When Irish plowshares activist Damien Moran was denied entry to the U.S. last April, I had hoped that the squelching of dissent would ease after the Bush years. But times have apparently not changed much with the new administration. On her way home from attending a Nobel Womens’ Conference in Guatemala earlier this month, Mairead Maguire, the Irish Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, was detained, questioned, fingerprinted and photographed for two hours at the airport in Houston by the Department of Homeland Security. Upon her release, Maguire stated:
This kind of behaviour and treatment is unacceptable. They questioned me about my nonviolent protests in USA against the Afghanistan invasion and Iraqi war. They insisted I must tick the box in the Immigration form admitting to criminal activities. I am not a criminal, my nonviolent acts in USA opposing the war on Afghanistan, and Iraqi, are acts of conscience and together with millions of USA citizens, and world citizens, I refuse to be criminalized for opposing such illegal policies. Every citizen has a right, indeed a moral obligation, to nonviolent civil disobedience in the face of illegal and unjust laws, especially war. If anyone is to be criminalized for these illegal and immoral policies it is the USA Government, who must be held accountable before the International community for these acts of crime against humanity.
Later in her remarks, Maguire said that she still plans on returning to the U.S. this August to participate in the annual Hiroshima Day peace vigil in Los Alamos, New Mexico. For more information, visit Pax Christi New Mexico.
A new generation of antiwar veterans is beginning to set itself apart in its opposition to America’s wars abroad and at home.
As K-pop fans and Black organizers and artists are demonstrating, joyful, powerful movements draw more people in and reflect the kind of world we want to live in.
If soldiers train for armed combat, why wouldn’t activists train for toppling the political-economic structure that’s killing our chance for a just future? The stakes are just as high.