Good Firefighters always try to save children from burning
Summary: True heroes today attract little or no mainstream media attention. The seven criminals who were found guilty "on all counts" in a Georgia court deserve the greatest respect, support and honour we can give them for their nonviolent action against the very existene of massively destructive Trident missiles in Kings Bay in Georgia USA
The death of Gay Byrne has galvanised Ireland in a way few other events have done. I liked Gay. He was a great and charming entertainer who brought a certain kind of happiness to his millions of fans on Irish TV and Radio over a period of some 60 years. Irish newspapers have given front page and saturation coverage to his passing since Tuesday last. Special TV programmes have commemorated him. His presence will be missed. Irish people will fill many tomes of Remembrance books with their signatures and comments on his life's work over the coming weeks. Although much loved, he was not and never claimed to be a hero.
Two days after his death shocked us all, I got a video message from friends in the United States about seven other human beings who were found guilty "on all counts" two weeks ago by a jury of their peers in Georgia, USA.. Their "crime" was an attempt to tell the world and their own country in particular, that the US base in Kings Bay, Georgia contains Trident nuclear missiles that have thirty eight hundred times as much destructive power as the bomb that devastated Hiroshima. They now face up to twenty years each in prison. No Irish newspaper found space to mention this fact although many of the seven have Irish roots.
Their names are Carmen Trotta, Patrick O’Neill, Elizabeth McAlister, Fr. Steve Kelly, Martha Hennessy, Clare Grady, Mark Colville.
The video shows six of them emerging along with their supporters from the courtroom, singing. The seventh, Steve Kelly, is already in prison. All six of them speak with emotion and sincerity, visibly drained and tired. They talk about their "privileged position" by comparison with the other people they have met in prison. They are now criminals in the eyes of a US justice system. Although denied the right to plead from international law or that they had a just cause or that their religious views impelled them to act as they did, they still find words of understanding for the judge who charged the jury and presided over their trial. It is a very moving video.
The movement that gave rise to this and similar actions is a religious one, the Catholic Worker. Though not a believer, I regard these seven criminals as heroes of our time. Religion to them means a lot, maybe nearly everything, and it has inspired them to take this selfless heroic action on behalf of the present and future children of the world. They deserve our respect, our love and our solidarity.