Reden und Zitate über Betty Williams und Mairead Corrigan
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August 10, 1976, Andersonstown, North Ireland
On that August 10 day, there had been little or no hijacking. In the early afternoon, in the Tullymore Gardens area of Andersonstown, snipers opened up on a British army patrol from nearby Glassmullan Camp (whose look-out posts stared down into the Drumm home in Glassmullan Drive). They missed, and were seen escaping. Soldiers radioed descriptions and two army Land Rovers converged on a Ford Cortina, carrying two men, speeding down the Stewartstown Road and into Finaghy Road North. The car was being driving by a former internee, nineteen-year-old Danny Lennon. The pursuing soldiers opened fire. Danny Lennon was shot dead. The car swerved out of control.
Anne (Corrigan) Maguire was walking along Finaghy Road North with her children. Joanne, aged eight-and-a-half, was on her bicycle; Mark, who would soon be seven, and John, aged two-and-a-half, were walking; Andrew, six weeks old, was in the pram. Nearby was Anne's sister Eilish (Corrigan) O'Connor, whose eldest child, Michelle, had been killed by a car, driven by a frightened motorist fleeing a riot situation, on this same road, about a hundred yards further down, eight years earlier.
In the middle of this sunny afternoon, a Ford Cortina suddenly tore into them. The world would see the railings and the pram and bicycle. Joanne and Andrew were killed instantly; doctors would stand by helplessly for hours before pronouncing John dead. For weeks they would work on Anne's injuries, relieved when her deep unconsciousness proved to result from brain bruising, but not permanent damage. Her broken legs and pelvis would heal, and she would give birth to two more children. Then Mark, who was the uninjured witness of that first horror, would find his mother dead from the wounds that would not heal, forty-one months later.
Those forty-one months would see Anne going to the other end of the world in search of peace of soul, while her sister Máiread would do the same in search of peace for this world. But that would hardly be foreseen on August 10, 1976: on that day, Catholics in West Belfast, who had exploded in anxiety for their lives against the police in August 1969, in anger against the British army in August 1971, now erupted in anguish against the very people who were the product of these earlier traumata - the Provisional IRA.
Violence was consuming itself, it seemed, and could beget no more violence. In the length and breadth of the Falls area, people gathered to talk about it, or stand silently about in the summer evening air, as the shock sank in, then released a great wave of feeling.
Women grouped at street corners to weep or say the Rosary. Chapels filled for the evening Mass. On Finaghy Road North, a little shrine with fresh flowers was already in place in front of the twisted railings. People stood staring at the spot or walked about aimlessly; cars slowed down as they passed, passengers looking out in a mixture of curiosity and awe, at times it seemed almost in reverence.
There was something unmistakably different about this tragedy among all the tragedies we had lived through. The arguments would quickly start over whether the Provos or the pursuing soldiers should be blamed, or the British in general for being there at all; or 'fifty years of Unionist misrule' for stoking the fires; or whoever you thought were the 'real' cause of all our agony. But even the most intransigent seemed to sense that there was something obscene about trying to blame either a dead youth or the soldiers who killed him, while the mother of the dead children was lying seriously injured in the hospital.
There seemed to be nobody to explode 'against': and the immense frustration of this anguish coming on top of the previous day's fury meant that something had to break somewhere. A volcano working up from the depths of the communal soul was looking for an outlet. While men stood about speechless and impotent, women marched here and there in small groups and prayed. One woman rang the Irish News and gave veteran reporter Tom Samways information on a petition that had been collected; she also gave her name and telephone number for others to contact, an unusual thing to do in a town where you keep your head down. Her name was Betty Williams. The volcano sensed an outlet, and Betty Williams' 'phone never stopped.'
A rally was announced for the afternoon of August 14, when Finaghy Road North would see the first expression of what would become the Movement of the Peace People.
On the afternoon of August 10, with the sun gleaming down over the bay at Keel on Achill Island, Máiread regretfully cut short her holiday in order to accompany home a friend who was grieving over a recent bereavement. On the way home, she heard about a tragedy in which two, and perhaps three children had died, with their mother seriously injured after a Provo had been killed in a car chase by soldiers. Hours after she accompanied her brother-in-law, Jackie Maguire, to identify his children. Then, as Jackie numbly told reporters that there was no use in appealing to 'the gunmen', as they were asking him to do, Máiread made an appeal which moved people around the world.
There was not a trace of bitterness in it; it lost no dignity for being made in tears; it spoke of bringing up children to love their neighbors - 'it did not matter if they were Catholic or Protestant, that's not what Anne and Jackie were telling their children and now they're dead, oh God, it's awful'. The volcano sensed another outlet.
[entnommen aus: "The Passion of Peace" by Ciaran McKeown, The Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1984]
[Weitere Ausschnitte aus "The Passion of Peace" zur Geschichte des Nordirlandkonflikts, zur Entstehung der Friedensbewegung und nicht zuletzt zu Betty Williams und Mairead Corrigan werden auf der Webseite von PeaceJam zur Verfügung gestellt, die wir in der Linkliste zum Thema vorstellen]