Clare Daly TD, artist Robert Ballagh, Rev. Patrick Comerford and others to speak at IAWM press event on WW 1 commemorations

IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT (IAWM) Press Release, 04 August 2014

MORATORIUM UNTIL TUESDAY 05 AUGUST AT 11.00AM

• Clare Daly TD, artist Robert Ballagh, Rev. Patrick Comerford and others to speak at IAWM press event on World War 1 commemorations
• IAWM statement on WW1 commemorations signed by over 75 people including Christy Moore, Sinead Cusack, Robert Ballagh and others
• The statement calls on the Irish government not to use the occasion of the commemorations to justify the slaughter of World War 1

The Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) issued a statement today to coincide with the 100th anniversary of World War 1 noting that it will hold a press event in Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin at 11.00am on Tuesday 05 August to launch its new pamphlet "World War 1: What did they die for?", and to formally release its statement on the World War 1 commemorations. The IAWM pamphlet includes essays by Raymond Deane, John Molyneux, Jim Roche and Steve Woods.

The press event will be addressed by Clare Daly TD, artist Robert Ballagh, the Chair of CND the Revd. Patrick Comerford, former MEP Patricia Mc Kenna and writer, historian and secretary of the IAWM Steering Committee, John Molyneux.

The IAWM statement has been signed by over 75 people including Christy Moore, Sinead Cusack, Robert Ballagh, Felim Egan, Raymond Deane, Trevor Hogan, Prof. Kathleen Lynch, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Clare Daly TD and various other people from Irish cultural, academic and political life.

The IAWM statement noted the importance of commemorating the dead, including the 49,000 Irish soldiers, of World War 1 but stressed that the supposed good cause for which they died should be exposed for the imperial slaughter that it was.

The statement also called on the Irish government not to use the occasion of the commemorations to justify the slaughter of World War 1, or to justify the ongoing militarisation of Europe or the current state of perpetual warfare being promoted by the major world powers.

Jim Roche, PRO of the IAWM said:

“We absolutely believe that the memory of the 49,000 Irish soldiers who died in World War 1 should be commemorated but we wish to challenge the dominant reasons given to justify this horrific slaughter and to bring an anti-war perspective to the narrative. We should look back in sadness and anger at the way all those soldiers were manipulated into fighting their fellowmen for what was ultimately one big lie, orchestrated for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many.”

He continued by noting:
“We believe that such an anti-war perspective is all the more urgent in this current time of serious international tension and seemingly perpetual war and that is why our statement now signed by over 75 people calls on the Irish government “to ensure that this anniversary is used to expose the real reasons behind World War 1, to analyse the senseless succession of wars in the intervening hundred years, and to promote peace and international co-operation in an effort to end all war forever.” Such a sentiment must surely be an objective for the commemorations of World War 1 which commenced 100 years ago today and which saw so many young men killed and horribly wounded.”

END

Full IAWM Statement here:

IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT STATEMENT ON FIRST WORLD WAR COMMEMORATIONS
JULY 2014

August 2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Far from being a "war to end all wars" or a "victory for democracy", the war was a military disaster and a catastrophe for humankind which left 16 million dead and 20 million wounded, many horribly so. Britain alone suffered almost 900,000 military deaths and a further 124,000 civilian deaths. Life in the trenches was a living hell. Desertions were punished by firing squad. Those who survived were deeply scarred with many suffering debilitating long-term effects.

The war became a testing ground for new mechanised techniques of mass killing with the development of tanks, gas warfare and aerial bombing that encouraged huge profiteering through the armaments industry. In the US alone, for example, war profits saw the creation of 21,000 new millionaires.

The dominant, simplistic justification for World War 1 is that it was a tragically necessary expedient to halt German domination of Europe. We believe it is important to remember that this war was driven by the major imperial powers' competition for influence around the globe. It was an unnecessary slaughter conducted for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Many of the lies told to justify the war on all sides at the time resonate today as young men are cajoled into fighting wars for spurious reasons.

We believe it is vitally important that the sacrifice of the 49,000 soldiers from the island of Ireland who died in World War 1 should be commemorated. We also believe that the supposed good cause for which they died should be exposed for the imperial slaughter that it was. We are not in any way disrespecting the memory of dead Irish soldiers by criticizing the architects of this carnage but we dispute the revisionist narrative idealising the ‘good cause’ that these soldiers died for, a narrative often used to supposedly bridge the nationalist and unionist traditions.

We call on the Irish government not to use the occasion of the commemorations to justify the slaughter of World War 1, or to justify the ongoing militarisation of Europe or the current state of perpetual warfare being promoted by the major world powers. In a time of serious international tension and seemingly perpetual war we call on everyone, but especially Governments, to ensure that this anniversary is used to expose the real reasons behind World War 1, to analyse the senseless succession of wars in the intervening hundred years, and to promote peace and international co-operation in an effort to end all war forever.

www.irishantiwar.org
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