Here is an odd thing.Yesterday I was looking thru the Amnesty International website when I spotted a blog by Patrick Corrigan, the Amnesty Man in Belfast and occasional contributor to letsgetalongerist website Slugger O’Toole. The blog was actually a text of a speech made to G8 protestors at Belfast City Hall on Saturday. It was scathing about United States record on human rights and foreign policy.
But curiously less than 48 hours later, Mr Corrigan was in the Waterfront Hall…in the VIP Section, directly behind Peter Robinson, the First Minister and beside Mark Carruthers of the BBC.
I commented on his blog, asking him if he had used the opportunity to make the same points he had made to protestors just two days previously. If he replies, I will let you know.
I do not know how many of the trade unionists from NIPSA, Unison etc who listened to Mr Corrigan on Saturday got tickets to the Waterfront.
Of course President Obama name-checked many who had worked for Peace…Hume, Trimble, Paisley and Adams. And of course the nice lady in Alexandra Park. But did he mention Mairead Corrigan?
Who is Mairead Corrigan?
Her sisters three children were killed in 1975…knocked down by a car driven by an IRA volunteer who was shot dead by the British Army. The incident led to the formation of the Peace People, which Mairead Corrigan co founded with Betty Williams. It was a short-lived mass movement…the first organised Peace Movement of the Troubles.
Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.
There was of course controversy. Divisions within the Peace People over the fate of the Nobel Peace Prize money, the perception (which I shared and still share) that the movement was naive and certainly exploited by the British Government. Ultimately the Peace People disintegrated after just a few years later.
But it remains a fact that Mairead Corrigan is a Nobel Peace Laureate.
So why was she not in the Waterfront yesterday alongside her namesake Patrick? Did she not deserve to be there?
Did she not deserve a mention (maybe she was) as much as Rory McIlroy and “Dame” Mary Peters.
Where was she?
Well she was at Belfast City Hall…protesting about American policy in Syria and other places. Ms Corrigan takes Peace seriously. She was on a ship seized by Israelis as it tried to get to the Gaza Strip to aid Palestinians.
Perhaps Mairead Corrigan is the wrong type of Nobel Peace Laureate.
Patronised by the Establishment in 1976, she is now a marginalised figure.
A lesson surely for those kids in the Waterfront Hall who were patronised shamelessly yesterday.
Which is better? Quiet Diplomacy? Confrontation?
Which Corrigan has it right?
Who is “Wrong Way Corrigan”?
(If you dont know the reference…Douglas Corrigan was an American aviator who in 1938 filed a flight plan from New York to Los Angeles and landed in Ireland…and was dubbed “Wrong Way Corrigan”)