The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Siege Of Derry

Anthony McIntyre • 10 August 2006

What possessed Eamonn McCann and 8 others to launch their distinguished action to decommission Raytheon will perplex those who are eager to condemn them. All right wing thinking people will be appalled that McCann stooped to such a height. All those possessed of some warped logic who think his action is in some way more repulsive than the infanticide bombers of Israel will demand a tough prison sentence.

Raytheon manufactures software for Guided Bomb Units (GBU) which according to the protestors are used by the IDF in its ethnic cleansing of the Lebanon. A statement from the Derry Anti-War Coalition of which McCann and his eight colleagues are members said:

The protest was prompted by the current barbaric Israeli assault on Lebanon and Gaza, which has claimed over a thousand lives in just a few weeks. Many of the innocent lives lost have resulted from the use of GBUs produced by Raytheon. It is tragic that the Raytheon factory was held up at the time of its opening as an example of the 'peace dividend' for the North, when its function is exporting death and destruction to innocent people in Lebanon. The Irish people have a witnessed first hand the brutality and conflict brought by colonialism and empire. We should be playing no part in inflicting that suffering on others. Given the carnage we are now witnessing in Lebanon and Gaza there is simply no excuse for such weapons of death being produced.

That the law can outlaw McCann but legalise the murderous assault on the civilian populations of Gaza and Lebanon should tell us that there is much more wrong with the law than there is with McCann.

Over the years there have been snide remarks that Eamonn McCann never went to prison during the republican struggle. But why should he have? He was never a republican. He always defended republicans against the attacks of the state but never at any time embraced the republican political perspective. When it came to what he believed in McCann was quite prepared to risk jail in defence of his beliefs. He and his colleagues are now staring at heavy prison sentences for their occupation of the Raytheon offices. McCann is in his sixties. That someone at that stage of life with no prison experience, a well established career in journalism, and who would otherwise be looking forward to the fruits of his retirement should face down the authorities is a measure of both the man and his conviction. McCann had no need to piss but he stayed on the pot. Speaking from inside the occupied building the long term political activist explained his motives: 'the people of Derry cannot go on feeling shock and horror as they watch TV screens and do nothing. People felt they had no option but to take this form of direct action.'

Agree or not with McCann's Raytheon action, or his brand of politics, he is a man of immense integrity, a battler. No one was injured in McCann's actions. Unlike those who seek to inflict damage by placing bombs in buildings the Derry protestors were hands on from the moment they entered the Raytheon premises, able to monitor and control the impact of the damage, ensuring that no one's safety was put at risk. Damage was done, lots of it, but not anywhere near as much as has been sustained in any one of the bombed Lebanese homes. Raytheon has been left standing. If the company is immoral enough to remain in Derry it can easily replace its office equipment.

A British government is holding McCann. The so called violence which a senior PSNI officer accused McCann and his colleagues of carrying out pales into insignificance compared against the violence inflicted on the city from which McCann hails by the same government.

Eamonn McCann has stood on many platforms demanding that some unfortunate or other be freed from prison. Now the demand should go out loud and clear to defend McCann and his colleagues and ensure they do not face prison as a result of their action. It is an affront that the murderous government of Yo Blair should prosecute McCann. Remanded in custody the nine are political prisoners, jailed as a result of their opposition to Yo Blair's support for the murderous wrath of Israel. As a result of the Derry protestors' actions more people now know about the sordid role of Raytheon. The Derry activists have made it front page news.

McCann and his eight co-accused deserve a punishment that fits the 'crime'; a punishment that is both financial and physical. The judge should impose a fine of ten pound on each of them which court officials would then place in a fund for Lebanese children orphaned by Israel's murder campaign; and all nine should be compelled to appear at a banquet in their honour in Derry's Guildhall where they must consume vast quantities of food and drink. That should show them what the community thinks of them. Derry people know first hand what state massacres are like. They are unlikely to judge 9 of their own harshly for trying to prevent them. Let justice be done.




























Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

13 August 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Hunger Strike Anniversary
Martin Galvin

"Let the Fight Go On"
Willie Gallagher

Apology Owed
The Family of Volunteer Patsy O'Hara, INLA

Right the Wrong
Harry Boland

It's Who You Talk To
Dr John Coulter

As They Were Made They Were Matched
Liam O Comain

Poacher Turned Gamekeeper
John Kennedy

Criminality Figures Do Not Add Up
David Adams

The Siege of Derry
Anthony McIntyre

Repeat After Me: No Gods, No Masters
Mick Hall

Dual Presidency More Realistic
Nathan Dowds

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 2
Michael Gillespie

Santa Coming Early
Dr John Coulter

Media Matters
Anthony McIntyre

Light, Freedom & Song: A Cultural History of Modern Irish Writing
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Pass the Gravy
John Kennedy

ILIR is Blowing the Green Card Game for the Irish
Patrick Hurley

From Belfast to the Middle East
Davy Carlin

Manifesto of the Third Camp
Anthony McIntyre

3 August 2006

A United Ireland or Nothing
Liam O Comain

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 1
Michael Gillespie

High Noon
John Kennedy

Fest or Flop
Dr John Coulter

Irish and Republican Music
Ray McAreavey

Qana Massacre again: Foreign and Domestic Enemies of our Constitution
Mazin Qumsiyeh

Israel Murders UN Observers
Anthony McIntyre

Managing Debate
Mick Hall

4 Horsemen
John Kennedy

The Evil That Men Do
Anthony McIntyre

Chris Petit's Secret History: The Psalm Killer
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Soldier of the Legion of the Rearguard
Liam O Ruairc

Football and the Fifth Commandment
Eamon Sweeney

Don't Let Us Down
Dr John Coulter

Human Rights Forum
Meeting Announcement

Billy Mitchell
Anthony McIntyre



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices