An Irish writer and activist, Patrick MacManus, has been kidnapped in Palestine by the Israelis without warrant or explanation, and his location is currently unknown.
Patrick is a veteran activist with experience in just about every corner of the globe where oppression exists. A native of Ireland, he was chairman of the Danish Anti-arpethied committee in the 80’s, and was a spokesperson for the group Rebellion, which was formed to oppose the EU’s “Anti-Terror Laws” and to support the FARC and the PFLP. In 2009, he was arrested by the Danish Political Police (yes, that’s their name) and charged with sending 10,000 euros to the FARC. The local Danish court acquitted him, saying that in context of the Israeli and Colombian regimes, resistance was legitimate.
The prosecution refused to relent, and took their cases to two higher courts. In 2010, After a four day trial that was drawn out over six months, Patrick was found guilty of aiding terrorism and sentenced to 6 months in prison. Had he not been over 60 years old and in ill health, the sentence could have been up to ten years. During the trial, veterans of the Danish Resistance during World War 2 protested in favor of Macmanus and his supporters hoisted resistance flags.
(It is important to note that the prosecutions 2 main witnesses were a member of Israeli intelligence and an American “security contractor”)
Upon his release, Patrick immediately went back to Palestine where he campaigned for his primary cause, that of the Palestinian people, and wrote extensively before his disappearance.
What set Patrick apart from other activists was not just the variety of places he helped, but his approach: he was a poet. He loved poetry, and saw it in resistance and risen masses. Of poets he wrote:
“The story of resistance is the story of defeat, of years and years silenced by the force of power….but poets find a way…of giving life to things that seemed to have gone. A world of word which seems far away, on themes and history which to power seems irrelevant in its oppression of the day. An then, on another day, it will all be said again, in voices clear and fearless”
He wrote a lot about the Kurdish poets of the 20th century (Kurdistan was another spot for him), particularly Abdul Gora. who helped define much of the Kurdish literary identity. Before his disappearance he was working on a compilation of poetry of resistance from around the world.
He also wrote extensively via a blog, (the newspapers of today’s revolutions) in which he talked about everything from the Japanese working class and the tsunami, to poets, to Palestine, and the history of his own homeland, Ireland. His articles were marked by a particular scholarliness and attention that is lacking in the works of many of his contemporaries. It is important to note that not once in any article was violence advocated over peaceful methods. Patrick believed firmly that oppression demanded resistance, but violence was always the last, but legitimate, resort.
His widespread activism (Palestine, Denmark, Kurdistan, Swaziland, Columbia, the Philippines, and South Africa to name the primary countries) would seem to give the impression that he was an internationalist whose own homeland was forgotten to him, but nothing is further from the truth. He loved Ireland deeply, traveled it extensively, and regretted that his commitments to Palestine prevented him from doing more. To this end he encouraged Irishman to be involved in the cause of their country. “He changed my life” one Irish American, now a well-accomplished activist, recalled. “He was like a mentor, he taught me to stand up and to speak out.”
Patrick’s life shows the impact one person can make Like a pebble thrown in water, each person’s life creates ripples that spread and expand. Patrick created many ripples in his life. It is only fitting that his concern is repaid with ours. We should be thankful that we are given the chance to create ripples that spread in the lives of others as he did.
What you can do:
-Contact the Israeli prison department and police and demand his release and an explanation.
-Pass the word around about his case.
His blog: patrickmacmanus.wordpress.com
“9 Theses: the Right of Resistance”
(Facebook / 02.05.2011)