Saturday, March 16, 2024

Strong message of support in Kilcullen for Palestine

Food, music, and a strong wish to do something to try and ease the suffering of people in Palestine brought people together in Kilcullen Town Hall this morning, writes Brian Byrne. There was food for thought too, in the contributions from the organisers of the Coffee Morning fundraiser and in the conversations around the tables through the event. 
Across those there was an expression of the feeling of helplessness as civilians — men, women and children just trying to live their lives — are bombarded, driven from their homes, and massacred in a rage of revenge by a militarist nation gone rogue. A nation whose own history should have them keenly aware of the horrors of that kind of injustice.

Ray Kelly thanked all who had come to support the event and shown solidarity with the people of Gaza and the West Bank suffering atrocities. He read lines from an Irish song of a time when the people of this country were suffering in a similar way: Again, again, the soldiers came/They burned our houses, stole our grain/They shot the farmers in their fields ... Today the struggle carries on/I wonder will I live so long/To see the gates being opened up/To a people and their freedom. "The ironic thing is that those words could so easily be said today by a Palestinian man, woman or child, about what they are going through. Our Irish history is not that far away from that of the Palestinian people, and maybe that's why Irish people want to be so supportive of them in their hour of need."

Co-organiser Emily Barrett said she wanted to convey the dismay and helplessness and despair that she felt every time she turned on her phone and watched the suffering unfold on social media and mainstream news. 
"Events like this are a way to help us as communities to get through these feelings and show our solidarity," she said.  "The people in Palestine do hear what happens in Ireland. They see the murals, the gatherings and demonstrations, and it is so encouraging for them. Palestinians living here in Ireland whom I have spoken to say they do feel the love that the people of Ireland have towards Gaza." 
She said there will be other events happening in Kilcullen and across County Kildare and asked anyone interested to leave their contact details. Among these is a film to be shown in Kilcullen on Friday 12 April, Israelism, and she asked people to watch out for it. "I'm so encouraged by seeing all of the people here," she concluded. "Let us not stop talking about Gaza."
Music through the morning was provided by local harpist Leah O'Sullivan, singer-songwriter Conor O'Mahony of Newbridge, and Kilcullen singer Enda Byrne. All funds raised today are being sent to Gaza via UNWRA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
All the Diary's photos from the morning can be accessed here.

Photographs use Policy — Privacy Policy