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The Beat from Bil'in and Belfast

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"If we want to reap the harvest of peace and justice in the future, we will have to sow seeds of nonviolence, here and now, in the present."-Maried Corrigan Maguire

On June 6, 2008, Vice President of the European Parliament Luisa Morgantini and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Maried Corrigan-Maguire were assaulted by Israeli Forces with tear gas during the weekly Friday afternoon nonviolent protest against the route of the wall and military occupation in Bil'in. Julio Toscano, an Italian judge, suffered head wounds when he was hit by one of the tear-gas grenades. The incidents came on the last day of Bil'in's third annual international conference supporting nonviolent protests against the route of the wall and military occupation of the West Bank agricultural village.

June 6, 2008 VIDEO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23ul33taRtY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKcSnysC0O8


At the conclusion of the second annual Bil'in conference, on April 21st, 2007, Mairead Maguire, was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet by Israeli Forces an hour after a press conference where she stated:

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"Thanks to the media here for telling the truth…Bring this truth to whatever country you come from. Non-violence will solve the problems here in Israel and Palestine. Often, the world sees only violence. But Palestinians are a good people, working towards non-violence. This Wall must fall! It is an insult to the human family and to the world– that we are building Apartheid Walls in the 21st Century! More than forty years of Occupation and Land Appropriation."

In 1976, in Belfast, thousands of ordinary people throughout Northern Ireland, led by mostly women, demonstrated for an end to the killings known as "The Troubles" which began in 1969. By 1998, over thirty-four hundred people were killed in the crossfire of a brutal war against British colonial interests, revolutionary republicanism, and a revolt against the age-old, oppressive bigotry and fanaticism of religious ideologies.


On August 10, 1976, Máiread Corrigan Maguire's two nephews and one of her nieces, all little children, were killed on a Belfast street corner. "A British army patrol shot and killed an IRA gunman, Danny Lennon, whose car then plowed into the sidewalk, killing the children, and severely injuring Mairead's sister Anne, who died several years later. In a land soaked with blood, their deaths came as a severe shock. Suddenly, thousands of people began to say, "Enough is enough. The killing and violence have to stop." [1]

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Máiread, Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, organized weekly peace marches and demonstrations were attended by over half a million people throughout Ireland and England.

Máiread has 'insisted "that a peaceful and just society can be achieved only through nonviolent means and that the path to peace lies in each of our hearts."

Fueled by her faith, Maried, a lone voice of wisdom, compassion and common sense stood on the streets of Belfast and said "No -- No to the IRA, No to the UDA and LVF (the Ulster Defence Association and the Loyalist Volunteer Force, unionist/ loyalist paramilitaries), No to the British government's emergency laws and interrogation centers and human rights abuses, No to injustice, bigotry, discrimination, No to any desecration of human life and dignity.' [2]


In Belfast during the 1980's and early 90's, Máiread's vision of non-violence was dismissed, ridiculed, and ignored, while those who called for retaliatory vengeance and violence were applauded. From the start, Maried understood that her dream had to reach beyond the narrow boundaries of North Ireland to embrace a non-violent future for all humanity.


After a year of political negotiations, a breakthrough settlement was reached on Good Friday 1998, bringing Northern Ireland to an Easter dawn of peace.

Maried and Betty were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for what had once been unimaginable had become reality and Maried continues to envision the unimaginable: justice and peace in Israel Palestine.

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At the third annual international conference in Bil'in that promotes non-violent actions against the route of the wall and military occupation of the West Bank agricultural village; Maried delivered this message:

Salaam Alikum,

I am very happy to be here and would like to thank Bil’in Friends of Freedom and Justice for their invitation.

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Eileen Fleming,is a Citizen of CONSCIENCE for US House of Representatives 2012 Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org Staff Member of Salem-news.com, A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" (more...)
 

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