foreign policy was demonstrated with the arrogant parading at Shannon Airport by George Bush. Bush and his administration surely know that the use of Shannon by their troops is hugely controversial in this country. They also know that allowing the Airport to be used as a staging post in the Iraq war has caused major political problems for their good friend Bertie Ahern. It would be normal diplomacy and clever politics on the part of the White House not to worsen those problems for Ahern. Instead, Bush arrogantly chose to flaunt himself in front of his troops on Irish soil before jetting off to his imperial outpost, Afghanistan. Like a man with a dog, he jerked Bertie's lead and rubbed his nose in his own mess.
This is a chilling indication of a regime drunk with its own power and blind to the concerns of other nations. It came in a week when RTE uncritically carried a State Department propaganda stunt about Condoleeza Rice's 'new fitness regime'. All this should be remembered when Bush again poses for the cameras next week during the annual White House shamroguery on St. Patrick's Day.
Micheál Mac Donncha
Baile Átha Cliath.
I wish through your columns to call on the British government to give back the mortal remains of Michael Barrett from Ederney, Fermanagh who was unjustly hanged in 1868 and whose body you snatched from his loved ones, buried first in an unmarked prison grave in Manor Park cemetery, London.
Barrett was wrongly accused of causing an explosion at Clerkenwell prison in London in December 1867. He was the only one found guilty in a farcical trial. The authorities wanted to make an example of some Irishman in order to stem the growing appeal of the Fenians. They wanted to teach the Irish a lesson. And Michael was their chosen victim.
The mortal remains of Michael Barrett were never returned to his family and his native place. In 1902, when Newgate gaol was pulled down, the remains of all those buried there were transferred in fifty boxes and placed in six adjoining graves in the City of London cemetery in Manor Park, Ilford. There in Plot number 340 lie the mortal remains of Michael Barrett.
On behalf of the relatives of Michael Barrett I am calling on the British government to find and return the remains of Michael Barrett to his native place in Fermanagh. We want Michael to have a Christian burial in his own native parish.
Readers could write to the British Pime Minister, Tony Blair, the British Home Secretary and your local MP as well as to the Taosieach, the Irish Minister of Foreign Affaris or your local TD
Fr Joe McVeigh
Eadarnaidh, Fear Manach
Human rights in Iran
People are aware that the clerical regime in Iran has, for more than 20 years, been recognised as one of the world's worst perpetrators of human rights abuses. This has led to the Iranian regime being condemned on 52 occasions by various organs of the United Nations. Of great concern over the last few years has been the marked rise in public executions and in particular the execution of minors. In January this year Amnesty International called on Iran to end the execution of child offenders. The level of oppression in Iran has escalated since Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadejinad and his cabinet took office in August 2005. In the last six months of that year there were over 100 executions.
Following the referral of the Iranian regime's nuclear file to the UN Security Council, the regime has steeped up its pressure on political prisoners, including members of the People's Mojahedin of Iran.
On 7 February Hojjat Zamani, a member of the PMOI who had endured severe and sustained physical and psychological torture since his imprisonment in 2001, was hanged by the regime in Gohordhasht prison. His body has still not been returned to his family for burial.
In addition eight further political prisoners have been threatened with execution: Valliolah Feiz Mohammadi, Saeed Massouri, Gholamhossein Kalbi, Amir Parvizi, Alireza Karamkheir-Abadi, Khald Hardani, Shahram Farhang -Pour and Mansang Pour Farhang. Another prisoner Amir Saran, who was tortured by prison authorities, has since disappeared.
The Iranian resistance is calling on the International community to condemn Tehran's barbaric executions and to take practical steps, including the referral to the UN Security council of the Iranian regimes human rights file, in order to halt the escalation of these atrocities. The resistance is also calling on all international human rights orgainsations and campaigners to take urgent action to save the lives of political prisoners currently under threat.
Silence and inaction only emboldens the mullahs in their suppression and torture of their own people.
Iranian Human Rights Support group