Letters to the Editor: 'We must not allow messengers of sanity to be silenced by threats of 'might is right' brigade'
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob writes from London (Irish Independent, Letters, June 24) to lament that "we have not learned the lessons of war - the world has never changed since the dreadful conflicts of WWI and II".
Indeed, it seems the only thing that changes is the elaboration of our technologies of mass murder and the sophistication of our PR-agenda delivery systems to induce the naive to sacrifice themselves, and the selected enemies of the warmongers on all sides; and increasingly the innocent civilian populations who have become the collateral damage in the logistical calculus of the bean-counters of our war econometrics.
Dr Al Qutob calls for "collective co-ordination" to combat this collective lunacy and I, for one, suspect he is spot on, even as the current crop of armchair-general geniuses surrounding that paragon of wisdom in the Oval Office strain their leashes for yet more lucrative "war, war" against Venezuela and Iran in their drive for "full spectrum dominance".
Totalitarianism by any other name is as malodorous to democracy as the strains suppressed by the earlier global wars of the 20th century, which history recognises as the collisions of megalomaniac empires intent on their own unilateralist diktat of who's might is more right.
One thing is sure; as long as we allow the messengers of sanity, whether Assange, Snowden, Manning, Khashoggi or our own Maurice McCabe be silenced by intimidation or other weaponised means, and refrain from standing collectively for a system run on other premises than that of the military muscle-men and their embedded bully-boys, the slide towards return to the primordial mushroom soup (with radio-activated condiments) will continue to accelerate.
We could start by returning to our once-honoured stance of strict neutrality in more than lip-service mode; and put a ban on all military traffic through our air, sea or land territories, and reduction of our investments in technologies known to be driven by the mercenary war industries who blind-eye all human consequences to their greed for profiteering.
A lead will not be given by those states who have a history of finding war beneficial; something most Irish people, whatever our contributions to foreign empire-building, seem to still acknowledge.
Any change will have to be initiated by an informed and mobilised public; it will not be trickling down from our "betters".
Headford, Co Galway
Liberty’s promise lost along the Rio Grande
The Statue of Liberty Breaks her Silence:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
And I will drown them in the Rio Grande
Before they reach this Promised Land."
Address with Editor
The injustice of being homeless can't be ignored
Is it any wonder when figures show that nearly all of the homeless come from the 18-24 age bracket?
Those unfortunate people are expected to live on a pittance of €100 or so social welfare per week, while older welfare recipients are given almost twice that amount.
This anomaly should be rectified at the earliest opportunity - it is nothing short of a blatant injustice that cannot be ignored.
Athlone, Co Westmeath
Foreign seamen who died for us deserve memorial
On Sunday, July 14, the National Day of Commemoration Ceremony is scheduled to be held in Collins Barracks, Dublin 7, at 10.30am.
It is an appropriate way to commemorate Irishmen and Irish women who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations.
However, official Ireland does not commemorate the vital contribution made by foreign nationals who lost their lives as a result of belligerent action while serving onboard neutral Irish-flagged vessels during the emergency period 1939-46. Their sacrifice does not even merit a mention during the annual commemoration.
To restate: Between September 3, 1939, and March 31, 1946, approximately 4,000 seafarers served on neutral Irish merchant ships and fishing trawlers. They came from the UK, USA, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, Estonia and Russia.
Of the 149 seafarers lost on Irish vessels sunk as a result of belligerent action, 18 were British, one was Norwegian, one Latvian and one Argentine - the rest were Irish nationals.
All are listed on the Irish National Merchant Seamen's Memorial at City Quay Dublin.
At the close of the war, Taoiseach Éamon de Valera said: "To the men of our mercantile marine who faced all the perils of the ocean to bring us essential supplies, the nation is profoundly grateful."
High praise indeed from Dev, and yet despite representations highlighting the issue, the Irish Government to date cannot find a way to include in remembrance the sacrifice of our British, Argentine, Norwegian and Latvian relatives lost on Irish ships during the emergency. Apparently the contribution of foreign-born merchant seamen towards supporting Irish neutrality during WWII has been forgotten by the Irish State. Shameful.
Christians should focus on the important issues
In the 1920s when women first started wearing trousers, there was similar fear-mongering, leading to criminal laws against people wearing "a dress not belonging to his or her sex".
Now we think nothing of it.
One would think after the long discussions about the marriage referendum, people would understand wearing a skirt or pair of trousers does not turn people homosexual or transgender. More importantly, that you cannot guide, or electric shock, or medicate, a homosexual or transgender child out of who they are.
So can our Christian brothers and sisters turn from the obsession with LGBT issues and concentrate on issues such as homelessness, poverty and the real problems our children face?
Whether they're being cheeky, exploratory or genuinely transgender, let me assure you that wearing a skirt or a pair of pants will do them no harm.
Be warned, if it horrifies you so much, they may do it just for the devilment.
Wolli Creek, NSW, Australia
National government is needed in stormy times
Dan O'Brien's article (Irish Independent, June 27) reminds us we face the greatest challenge in our State's history.
We also face a general election in the next 12-18 months, and the opinion polls say we are likely to have another weak, splintered, minority government.
I believe it's time we considered the option of a national government for the next three-five years. The notion that one or two parties will have all the answers to the huge challenges we face is nonsense. We will need input from all those who want what is best for the country - which I believe is the one thing that unites all our politicians.
In the 1980s some of the best minds in the country came together to give us the Programme for National Recovery. This was the foundation stone of the modern, vibrant economy we enjoy today.
We will surely need a similar broad church of ideas to steer safely through the coming storm.
Rathgar, Dublin 6
An Post jobs lost through focus on the bottom line
Commenting on the decision by An Post to close the Cork mail centre with the loss of 240 jobs, the head of its mails and parcels directorate blamed "the global trend of mail volume decline which has led to a significant over-capacity in the mails system" (Irish Independent, June 27).
Despite this "over-capacity", the State-owned company continues to charge a fee of €90 per three-month period to those obliged to avail of its mail redirection service. If required to justify this, An Post would no doubt point to 'the extra work involved'.
The anomalous situation suggests a lack of adequate co-ordination within the organisation and an exclusive focus on the bottom line. I doubt if this modern style of mismanagement is confined to An Post or unrelated to the extraordinarily high cost of living here.