I'm proud to share my birthday with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Pics of a vigil I organised alongside friends from Afri, Amnesty, Transparency International, 5 members of parliament and others.
A poem by my friend, the amazing poet Sarah Clancy from Galway, Ireland
At 22 I wasn't much more than a playground for ideas
other people fed me.
I was three years away from even being brave enough
to explore my own identity.
It was years more before I stopped that navel gazing
and took a quick look outwards
and I’m still failing to come to terms with that at forty,
but you, at that age could gather the courage
and the words to say that as a solitary soldier
washed up in an army of macho war porn and murder
you wouldn’t stand for it,
as a loner in a theatre of torn up conventions,
of water-boarding, of torture,
you wouldn’t stay silent.
At twenty two, a kid, and right in the thick of things
you made it clear you hadn’t been fooled
by the all pervasive culture that says
there are times when it’s AOK to re-name humans
as nuts and bolt collateral.
Chelsea when they charged you in the military court
you made no Nuremberg excuses
of how someone made you do it,
and you didn’t spout on about flags or orders or duty
at twenty five you could condemn
an army for its war crimes for
its murders of civilians and children
and you could act on it despite the consequences
you could reclaim the meanings for us
of words like courage and justice,
now that’s what I call service;
someday I hope your country (and ours!)
will grow up and deserve it
happy birthday Chelsea
lets hope that for your next one you’ll be free.
And P.S Edward Snowden, keep on running!
Written for Chelsea's 27th birthday (Dec 17th, 2014)
Various bits of news, photos and updates from Ruairí. More on Twitter and Facebook.