Noraid delegation in North
AS THE TOUR by 130 Americans through the Six Counties ended on Tuesday of this week, the events of Belfast's Bloody Sunday were fresh in the minds of the delegates, two of whom had been injured by plastic bullets.
But Sunday was simply the culmination of a tour which, from the moment it reached the border at Killeen, near Newry, a week earlier, had been kept under close surveillance and harassed by hundreds of RUC and British Army personnel.
Indeed, these disruptive tactics must have cost the British hundreds of thousands of pounds as they employed armed `escorts', search parties and helicopters and sealed off the town of Carrickmore, County Tyrone for two days, all in a useless attempt to intimidate the visitors and capture [Irish Northern Aid's] Martin Galvin.
The only black American with the delegation, Joe Yancy from St Louis, Missouri, is not a member of Noraid but is a sympathiser. He said:
``In America there is a lot of racism and I found that some people with the tour treated me much better in Belfast than they would do in America.
``Noraid in St Louis haven't gone out of their way to encourage non-Irish to join but when we go back we intend to have meetings and see how the group would react to taking a black in.
``There are similarities in the oppressor, as in the oppressed, the world over. That needs to be recognised and a coalition built to fight oppression.''
Phoblacht, 16 August 1984.