Rain did not stop Cork residents from standing in solidarity with refugees and immigrants who have been denied entry into the United States. Last evening, dozens of Cork residents gathered around on Cork City’s Daunts Square to support immigrants and refugees and urge Enda Kenny to cancel his upcoming trip to Washington.
“One Race, Human Race”
The above phrase was uttered many times at this rally, as many immigrants and refugees stood in front of the crowd and expressed their anger and pain by the recent travel ban put in place by Trumps administration.
Representing UCC’s Islamic Society Somali refugee Noora Haji, thanked the crowd for their support of the Muslim community. “My children are asking me why Trump hates us? Why does he hate Somalia? What did we do?” Ms. Haji spoke of the far reaching impact of new US policies that is killing the spirit of her children.
“I’m a woman and I’m a Muslim, I’m an Irish citizen, and I am very proud of who I am. My children who are Irish are also very proud of who they are. There are many Muslim-Americans who are very proud of who they are. Being Muslim is not a shame, it is something we have to be proud of,” added the former Somali refugee.
Pointing to a woman next to her Ms.Haji said:” My best friend and sister in UCC is from New York,” before ending her speech.
American Citizens in Cork
As the organizers of the protest (Anti Austerity Alliance – People before Profit party) pointed out many American citizens helped to organize the protest. Garry was one of those citizens. Enthusiastically smoking his cigarette and shouting “Right on” from time to time. He also condemned new US travel ban policy in his speech.
“ My name is Garry, I’m from Baltimore, Unites States,” said the young American before going on to say :” I think we can all agree that Trump’s travel ban on the people of Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria is not protecting America from terrorist threat. They recently handcuffed a 5-year-old US citizen from Maryland at Dallas Airport. These actions encourage racism against Muslim communities. At times like these we should ask ourselves: what does racism achieve? It is the easiest way to distract people from failing economic systems and shift the blame towards minorities and immigrants. It is the oldest trick in the history book.”
He also condemned the use of Shannon Airport in Ireland by the US military, and urged people to sign the petition to ask Enda Kenny to cancel his trip to Washington. “Organize, resist these are the only non-violent tools that we have,” said the American-Irish man.
A March from Daunts Square to St. Patrick Street
Members of the PBP party asked the protestors to march from Daunts Square to St. Patrick Street and back. Shouting “No fear , no hate, immigrants are welcome here” people walked the streets of Cork city.
Reunited at Daunts Square again some protestors volunteered to speak a few words. A Muslim Irish woman married to a Libyan national, a Turkish-Kurdish gentleman and a few others addressed the crowd emphasizing on the importance of solidarity between people at such times. The protest ended after the protestors were urged again to sign the petition asking Enda Kenny to cancel his upcoming trip to Washington.
The controversial UCC Israel-Palestine conference was repeatedly mentioned by the speakers at this protest. UCC’s decision to cancel the conference due to “security fears” has received backlash from the academic society and ordinary people. Many believe Trump’s presidency and his new pro-Israel policies play a role in UCC’s decision to cancel the conference.