Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative

The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) is dedicated to bringing together Iraqi and international civil societies through concrete actions to build together another Iraq, with peace and Human Rights for all.

Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Saoirse don Phalaistin…Freedom for Palestine!

I appreciate the ICSSI for affording me the opportunity as an Irish woman to highlight the overall position of the Irish people on the aggression in Gaza, the aggression that according to modest UN estimates, has seen 100,000 Palestinians killed, wounded or missing. The unbridled violence of the IDF seems to escalate daily, and the killing of innocent children is nearly unparallel at this point in history.

Being Irish and owing to our own history of suppression by Britain, our sympathies for the suffering of Palestinians is deeply rooted in our own past. 

Our freedom was difficult to achieve, only coming in 1921 by the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty that brought our War of Independence to an end. The Treaty was extremely divisive as it set the stage for the partition of the 26 counties of southern Ireland (now the Republic), from the 6 counties of Northern Ireland (under British rule), which we still live with today. This makes it natural for us Irish to always side with the underdog, and ensures a deep loyalty and affiliation towards the situation in Palestine.

The Irish government have always lobbied to recognize the State of Palestine, and we are well known on the European stage for our very vocal MP’s such as Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, who openly condemn Israel.

 At home our politicians speak out strongly in the Dáil (our House of Parliament), in support of Palestine, with many wearing the Keffiyeh in a show of solidarity, and calling Israel’s actions ‘mass murder’. Our Taoiseach (Prime Minister), noted Israel is ‘blinded by rage’, so politically our pro-Palestine stance is clear.

However, it is the Irish people who really stand out in their solidarity with the struggle, and we remain fierce supporters of Palestinian rights. It has become common to fly the Palestine flag from Irish homes, and Ireland has many grassroots campaigns, that have been established long before 2023.

 One notable NGO is the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, established as far back as 2001, which has grown in momentum every year. They continually campaign for justice for Palestine, through raising public awareness of the human rights abuses that have always occurred in the Occupied Territories, and the constant violations of International Law by Israel. 

They also lobby the Government and EU, and now more than ever organise people to ‘take to the streets’ and protest. A huge aim of the IPSC is to urge a ‘vigorous boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign’, reminiscent to the one that played a role in ending Apartheid in South Africa.

Of note, in just a space of 2 weeks, between Sunday the 25th of February and Saturday the 9th of March, there were 27 separate protests and awareness raising events carried out throughout Ireland, so we will never stop shouting here until change happens.

 Saoirse don PhalaistinFreedom for Palestine!