Letters to the Editor

The heavy hand of history will fall upon Israeli regime

A lot has been written about Palestine and the statistics of abuse, discrimination and death created by the Israeli regime as they violently plough through both Palestinian statehood and people. However, I find that sometimes facts and figures become reduced in meaning without context. One example of this is to be found in the population density of the Gaza Strip.

Currently, there are two million people residing there on a parcel of land that covers 365 square kilometres. That equates to approximately 5,479 people/square kilometre, making the area one of the most densely populated in the world (approximately fifth). If we compare these figures to those found in the Occupied Six Counties (OSC) we get some startling results.

Co Derry has a population of 250,000 living in an area that covers 2,074 square kilometres. That means that Derry has one eighth the population of Gaza but more than five-and-a-half times the space.

The entire area of the OSC is approx. 14,139 square kilometres (almost 39 times larger than the Gaza Strip). Yet the total population of this colonial part of Ireland is 1.87 million –  well under the total for that small beleaguered part of Palestine.

In the OSC, during conflict which lasted 30 years, 3,637 people were said to have perished. Not all of that number died within the six county region. That number consists of both combatants and non-combatants.

From December 2008 until January 2009 (22 days), 1,398 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza. In 2014, in Gaza, 2,202 people were reported killed during a 51 day onslaught by Israel upon the civilian population. This means that during 73 days of Israeli attacks, during Operations ‘Cast Lead’ and ‘Protective Edge’, 3,600 people died as a result of Israeli actions. 

This figure equates to approximately the number that died in the entire militant republican-British forces war over the course of 30 years.

Yet, it would appear that neither the media nor western governments, who would decry such loss of life in Ireland, care much about a similar death-toll in Gaza over a shockingly shorter period of time.

There is no justification for what has been and is still being done to the population of Gaza. 

Whether it is over-crowding, destruction of utilities, schools and hospitals, the imprisonment of an entire population, the provocations, the psychological warfare used against civilians, the traumatising of civilians and children, the slaughter of children and civilians, Israel stands accused of all. History will not absolve them.

An Irish martyr once remarked, “It is not those who can inflict the most, but those that can suffer the most who will conquer.” The Palestinian people have suffered. They have endured. The heavy hand of history will fall upon Israel.

ANTAN O DALA AN RI
Newry, Co Down

 

Let’s hope that Ulster Day has not been in vain

LAST Thursday (September 28) marked the 105th anniversary of Ulster Day – the day when Ulster men and women signed the Ulster Covenant opposing home rule. As someone who attended the 100th anniversary at Stormont in 2012 I honestly hope that the first Ulster Day in 1912 and those since were not in vain.

There are are those today within the Irish government and Sinn Féin trying to use Brexit as a means to achieve a united Ireland by default, by wanting a customs-free border between Northern Ireland and the Republic once the UK leaves the European Union.

The front page of my passport gives the name of the United Kingdom as being the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We are either one country or we are not so. 

When we leave Europe I would expect the same customs arrangements that will apply to England, Scotland and Wales to also apply to Northern Ireland. In other words, if there are customs/border controls at the Port of Dover or at Heathrow and Glasgow international airports then I would expect the same at Belfast International Airport and along the Irish border.

To do otherwise means that the union is dead and that Sinn Féin and the IRA have won.

Although I live in London I am a proud Ulster-Scot and want to see Northern Ireland stay part of the United Kingdom in which the Irish Republic has no say whatsoever in Northern Ireland/British affairs. 

JAMES ANNETT
London N7

 

Debt puts great strain on people’s lives

Just recently a national daily said that there were many people and families in debt. Financial mismanagement puts a great strain on people’s lives.

I have been in debt myself and the one thing I have learnt is not to ignore it but to take action because if you do not face it it will get worse. I have known people commit suicide due to the situation they are in.

There is a website you can go to which the Citizens Advice Bureau has organised which gives really good independent advice on money issues. The website is called Money Advice Service  Tel no 0800 138 7777. It covers subjects like debt, pensions, insurance savings, phone scamming, mortgages etc. There are several national debt counselling agencies which can be found on the internet – Christians Against Poverty; Payplan; Debt Advice Foundation; National Debtline; Step a Change Debt Charity. all these organisations offer good advice and don’t charge for the services provided.

DAVID BELL
Swansea, Wales

 

Further cuts to hospitals

We are told that the recent cuts to hospitals are to improve the services. There is only one conclusion that can be drawn from this statement and that is – either the politicians involved think we are devoid of all reasoning powers or they themselves are. The facts are – people are dying because of these cuts.

DAMIEN GC DEVANEY
Larne, Co Antrim

 

Legacy cases just another white elephant

Amidst the calls for prosecutions of British soldiers who killed Catholics in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s, plus the counter calls to do the same for IRA members involved in the disappeared cases, we seem to believe that we’re dealing with honest brokers here.

The British government simply has too much to hide and fears losing support among its own grassroots. These heinous acts weren’t a case of the British attacking the Irish, rather it was a case of the state attacking the people. Stalin and Chairman Mao did the same with their campaigns of democide.

Legacy cases are just another white elephant aimed at trying to breathe life into what is a dead rubber of an assembly.

DESMOND DEVLIN
Ardboe, Co Tyrone

 

Taxi for Maurice  Fitzgerald

In response to Maurice ‘Macmurrough’ Fitzgerald (September 20), I would like to suggest the following.

There are planes leaving Ireland every day heading for cities all over the UK. And if he wants to take his car he can hop on the ferry.

ANTHONY GERALD DONNELLY
Augher, Co Tyrone 

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