Halliday Urges Irish-Americans to Defend the Rachel Corrie

Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday said it was
imperative that the Obama administration supported Ireland's call on
the Israeli authorities to ensure safe passage for the Irish-flagged
Rachel Corrie to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza, the
Irish Timesreports.
Speaking by satellite phone from on board the Rachel Corrie,
Halliday called on Irish-Americans to lobby the
Obama Administration
: "We also feel there is a role for the Irish
diaspora here, in the US and elsewhere to lobby politicians over this
continued illegal blockade of Gaza, which is causing such hardship to
the Palestinian people."

Halliday has some experience with this issue, having resigned from his
position as UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq in 1998 over the
impact of UN/US sanctions on Iraqi civilians.

The issue of the Gaza blockade has tremendous resonance in Ireland,
partly because of Ireland's high degree of engagement in international
humanitarian causes -- John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works
Agency in Gaza, who had called
on the international community
to break the siege by sending ships
loaded with aid, is also Irish -- but also, of course, because the
Irish people have some experience with the consequences for civilians
of a colonial blockade.

Between 1845 and 1850, more than a
million Irish people starved to death
under British rule, while,
as Sinead O'Connor famously noted,
food was shipped out of Ireland under armed guard. A million more fled
Ireland to escape starvation, many to America, including Falmouth
Kearney, President Obama's great great great grandfather

Many Irish people -- and Irish-Americans -- take the responsibilities of
this legacy very seriously.

Mary Robinson -- former President of Ireland, and former U.N. High
Commissioner for Human Rights, has said:

The best possible commemoration of the men and women who
died in that Famine, who were cast up on other shores because of it,
is to take their dispossession into the present with us, to help
others who now suffer in a similar way.

That's what Denis Halliday is trying to do. Doesn't he deserve all our

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