LETTERS, ARTICLES: GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. 2000 – 2003 by Michelle Clarke

2nd April 2003

Dear Graham,

Thank you for your very kind letter.  I attach this because it has already been not allowed through.  I am including Thomas Merton’s poem.  https://thehealingprojectwebcast.blogspot.com/…/remembering-hiroshima-thom..

Take care

Peace Courage to you and your team



Sent to address list including An Taoiseach

 Tuesday, April 01, 2003 10:00 PM



Please let us Give Peace a chance


2nd April 2003

Michelle again, to say hello and ask you to put aside some time.  The plan is to convene at the Dail offices at Kildare Street Wednesday evening at 7.30 p.m.  You may feel tired, you may feel your children ought not be exposed but this is a march against war and for peace.  I have sent out consistently the Cistercian Monk, Thomas Merton’s Poem, about the ‘Original Child’.  Again it is attached.  You will note that in a period of four days, writers throughout Ireland pledged and effected the compilation of a book ‘Poems against War’ and gave the royalties to the Irish Anti-War Movement.  Writer’s tend to be ‘the eyes and ears of society’.


The UN Foundation formalised its commitment to the causes of Peace and Human Rights by launching the Program on Peace, Security and Human Rights in 1998, emphasising conflict prevention and the promotion of Human Rights.  It was set up on the 10th of December 1948 granting inalienable rights and freedoms to all humans in acknowledgement of their DIGNITY.  (Again, if you have not read Thomas Merton’s poem, consider it …… he galvanizes the reaction of people like Einstein, Bertrand Russell, C.S. Lewis, to the mass destruction that was effected.  Human Rights is where the buck stops.  It is similar to being the vulnerable human being in a ‘normal’ society or the ‘runt of the litter’.  Human Rights are the foundation of human existence……..We must look to the Universality of those Human Rights.  This refers to a speech made by Kofi Annan – UN Secretary General in 1997.

Realise that media coverage is likely to be slanted and while informative, the ongoing process and exposure, will eventually numb the feelings and sentiments of the people watching it.  I heard (and bear in mind I am only human!!!) a psychologist speak about the war on TV the other night.  She made two interesting points:- a) the pre-occupation with watching the war footage subjects a person to an emotional state similar to one engaged in by people fixated with pornography;  b) she spoke about children and their capacity to see reality as it is.  She urged parents not to try and cover up or shield them because by doing that you cloak their emotions.  This has its own problems.  Let them cry.  It is distressing.  That is the reality.  I would suggest receiving the daily bulletin of global news from the UN.  The site is http://www.un.org/news.  This allows one to have perspective about what it is happening worldwide.  An example is that on March 31st, Kofi Annan, Secretary General met with representatives from the Arab countries ‘to brief them and to hear their views about the situation in Iraq’ – this precedes his meeting with UN member states.  Also some 60% of the Iraqi population depend solely on the programme for their daily rations.  The UN’s Oil-for-food programme got support to restart last. Friday:  Kofi Annan summed it up:

‘We would expect the belligerents, we would expect the Government of Iraq and the coalition forces to give us humanitarian access and help us create humanitarian space for us to do our work and assistance to the needy’.

Michelle adds 40% of the world oil supply is under Iraqi ground space.  At the march the other day it was suggested that people not buy Esso oil products.  (Later edition:  it was also suggested that Britain be asked to leave the EU)

 I have suggested before utilising the European Union facilities in Dublin – availing of the information; the library; the computers – it is free.

You can access the EU parliament https://www.europarl.eu.int directly and likewise the European Commission https://www.euireland.ie  The brochure I have selected for this email is appropriately the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3b70.html

 The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights sets out in a single text, for the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights of the European Citizens and all persons resident in the EU.  These rights are divided into 6 sections:


This adds further balance to our present off-kilter position in Ireland.


Ireland is in contravention of International Law.  In England, academics were summoned from Cambridge and Oxford and other universities  –  They state:  The Imperialist attack is contrary to International law.  I would ask you to look at the work done since 1948 and then consider if you can endorse this war.

3,000 foreign Arabs are willing to return to Iraq (they may be there already) – that country with a significant history.  They are willing to be ‘Suicide Bombers’.  This is serious. Despite the attacks, electricity is still existent in Bagdad and there is a media system operating.  The Quote from Saddam on each days newspapers is ‘The Snake is Riding through the desert: we are going to chop him into little pieces’.  Someone is in trouble in England for saying ‘the lions are being led by donkeys’.  Call up the web page in Ireland for Tom Kitt at the Department of Foreign affairs.  At least be informed.

My theme here seems to hover around the 2nd World War.  On Questions and Answers last night – the word Reparations brought me straight back to history at school.  I always thought it was a strong word.  Well, it was discussed that we, the Irish could be subject to reparations to the Iraqi people.  Yes we are in coalition with two countries who attacked Iraq in contravention of International Law.  This is serious (I repeat) – we have not the capacity the US and UK have, to mobilise the re-construction of Iraq (that which those two countries are already in dispute about).  I lived in Zimbabwe in the 1990’s as a then wife to a construction employee of an Irish company who had a 25 year history there.  There were many companies from the UK there – the largest.  We left the UK because of the recession there.  The spoils of war will  be availed of by the UK and US.

We are in breach of our Irish Constitution.  The clause that says we will endorse international law and the clause that requires Dail approval.

I ask where is the Taoiseach – is it possible for him to respond to correspondence?  Is there transparency?  I am personally concerned with the speed with which the curbs to the Freedom of Information Act appeared.  As a bipolar, of course, I would be sensitive to prompt actions that might conceal vested interests already entered into.

The kinship with America is overplayed.  As a woman married to someone in the construction industry in the 1980’s – the only option was to be illegal in the US (we had not the recognised qualifications).  Also people elaborate on the investments made by America but fail to refer to the three (I might be wrong) periods in our history that the US pulled out of the market, having availed of tax breaks, to review other alternatives.  I would also say Christy Moore, songwriter, hit the mark back in the early 1980’s about Knock Airport and the motive.  Neutral Ireland has an exchange value.

Please consider attending:  It is a moving experience.  People came on Saturday – young, old, foreign, Irish, babies, children and even people with their dogs on leads…………………….

 One last point:

Leverage – a good word – it resounds of commerce and control.

I, who was addicted, to Coke, have chosen to drink water.  I have also altered my shopping pattern to buy Traidcraft products in the Oxfam shops or in Trinity circa 12 on Fridays.  Ask yourself is there some gesture you can contribute?  In effect, it is the same ‘giving up something for Lent’ or as the approach was this year ‘take up something’

 Michelle Clarke

If you have got this far – here are some quotes

Arthur Sulzberger

‘Truth is the solid foundation of freedom and truth only’

 Thomas Merton Cisterician Monk – US

‘Pride is born of comparison

‘Silence is the Mother of Speech’   (I hear you Michael saying – She can never be silent!!!!)

 ‘The family is the seat of our basic troubles and the source of our noblest hopes.  This claim is no longer theoretical.  This is factual truth’

 Anthony de Mello (Jesuit Priest from India). The Song of the Bird  

 ‘The sun that gives sight to the eagle blinds the owl’

 ‘Stop searching little fish.  There isn’t anything to look for. All you have to do is look’

 Viktor Frankl – Psychiatrist (Man’s Search for Meaning).  He spent many years in a concentration camp in Germany.

‘The truth that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire.  Then I grasped the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and believe have to impart:  THE SALVATION OF MAN IS THROUGH  LOVE.

 John Powell (Theologician, Psychologist, Sociologist….)

Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?  Because if I tell you who I am, you may not like who I am, and that is all that I have.

 ‘No true, real fixed person exists inside you, because being a person, implies becoming a person and being in the PROCESS’

Salvadorian Theologian Jon Sobrino

‘The prophet is a person on the street, the person who judges history from the viewpoint of God’

Michael Harrington – Economist

‘If there is a technological advance without a social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery’

Groucho Marx

‘Look at me I worked my way up from nothing…..TO THE STATE OF EXTREME POVERTY’


‘If Christianity asserted itself in Germany, six million Jews would have lived)

 Henri Nouwen – Dutch Priest – has written many books.

‘We cannot love issues, but we can love people, and the love of people reveals to us the way to deal with issues’



Venue:  Aid Iraq – fundraising concerts for the people of Iraq

Mother RedCaps Tavern – 22nd April 2003

 Quote specially chosen for Caoimhe as she departs for Iraq

 Act but seek not the fruit of your actions

Your actions flow out of who you are

That is the Fruit


A gathering of minds took place to wish Caoimhe Butterly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caoimhe_Butterly positive support as she moves to Iraq.

A gentle, kind and very loving person was asked to come to the stage.  A passionate, committed person spoke of the needs of the vulnerable and the importance that people are willing to stand and act as a voice for them.  Caoimhe spoke of her friends in the Lebanon, in Iraq and in Palestine. I know Caoimhe and her family from Zimbabwe.

Several committed politicians and senators have suggested an Irish representative body in Iraq to oversee the treatment of people and their human rights.  I do not know if this has come to fruition.

Caoimhe sets off to assist in the formation of an international structure, that can begin at grass roots and emerge to provide human rights assistance for the people in Iraq and to assist them to assume control peacefully of their own newly formed democracy.  Communications will be via a Web Diary on Indymedia.

 Caoimhe is on the cover of this week’s issue of Time magazine alongside Bono.  Her  tone dropped and I am unsure of what she said but what I do know is that she took the opportunity to commend those who stood out on the streets and supported nationally and worldwide their demand for No War.

The Anti-War movement faces strong demoralization presently but this is only a brief interlude.  People will as time passes re-assess the situation in Iraq.  Caoimhe spoke of the fact that we are but watching the ‘slow drip of genocide’.  She asked that people use this period of time for introspection.  To think of the word Shame and its poignant meaning and then to take on board that in our world today ‘BLOOD IS CHEAP’.

Iraq was brought to its knees by 12 years sanctions.  Now it has been a host country to coalition attack and large scale destruction.  This is a country where 50% of the population are under 16.  I saw one placard that referred to 1.5 million pregnant women.  Do we know the extent of the human toll?

Caoimhe spoke about Awareness.  There is a deep ignorance in the West to the culture in the Middle East.  It is time to give a voice to narratives, to listen to people.  There are too many unheard voices – who will empower the silent voices, more are needed to deal with media bias that compounds other biases.  Endorse these people who have suffered by acknowledging their suffering.  This is what makes people aware and not numbed to stark realities.  Power and control over are traits that receive recognition presently.  Power and control and the negative effects are invidious and move all through society.  Caoimhe made a call to people to move back to TRUTH.  It is time to break the cycle of vulnerability.

In Ireland – review the issues about Shannon.  In England – review Sellafield.

We are still in contravention of  the International Law.  Technically we could be asked to pay reparations to Iraq……….we need to consider our position.

 A friend gave Caoimhe a gift – a book:  I could not resist looking through it.  I would recommend it if it is possible to buy it in Ireland:

Title:  Anti-Imperialism:  A Guide for the Movement

It looked most informative:

The Introduction was by Arundhati Roy  https://www.weroy.org/arundhati.shtml

  • Tariq Ali
  • George Monbiot
  • Tony Benn
  • Lindsey Gorman
  • George Galloway?

Some interesting web addresses.


 World development movement: https://www.wdm.uk.org


Hague-Peace Organisation.  https://thehaguepeace.org/

 Stanley Cohen’s Book – States of Denial.

 ‘Denial as the need to be innocent of troubling recognition’

 ‘We seem to have access to reality, but choose to ignore it because it proves convenient to do so’

Michelle concludes:

We must keep asking ‘Where are those mass Weapons of Destruction’?

Do we support the UN?  ‘Bechtel has already won one contract…………’  https://www.bechtel.com/

We now have a Human Rights Commissioner in Ireland, Dept. of Foreign Affairs

 Amnesty acts as a watchdog…….

About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for Irishhealth.com 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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1 Response to LETTERS, ARTICLES: GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. 2000 – 2003 by Michelle Clarke

  1. Pingback: LETTERS, ARTICLES: GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. 2000 – 2003 by Michelle Clarke | canisgallicus

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