How far can a person go for the sake of Justice? Caoimhe Butterly the Irish human rights activist went far to a point where it was hard for others to compete. Year 2001, she spent 10 days fasting in front of the offices of the Irish Department of Foreign affairs, and was later on arrested while blocking the runway of the US warplanes to refuel at Shannon Airport on their way to Afghanistan. Year 2002, she was shot by an "Israeli" soldier in Jenin, while she was trying to lead a group of Palestinian children to safety.
Year 2003, she was arrested and dragged away for smearing jam on the riot shields of two policemen at the Belfast summit between Former US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Year 2006, she was violently held by her arms and legs and carried out of a joint press conference in Lebanon between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, after she protested Blair's visit to the country for the background that he was complicit with "Israel".
Year 2010, Caoimhe's strength to conquer humiliation and tyranny grows stronger every day.
In an exclusive interview with Moqawama.org Caoimhe explained that she has always felt responsible in standing up against injustices, no matter what the cost is. "I never accepted the fact that there is racism, injustice and oppression around the world, I had to do something, and so I fought it every where I went".
Caoimhe arrived to Gaza year 2001, "I wanted to go there and witness the injustice myself, after willing to stay for 3 months, I ended up staying there for 9 years", she said.
One of her most touching incidents was during the 22 day onslaught on Gaza of where 16 paramedics were killed. "I lived many wars, I never became desensitized but I learned how to cope with the pain", she said. Caoimhe added that seeing how vulnerable the people and children were while living between life and death hurt her badly."Despite the fact that they are oppressed and terribly suffering, these people are also resilient, strong and courageous", she said proudly.
Speaking of when she was shot in Jenin she said, "On a physical level, I have very exaggerated responses if I hear a loud noise or a certain flash of light, but this experience made me stronger and strengthened my activism".
Caoimhe explained that it was a blessing to go through it because seeing death very closely changed her in a sense that made her want to do something productive. "I was brought closer to understand the devastating affect on people that are living on constant attack, and so here I am supporting the Palestinian struggle", she added.
She later moved on to talk about her moment of rage, "I remember meeting a Father of a family that had been massacred in July war in Lebanon, his wife was in a critical situation and his children were martyred in front of his eyes. He was apologizing to us for not receiving us at his home, he was thinking of our comfort even when he was under such grief and sorrow. That man was a symbol of dignity, beauty and civilization", she said.
"On the same day Siniora was honoring and showing hospitality to a war criminal Toni Blair, I was so angry that I found myself screaming out the truth ahead of power with no fear at all", she continued.
Moving on to the current situation in Gaza, Caoimhe explained the awful humanitarian image present there."The entire infrastructure has been deliberately targeted, and you can see the effect on the Gazans' daily life", she said. She added that 90% of the water is contaminated and over 80% of the people are completely dependant on charity organizations, in addition to the bitter fact that most of them are still living in schools or community centers.
"You can see the humiliation the Gazans are living, standing in line for hours just to get a hand out that would keep their family going for another few days", she said. She added that the Westerns only pay attention to Gaza when there're intensifications, massacres or air strikes.
As for the 26 men sentenced to jail in Egypt last week, Caoimhe said it was a further evidence of Egypt's direct complicity in war crimes in the Gaza strip. "Instead of letting workers and doctors in, instead of responding to the humanitarian crisis and allowing freedom of movement and supplies in, they sentence those innocent young men", she cried.
"The Arab world should only point out their fingers at the enemy which is "Israel", but they should expose their shame towards the Egyptian government and its position", she added.
On the US-"Israeli" relation, Caoimhe said," As long as the Obama administration continues to fund the "Israeli" criminal with 4 billion dollars a year, and as long as they continue to block the implementation of international law, the arguments between them are irrelevant".
She added that talking about the settlement isn't enough when there are bigger issues going on such as breaking the siege on Gaza, and the right of return. "Yeh so Obama invited Netanyahu a little bit late and kept him waiting till he had dinner.. Did that break the siege? I think the Palestinian case needs more than to keep someone waiting", she said with a sarcastic smile.
Caoimhe moved on to talk about the ships heading to Gaza on the 24th of May; she explained that 700 participants from different countries around the world will be ready to sail all the way to Gaza.
"There could be violent attacks of where "Israel" could use war ships to physically stop us, but this time it would be more difficult knowing that we have more ships, but whether "Israel" stops us or not we will move on", she said with great enthusiasm.
Caoimhe concluded by calling out to the Arab world, "People have to wake up to their individual responsibility, we often leave that in the hands of the resistance, instead of understanding that we all have a role", she said.
She added that every human being with conscience and political understanding of the injustice of the occupation must react. "There was a famous Irish hunger striker Booby Sands, a political prisoner under the British occupation who said: "We all have our parts to play any way big or small", and I think people should understand that", she cried out with hope.