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The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
- Hubert H. Humphrey

A US Brand Of Civil Rights


Davy Carlin
Andersonstown News 9/02/2002


On the Bloody Sunday march in Derry I caught up with a banner saying Derry says no to Raytheon (Derry's US arms manufacturer) with a colourful character wrapped in the US flag sitting on a pile of loot and people, with a missile in one hand and a oil drum in the other. I thought, although humorously sketched, it also made a powerful point of the 'one world one struggle' message coming from many on the march for the issues of justice and equality.

A short time later though I found myself beside a man holding an American flag with another man beside him dressed strangely similar to that portrayed in the banner although he was also covered in various badges and medals from previous 'humanitarian wars' amongst others. In his hand he held a message which read for freedom, democracy and justice and so myself and this
uncomfortably dressed man engaged in some relevant social conversation. Many points were raised yet one part of our conversation sticks in my mind that 'we (The US) brought you peace, we brought you jobs, heck we are even marching to bring you justice'.

Maybe then I have just misunderstood all this time. So it was the US that delivered us peace, rather than the majority of our peoples rallying, marching and speaking out for it. And apart from the sweatshops of GAP and NIKE or the environmental and labour exploitation of MacDonalds and the likes we have been told to welcome 'advanced technical and computer' related jobs such as Derry's Raytheon plant. One wonders while the guidance systems continue to rain down the missiles on innocent women and children's homes, villages, schools and hospitals in Afghanistan and soon on more of the worlds poorest and innocent in the quest for 'justice', how much we are indebted for such work?

That they may also bring along with such jobs for us justice sounds too good to be true. Is it though the same justice that provides their now military, kangaroo courts or the breaking of the Geneva Convention? Is it the justice of internment of those who speak out in their democracy or the justice of torture and violations of 'suspects' of crime or could it be the justice of arming, funding and training dictators and their armies to murder those marching for civil rights and ironically enough justice?

I left our conversation when it progressed to those Arab 'so and so's' yet as I travelled home I thought that the message of the day 'one world one struggle' was lost on him as he believed only in selected definitions for human and civil rights for countries and peoples. With this line of thought I wondered maybe he should apply then for a job in the US foreign policy dept on his return home to the land of justice and freedom.




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