Five Military Aircraft at Shannon Airport

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Foreign Affairs, Human Rights

Five Planes at Shannon Airport 26/10/2016


Today at Shannon airport, we are contributing to the pain being suffered by thousands of women and children like the Syrian lady described below. There are no less than six United States war planes at Shannon this evening at about 4pm. Two are US Navy C40 cargo and troop transport aircraft, numbers 5832 and 8981, and these arrived at Shannon last night from Sigonella Air base in Sicily Italy, and probably from the Middle East before that. Most likely they are on their way back to the USA to collect more war materials that will be used in the ongoing assault on Mosul in Iraq. The next one is also US Navy, a Hercules C130 number CW4994. Then we have two US Marine Corps Hercules KC130 mid air refuelling tankers, numbers QB 7984 and QB 5736. If these two refuelling tankers are heading for the Middle East then they are probably joining the nine other mid air refuelling tankers that passed through Shannon airport in June this year. Their main purpose is to refuel fighter and bomber aircraft in mid air, so they can spend even more time dropping bombs and missiles without having to return to base to refuel. These two arrived at about 3pm this afternoon. These five aircraft are being protected by an Irish army patrol, accompanied by a Garda patrol car on Taxiway 11. Meanwhile at the main terminal building gate 42 a large Kalitta Air, Boeing 747-222B cargo aircraft on charter to the US military arrived at Shannon yesterday, from Texas, via Prestwick in Scotland. This Kalitta air plane took off again from Shannon at about 7.30 pm this evening. Looks like the peoples of Syria and Iraq are in the process of having a lot more air attacks in the coming days and weeks, and we in Ireland are giving the United States full frontal cooperation at Shannon airport in its business of killing and destruction.

I was a student, once.
I graduated from a prestigious university and shook hands with its founder when I received my diploma.
Now my hands grasp at others’ unwanted clothes;
Cling desperately to donated gifts for my children;
Shove aside other mothers who might win these prizes instead of me.
I was a teacher, before.
I taught English to Syria’s brightest and used up the electricity marking books late into the night.
Now strangers speak to me slowly, like a baby, asking “Do…you…understand?”
And I fool myself that I’m sleeping when night falls
And there is no light but the stars’ to see by.
Really I am doing the same as in daylight, just on my back.
I was a neighbour, back then.
I made baklava and brought it to Aleema when she was ill.
We car-shared on school runs.
Now I live next to strange men who shout and fight late into the night, whilst I clutch my children;
Next to foreign women who pull my hair and accuse me of cutting in the lunch line.
I was a woman, long ago.
I wore make up, I went shopping with friends in Damascus.
I brushed my black hair before a dressing table mirror.
Now I wash with wet wipes.
I search for donated shoes that fit; style is a rare and happy coincidence.
I queue to use portable toilets filled hourly by thousands of ill and unwashed strangers.
Those that bother to use them, at least.
I was a wife.
Ahmad brought me bracelets from the market on his way home from work.
He got grumpy when I woke him in the morning but smiled when he heard me singing.
He hugged our children,
And kissed me before he left,
And went out humming, as he always does.
As he always did.
Now I tell my name to the English girl before me and shake my head when she asks for my husband’s.
She nods and tries to look understanding. But what can she understand?
This girl, barely more than a teenager,
Never having known war, never having loved, never having had to run from chaos to strife, never having lost?
What can she know?
But then I remember, and I forgive.
For I was her, once.