Republican News · Thursday 19 August 1999

[An Phoblacht]

McGuinness Mistaken?

A Chara,

After the disgraceful actions of the RUC on the Lower Ormeau Road in Belfast, I think it was wrong of Martin McGuinness to say that what happened in Derry was wrong.

Those people that came out onto the streets in Derry were very angry at what happened in Belfast. What else were they supposed to do?

Those places that were damaged in Derry were owned by the business class, who are by no means friends of the working class. A Northern Bank was damaged - Northern Bank has always discriminated against Catholics in the Six Counties. Not so long ago, Sinn Féin had protests outside such banks.

It's the same old story in the Six Counties. Nothing has changed for nationalists.

What happened in Belfast was wrong; what happened in Derry was resistance.

Paul Walsh,


Urging withdrawal

A Chara,

The most recent rejection by unionists of attempts to move the peace process forward is proof, if any were needed, that unionists will never share power with republicans nor treat us as equal citizens while the Union remains.

The so-called moderate Ulster Unionists are unwilling to do it, while the extreme bigots of the UK Unionists and the DUP refuse even to think about it.

The reality is that there is no good reason for them to move. They have been constantly reassured that the ``Union is safe'', etc. There is only one set of circumstances in which they will move forward and treat the other 83 per cent of this country's population as equals - when it is made clear to them that Britain is withdrawing.

We have never been in a stronger position to demand this and to win more support for this throughout the island. We never had as strong an electoral mandate. The contradictions and the impossibility of trying to have any solution to the national question without British withdrawal becomes more obvious every day that passes.

Let's use our new found political strength and present favourable conditions to point out the only way forward.

Brian Stanley,

Sinn Féin Town Commissioner,


Kurdish parallels

A Chara,

Congratulations on a thorough and enlightening interview with Apo's lawyers, Mahmut Sakar and Mukrime Tepe, in last week's An Phoblacht.

Since his sentencing, the media has, by and large, treated Ocalan as already `dead' in terms of newsworthiness. An Phoblacht, however, has consistently covered developments with accurate and insightful analysis.

While the statements by Ocalan calling on the PKK to withdraw from the mountains and to cease operations have been construed as the words of a defeated leader, they nevertheless represent a significant opportunity to seek a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict. The PKK may seem to have suffered huge losses politically and militarily but they retain widespread support among the Kurdish population within Turkey and amongst the tens of thousands of young Kurds in exile.

This aspiration for Kurdish cultural, linguistic, political and human rights has not been crushed, contrary to Turkish nationalist assertions. However, there must be despondency about the criminal disregard by the international community of the breaches of humanitarian law by Turkey and the outrageous triumphalism which greeted Ocalan's death sentence.

The parallels with Ireland were evident this year as the murder of solicitor Rosemary Nelson brought home the lengths to which anti-democratic elements will go to deny human rights, even to suppress the defence of rights. This has been the experience of human rights lawyers and activists in Turkey and Kurdistan throughout the history of the Turkish republic.

Solidarity with peoples who are perceived as resisters rather than passive victims has always been difficult and can be seen in the authorities' inadequate response to Nelson's murder. Even more terrible is the total absence of condemnation or pressure on the Turkish government for its repression of human rights defenders.

ne McCluskey

Kurdistan Solidarity Ireland

10 Upper Camden St.,

Dublin 2

Tel 01 4621626

Censorious reader

A Chara,

I have just read the so-called paper. It's like reading the Daily Sport, only with a republican slant.

Freedom of the press should be denied to such a sectarian paper as yours.

Gary Jones,

Address not supplied.

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