Lebabnese Journalist's Visa declined
In a statement, the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) has condemned as an outrageous act of censorship the decision of Justice Minister, Brian Lenihan, to ban Lebanese Journalist, Ibrahim Moussawi,from entering Ireland to attend conferences in Dublin and Galway this weekend.
The IAWM and Galway Alliance against War had approached a number of TD's, including Michael D Higgins, to make representations regarding Mr Moussawi's visa to the Minister, after failing to receive any reply when they wrote directly to the Minister themselves.
The Labour TD reported to the conference organisers that he had received a phone call from the Minister where he confirmed that Mr Moussawi would not be allowed enter the country. The Minister refused to give any reasons for his decision.
Richard Boyd Barrett, chairperson of the IAWM said:
“This is an absolutely outrageous act of political censorship by the Minister and the government he represents. It is a disgraceful attack on right of the anti-war movement in this country to provide the Irish public with alternative view-points on both international affairs and our own government's role in them. With this decision, the government have exposed in a dramatic way that Irish neutrality in international affairs is well and truly dead. We have become nothing more than the lickspittles of the US Empire and their Israeli allies. The ban makes nonsense of the frequent claims by this government that they favour “dialogue” and international diplomacy to resolve the problems of the Middle East.
It is truly shocking that a government, including the Green Party, allows US troops to pour through Shannon to murder innocent Iraqi's, and CIA torture flights to touch down in our airports, yet it refuses to allow a journalist to speak who represents the views of some of the victims of US and Israeli policy. Israel, a country that recently slaughtered a thousand people in a brutal invasion of Lebanon, can have an embassy here and its spokespeople can enter the country freely, but someone who wishes to talk about the views of Israel's victims is preventing from entering the country. It's a disgrace!
The Minister's refusal to provide a reason for this ban, particularly when Mr Moussawi has entered this country before, indicates clearly hat the Irish government have bowed to pressure from the US government in making this decision. Anyone even remotely concerned with free speech and the right to engage in open political debate in this country should be very alarmed that the US government is now deciding what view-points can and cannot be heard in Ireland.
All of this is happening in a truly frightening context where the US and Israel appear to be moving towards further military strikes on Iran or Syria or both. Other speakers due to attend our conference, including an elected representative of the Lebanese parliament, are now unable to come because of fears of assassination in their own country. Censoring the voice of political opponents is an integral part of the preparation for war and, incredibly, it now seems that the Irish government are complicit with those preparations.”
Despite the attempts of the US and Irish government's to disrupt our conference's and stifle free speech in this country, the events will go ahead. The ban will simply increase our determination to promote peace and free speech.”