Mairead Maguire (born 27 January 1944), also known as Mairead Corrigan Maguire and formerly as Mairéad Corrigan, is a peace activist from Northern Ireland. She co-founded, with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, the Women for Peace, which later became the Community for Peace People, an organization presently dedicated to addressing an array of social and political issues from around the world. Maguire and Williams were awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize.
- In war, the cost in civilian lives is incalculable, not to mention the many military personnel whose lives are destroyed. Then there is the cost to the environment and the cost to human potential as our scientists waste their lives planning and researching even more horrific weapons which increasingly, in modern war, kill more civilians than combatants. For example, the United States and the United Kingdom committed genocide against the Iraqi people when, between 1990 and 2012, they killed 3.3 million people – including 750,000 children – through sanctions and wars.
We all also watched our television screens in horror in July and August this year as the Israeli military bombarded civilians in Gaza for 50 days. But, why are we surprised at this cruelty of military when they are doing what they are trained to do – kill, at the behest of their politicians and some people? It is shocking to listen to politicians and military boast of their military prowess when in lay persons’ terms what it means is killing of human beings.
- The European Union and many of its countries, which used to take initiatives in the United Nations for peaceful settlements of conflict, are now one of the most important war assets of the U.S./NATO front. Many countries have also been drawn into complicity in breaking international law through U.S./U.K./NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and so on. It is for this reason that I believe NATO should be abolished and that steps be taken towards disarmament through non-violent action and civil resistance. The means of resistance are very important. Our message that armed groups, militarism and war do not solve our problems but aggravate them challenges us to use new ways and that is why we need to teach the science of peace at every level of society.
- The whole of civilisation is now facing a challenge with the growth of what President Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961) warned the U.S. people against – the military/industrial complex – saying that it would destroy U.S. democracy.
We know now that a small group made up of the military/industrial/media/corporate/academic elite, whose agenda is profit, arms, war and valuable resources, now holds power worldwide and has a stronghold on elected governments. We see this in the gun and Israeli lobbies, among others, which wield great power over U.S. politics. We have witnessed this in ongoing wars, invasions, occupations and proxy wars, all allegedly in the name of “humanitarian intervention and democracy”. However, in reality, they are causing great suffering, especially to the poor, through their policies of arms, war, domination and control of other countries and their resources.
Unmaking this agenda of war and demanding the implementation of justice, human rights and international law is the work of the peace movement. We can turn our current path of destruction around by spelling out a clear vision of what kind of a world we want to live in, demanding an end to the military-industrial complex, and insisting that our governments adopt policies of peace, just economics and cooperation with each other in this multi-polar world.
- Pope Francis’ two-day visit to Ireland on August 25-26th comes at a time when people need hope. The Irish Church has been devastated by the abuse scandals, which have never been properly dealt with...Only in the last few years has the Catholic hierarchy recognized that clerical abuse has taken place.
In 1978, Betty Williams and I had the privilege of a 30-minute private conversation with Pope John Paull II in the Vatican. Coming out of a violent conflict in Northern Ireland, we appealed to the Pope to reject the “Just War” theory and to bring forward a theology of nonviolence and peace for the Catholic Church. When Pope John Paul visited Ireland the following year he appealed to people to reject violence and build peace.
However, we still wait for the Vatican to publish an encyclical on Christian nonviolence which would reject “Just War” theology. Pope Francis has called for the total abolition of nuclear weapons and for just peacemaking. His visit to Knock, while rightly focusing on the church’s abuse scandals, was a missed opportunity. He should have also called for the abolition of war and militarism, and for the return to Gospel nonviolence...
In my opinion, an encyclical on nonviolence and disarmament from Pope Francis would give hope to us all and encourage us all to take up our responsibility to build a new culture of peace and nonviolence, not only in the Church and in Ireland, but throughout the whole world.
- As we watch the media today, we are spoon fed more and more propaganda and fear of the unknown, that we should be afraid of the unknown and have full faith that our government is keeping us safe from the unknown. But by looking at media today, those of us who are old enough will be reminded of the era of Cold War news articles, hysteria of how the Russians would invade and how we should duck and cover under tables in our kitchens for the ensuing nuclear war. Under this mass hysteria all Western governments were convinced that we should join Western allies to fight the unknown evil that lies to the east. Later through my travels in Russia during the height of the Cold War with a peace delegation, we were shocked by the poverty of the country, and questioned how we ever were led to believe that Russia was a force to be afraid of. We talked to the Russian students who were dismayed by their absolute poverty and showed anger against NATO for leading their country into an arms race that they could not win. Many years later, when speaking to young Americans in the US, I was in disbelief about the fear the students had of Russia and their talk of invasion. This is a good example of how the unknown can cause a deep rooted paranoia when manipulated by the right powers.
- Firstly, I must say, that I personally believe that Russia is not by any means without faults. But the amount of anti-Russian propaganda in our media today is a throwback to the Cold War era. We must ask the question: Is this leading to more arms, a bigger NATO? Possibly to challenge large powers in the Middle East and Asia, as we see the US approaching the South China seas, and NATO Naval games taking place in the Black Sea. Missile compounds are being erected in Romania, Poland and other ex-Soviet countries, while military games are set up in Scandinavia close to the Russian border to practice for a cold climate war scenario. At the same time, we see the US President arriving in Europe asking for increased military spending. At the same time the USA has increased its budget by 300 billion in one year.
The demonization of Russia is, I believe, one of the most dangerous things that is happening in our world today. The scapegoating of Russia is an inexcusable game that the West is indulging in. It is time for political leaders and each individual to move us back from the brink of catastrophe to begin to build relationships with our Russian brothers and sisters. Too long has the elite financially gained from war while millions are moved into poverty and desperation.
- I believe the problem lies in the older generations who have suffered terribly on all sides through violence and fear... My generation has a responsibility to not restrain the youth by our bigotry and division. It is my hope that in the future we will have non-sectarian elections in a Parliament of left, right and centre... it is time to put aside egos, individual and collective, for the sake of the youth... If this scenario of dysfunctional politics continues, we are each challenged to ask the question: are Sinn Fein or the Democratic Unionists (DUP) pursuing divisionary politics in a quest for continued power?... At this point in our history, faced as we are with important decision regarding Brexit and the question of a soft/hard border, it is even more important that all our elected politicians be present at the table to speak on behalf of the people... It is also important that our political representatives work for a full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the healing and reconciliation of our society... Unfortunately, if the two parties are not able to reconcile their differences then it is the responsibility of the British and Irish governments to hold talks with remaining parties willing to govern in Northern Ireland.
- I want to visit Julian to see he is receiving medical care and to let him know that there are many people around the world who admire him and are grateful for his courage in trying to stop the wars and end the suffering of others... Thursday 11th April, will go down in history as a dark day for the Rights of humanity, when Julian Assange, a brave and good man, was arrested, by British Metropolitan Police, forcibly removed without prior warning, in a style befitting of a war criminal, from the Ecuadorian Embassy, and bundled into a Police Van...
I visited Julian on two occasions in the Ecuadorian Embassy and was very impressed with this courageous and highly intelligent man. The first visit was on my return from Kabul, where young Afghan teenage boys, insisted on writing a letter with the request I carry it to Julian Assange, to thank him, for publishing on Wikileaks, the truth about the war in Afghanistan and to help stop their homeland being bombed by planes and drones. All had a story of brothers or friends killed by drones while collecting wood in winter on the mountains.
- I nominated Julian Assange on the 8th January 2019 for the Nobel Peace Prize. I issued a press release hoping to bring attention to his nomination, which seemed to have been widely ignored, by Western media. By Julian’s courageous actions and others like him, we could see full well the atrocities of war. The release of the files brought to our doors the atrocities our governments carried out through media. It is my strong belief that this is the true essence of an activist and it is my great shame I live in an era where people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and anyone willing to open our eyes to the atrocities of war, is likely to be hunted like an animal by governments, punished and silenced.
Therefore, I believe that the British government should oppose the extradition of Assange as it sets a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistleblowers and other sources of truth the US may wish to pressure in the future. This man is paying a high price to end war and for peace and nonviolence and we should all remember that.”