Letters to the Editor: A failure to act by international bodies has brought tragedy

Letters to the Editor: A failure to act by international bodies has brought tragedy

'Whether Russia v Ukraine, Israel v Hamas/Hezbollah, war and terror does nothing to resolve the outstanding issues that brought them there in the first place.' Picture: AP Photo/Hatem Ali

Peace begins when all factions involved in a war sit down around the table. To do this, all contested issues need to be put on the table. The success of any such talks depends on the ability of the conveners of peace talks to stay involved till a pathway forward is reached.

Compromises have to made by all sides in order to get an agreement which they can live with and are willing to uphold. This is what the Irish Good Friday Agreement was about.

If the UN Security Council is to have any credibility or value, this is what it should have been working on the last 76 years with regard to the Palestine/Israel question.

It should have been doing the same in from the onset of Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014 by trying to bring Ukrainians of Russian background, and ordinary Ukrainians so as they could live in peace beside each other.

One would have to ask if the UN has any value on the lives of civilians when it comes to the pursuit of peace between nations when it is not be pro-active in these situations.

Sending UN peacekeeping personnel has enforced long-term humiliation of Palestinians it has proved to be ineffective and had done little to produce lasting peace.

In the Israel/Palestine, tragedy could have been avoided if the Oslo Accords (1993) had been implemented. Likewise, the Ukraine/Russian war if Minsk II (2015) had been implemented.

So, thousands of lives have been lost over and over again by failures of UN Security Council to act along with other world bodies who are financed to pursue peace. Shame on them.

Nuala Nolan Bowling Green, Galway

A look back on wars shows terror is not the resolution 

The tragedy of war is that there are no winners. It brings only death and misery for those caught in the middle.

Whether Russia v Ukraine, Israel v Hamas/Hezbollah, war and terror does nothing to resolve the outstanding issues that brought them there in the first place.

After the First World War, the war to end all wars, the Treaty of Versailles was seen as an absolute failure in diplomacy and allowed for the rise of Hitler, his Nazi stormtroopers, and the death camps.

The Korean and Vietnam wars that proceeded the Second World War saw more misery inflicted on populations after which the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, in Cambodia is estimated to have killed 1m of its citizens through torture, forced labour, starvation and execution.

Time after time, we see different actors involved in theatres of war trying to justify their outrageous acts of bloody massacres; ISIS, or Daesh, being the most recent example of outright butchery and blood lust by a group of extremists on their fellow man.

Now we listen to the harrowing stories told, by mostly young people, who were attacked by Hamas in Israel. It shows the utter depravity that some will stoop to to convey their twisted hateful message.

While we acknowledge that all states are entitled to defend themselves it does not give them the right to starve or bombard those caught in the middle in order for them to achieve their outcomes.

For some the international courts and the UN Convention on Human Rights have little or no significance in their mindsets or planning.

The end game is to destroy your opponent by whatever means possible and to hell with the consequences.

While diplomats and NGOs for peace wail against human atrocities perpetrated against the innocent bystander, this does not register with those who discard humanitarian pleas for peace, diplomacy, and human rights, with revenge as the ultimate outcome, no matter the cost or human suffering.

Christy Galligan, Letterkenny, Co Donegal 

Voice of justice in the climate conversation 

I was delighted to see that you have drawn attention to the recent exhortation from Pope Francis on the environment, Laudate Deum. Your recent article by John Gibbons articulates many of the key points made by the Pope.

As one who struggled to read the Pope’s 2015 encyclical Laudato Si — on care for our common home, I was delighted to get this shorter, more pungent, direct and up-to-date presentation of the key points of his earlier work. It is available online and worth reading in full. It is worth the 30 minutes of your time.

'The recent apostolic exhortation from Pope Francis ought to be proclaimed from the rooftops.' Picture: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
'The recent apostolic exhortation from Pope Francis ought to be proclaimed from the rooftops.' Picture: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

It is often said that the Catholic Church’s social teaching is its best kept secret. The recent apostolic exhortation from Pope Francis ought to be proclaimed from the rooftops. It is an honest and accurate summary of where the earth finds itself at this moment in time. And time is running out.

As I see it, the voices of people like Trump, Murdoch, Musk, Putin, Johnston, and others hold sway and they can dominate our social and political agenda. They do it with glib sound-bites, insults, untruths, and ridicule — a word used by Pope Francis. The voice of justice, peace, and the care for creation is sidelined as it doesn’t suit the liberal, consumerist agenda.

The world lacks a really strong moral voice. Your writer, John Gibbons, notes that we have one in Pope Francis.

Reading Laudate Deum can be disturbing. The Pope quotes an ironic comment from a Russian writer Solovyov about “an age which was so advanced as to be actually the last one”. This was written in 1915. The Pope notes that what we have seen as power and progress is now turning against us.

I attended the baptism of two babies last weekend. They should be able to live their lives fully and healthily, well into the next century. This may not be possible if our generation does not listen to voices such as Pope Francis and change what he calls “our irresponsible lifestyle”.

Gerry Raftery, Kilfinane, Co Limerick 

Negotiations in good faith needed most 

Michael Moriarty blames Israel ('Failure to reach settlement a factor', Letters, October 11) for failing to reach a negotiated settlement with Palestinians.

In fact, Palestinians have rejected every offer of settlement made. Former US President Bill Clinton was utterly shocked in 2001 when Yasser Arafat walked away from the Clinton Parameters, a “deal of the century” that gave Palestinians almost everything they wanted. Clinton has called it “a colossal mistake” on the part of Arafat.

The Hamas Charter expressly calls for the destruction of Israel, and Hamas leaders regularly incite the murder of Jews. We have seen the horrific results of that incitement this week.

As Golda Meir said: “You cannot negotiate peace with somebody who has come to kill you.” Until Palestinians are willing to give up armed struggle and negotiate in good faith, there will be no peaceful settlement.

Teresa Trainor, Dublin 16 

Reminiscing on old jobs 

I wonder if the producers of the Liveline show on RTÉ Radio 1, have taken to sending new researchers on the radio equivalent search for glass hammers and striped paint, when contacting prospective participants on the show?

It took me back to the early 1980s when I got my first promotion in CIE to Connolly Station, before Iarnród Éireann came into existence. I was sent by the office-wise guys to ask a senior executive how much it would cost to send a parcel by rail to a station that hadn’t existed since Todd Andrews did his hatchet job on the rail network.

We both had a good laugh about the search for paint and hammer jobs, and fools who sent fools on fools' errands.

Neither of us knew at the time that he would have — if he had lived enough — become my father-in-law.

Liam Power, Dundalk, Co Louth 

Remembering Chuck Feeney

It is with sadness that we learned of the death of Chuck Feeney, an Irish-American with immense vision, generosity, and humility. In addition to his investments in capital developments in the third-level sector and his funding of the Programme for Research, we remember Chuck’s significant contribution to the modernisation and development of children and family services in Ireland.

Over its 30-year lifespan, Chuck’s philanthropic body, The Atlantic Philanthropies, invested significant funding in both the community and voluntary and the statutory sectors in Ireland.

The core focus of this funding was to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for children through the delivery of evidence-based supports, most particularly early in life. This included universal supports for all children and families and services targeted to the needs of particular populations and communities.

A key feature of the final phase of Atlantic’s work, was insisting on working in partnership with Government to leverage matching funding and to embed good practice models and programmes, thus guaranteeing their long-term sustainability.

Today, the key legacy of this investment includes the area-based childhood programmes, Tusla’s Prevention, Partnership and Family Support Programme and the HSE’s National Healthy Childhood Programme.

Indeed, the Prevention and Early Intervention Network itself was established under Atlantic funding.

Sadly, the lasting impact of the covid-19 pandemic has set back elements of this work, through an increase in mental health difficulties in children, increased waiting lists for vital early intervention supports to children and families and challenges in recruiting and retaining key staff across the sector.

The best way to honour Chuck Feeney’s generous and selfless support would be to redouble our efforts to ensure that children are, as far as possible, prevented from experiencing childhood adversity and trauma and by ensuring that when they do experience challenges, this is identified and effectively responded to at the earliest possible time.

Not only is this clearly in the best interests of children and families, there is a mountain of evidence (much of it also funded by Chuck) this this pays social and economic dividends throughout the lifetime of the child.

Katherine Harford, Prevention and Early Intervention Network, The Southill Hub, Donough O’Malley Park, Limerick

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