Friday, July 4, 2014

Could such a peace come to Palestine?

Guest: Fred talks about the troubles in Northern Ireland, and Gary talks about the Marist College vote for an adjunct teachers' union. Our guest, Lawrence Wittner did call in, but we had an equipment malfunction and could not get him on the air (sorry, Larry). We will reschedule.

The Northern Irish understand Palestine like few other people. Their ancestors lived through hundreds of years of a brutal apartheid. 

The Britain invaded Ireland in the Sixteen Hundreds and proceeded to colonize it with religious sects and minorities it didn't want at home, particularly the Presbyterians. Most Irish in the US can trace their heritage to one of the consequences of that occupation, a genocidal famine that killed a million Irish and drove another million to the New World.

By 1922, the Irish had freed themselves of British occupation. That is, all but the northern counties where Presbyterians held a majority. Life for the minority Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland remained grim, with religious based discrimination, ethnic cleansing, and British funded death squads. 

Only when the English people at home tired of the slaughter was a peace between the Protestants and Catholics of Northern Ireland possible. A treaty, brokered by the US in 1998, eliminated all forms of religious discrimination in Northern Ireland and insured human rights for every citizen. In fact, religion was completely separated from the state and all forms of apartheid made illegal. 

This summer, the city of Derry enjoyed a music festival that included both Catholics and Protestants participating equally. Although many of the physical walls between communities still exist, there was a feeling of hope in the Irish music being played on almost every street corner. 

Could such a peace come to Palestine? The citizens of the US are becoming increasingly tired of supporting the blatantly racist regime of Israel. Now that Jewish settlements in the West Bank have made a two state solution impossible, it is time for Americans to insist on an end to all apartheid in Palestine.

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