Irish Peace Trail
The long journey of creating a ‘peace trail’ for the island of Ireland is underway with the first draft of a peace trail for Co Mayo having been piloted at the Afri Famine Walk in Mayo on 19th May. The idea is to gradually produce local peace trails which will then be stitched together to form an overall Irish Peace Trail celebrating examples of nonviolent action, nonviolent living and work for peace and justice – ancient and modern - around the country. It is envisaged having material in both paper and web formats. The project was proposed by INNATE to a range of peace and justice organisations a couple of years ago and a number of organisations are interested. Afri commissioned Nora Tobin as an intern to work on the project and she has drafted the Mayo trail. All interested are welcome to join in with the development of the trail with it being desirous for interested groups to cooperate locally, and it being seen as a long term project to cover the island. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org (or Afri or INNATE).
A background paper is available here, outlining the idea for the trail and listing some suggestions for inclusion – many more will emerge as local peace trails are developed.
Afri’s draft peace trail for Co Mayo is available online or in paper format from Afri at email@example.com and phone 01 – 8827563.
The AGM of Irish CND will take place in the Oak Room, the Mansion House, Dublin 2, on Saturday 9th June, 11.00 a.m. - 12.45 p.m. Membership (€15 / €7.50) is now due also, and can be renewed at the AGM. The IPB, of which Irish CND is a member, has a petition, hosted by www.avaaz.org, in support of its Disarmament for Development programme. After a well-attended commemoration of the Hiroshima bombing in Dublin and Cork last year, members and supporters in other areas are invited to consider holding a simple commemoration in their areas this August. It doesn't have to be on August 6th, which will be the bank holiday Monday this year; some commemorations take place on the nearest Saturday or Sunday, or on 9th August, the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing. If you have any questions or suggestions, CND will be very happy to help. Irish CND website irishcnd.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and phone 086-3621220.
Northern Ireland: Day of Reflection
The annual Day of Reflection will be held on Thursday, 21st June 2012, the longest day of the year. This is an initiative promoted by Healing Through Remembering as a day for personal and private reflection; a day to acknowledge the deep hurt and pain caused by the conflict, to reflect on our own attitudes, on what more we might have done or might still do, and to make a personal commitment that such loss should never be allowed to happen again. It provides a voluntary opportunity for everyone in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and further afield to reflect upon the conflict in and about Northern Ireland and the future that is before us. This could be at work or within a family, group or organisation. See www.dayofreflection.com or contact Healing Through Remembering, Alexander House, 17a Ormeau Avenue, Belfast BT2 8HD, ph 028 9023 8844.
Kerry Diocese gets Eco award
The Diocese of Kerry has become the first Catholic diocese to be awarded an Eco-Award from Eco-Congregation Ireland, an inter-denominational environmental organization representing five different churches. The Eco-Award was given to Kerry Diocese in recognition of the impressive work done by several parishes during Diocese of Kerry Earth Week 2011. The award, a wooden plaque made from a recycled church pew with the words ‘Caring for God’s Creation’, was presented to Bishop Bill Murphy on Sunday the 20th of May at St Brendan’s College Killarney by Sr Catherine Brennan SSL who is the Chairperson of Eco-Congregation Ireland and its Catholic representative. Bishop Murphy in his address said that respect for creation and the environment is “an essential part of the Gospel” and reminded us that we are “stewards” of God’s creation. He commended Sr Regina O’Connell and the Kerry Diocesan Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee, who spearheaded the work for Earth Week, and gave particular credit to Sylvia Thompson for her “trojan work”. Sr Catherine singled out the people of Killorglin, where the Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes worked together and where an all-night earth vigil, which included twelve teenagers, was held. She quoted American poet Adrienne Rich who exhorted us to “reconstitute the world” and suggested that this is part of “truly being witnesses to Jesus”. See here Diocese of Kerry Earth Week runs from from 29th September to 7th October this year. Eco Congregation Ireland is at www.ecocongregationireland.com
Responding to the launch on 17th May of the Irish Government’s new anti-bullying working group, Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland and Chair of the Children’s Mental Health Coalition, said: “While we welcome this strong new initiative, it would be a lost opportunity if it is not put within the wider context of students' mental health and emotional well-being. Policy should not be developed on either anti-bullying or mental health in isolation, as the two are directly related. The working group being set up by Minister Quinn presents an opportunity to look at practical elements that relate to both. This working group must also include the voice of the young people directly. Looking at the broader picture, it is crucial the Department of Education develops a clear roadmap so schools can develop a whole school approach to both anti-bullying and mental health that supports both teachers and young people. The development of new inter-departmental guidelines on mental health in schools currently being finalised is crucial to this process.” See www.childrensmentalhealth.ie
Community Dialogue: Stories from the asylum seeking community
Community Dialogue are launching a publication recounting the – often harrowing - experiences of a number of the Asylum Seeking community living in Northern Ireland. The research was carried out by Dr. Stephanie Mitchell who, along with Seamus Farrell, had co-facilitated a number of dialogues with members of the Asylum Seeking community in 2010. This became known as a series of ‘Conversations around a kitchen table’ where both food and experiences were freely shared. The launch will take place on Wednesday 20th June at City Church, 12-24 University Avenue, Belfast at 1pm and will be followed by a Dialogue session afterwards. (Lunch will be provided). Contact: Jim O’Neill, Dialogue Development Worker, ph 028 9035 1450 or email: email@example.com and web www.communitydialogue.org
Amnesty International – NI: Trafficking, Arms Trade
A new report from the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group, of which Amnesty International is a member, exposes serious weaknesses in current efforts to prevent human trafficking. The report, All Change: Preventing Trafficking in the UK, has a section devoted to NI. Amnesty will use the report to lobby for effective action and change by the Northern Ireland Executive on this issue. Download the report at www.amnesty.org.uk/ni or for a hard copy contact firstname.lastname@example.org Amnesty International will publish a new report at the end of June on the nature and extent of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Northern Ireland. The PSNI recently identified NI as the European region with the highest demand for victims of sexual exploitation. The report aims to fill a research gap and enable Amnesty to campaign more effectively on the issue and will be used in other contexts as well. For updates see /www.amnesty.org.uk/ni
In July 2012, world leaders will meet in New York to draw up an historic document: the first ever international Arms Trade Treaty. Amnesty NI is asking supporters to lobby their MPs to call on David Cameron to publicly affirm the UK government’s commitment to pressing for a robust, human rights compliant Arms Trade Treaty to be delivered in 2012. Also that the UK government insist, during formal negotiations in July 2012, that arms sales shall not be authorised where there is a substantial risk that they will lead to serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. A sample letter and contact details are available at www.amnesty.org.uk/ni
Electric Burma tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi, Dublin, 18th June
Bono is to present Aung San Suu Kyi with Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award as Irish and international artists from the worlds of music, drama, cinema and dance, will perform and give readings at the ‘Electric Burma’ concert for Nobel Peace Prize recipient and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi. The concert will take place at 4.45pm on Monday 18th June, in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2. Details of the concert are on www.electricburma.com Tickets for Electric Burma are on sale from 9am on 1st June via www.ticketmaster.ie, priced from €25 each. See also http://www.amnesty.ie
Shannon do ah.....
Three peace activists (Edward Horgan, Justin Morahan and John Maguire) were detained by Gardai at Shannon Airport on 13th May for displaying signs saying "Peace" and "US Troops Out Of Shannon". After being removed from the airport they joined the regular second Sunday of the month vigil which took place from 2pm to 3pm outside the airport. As usual the peaceful gathering was observed by a large number of Gardai who blocked access to the airport. Shannonwatch comment that “Shannon continues to operate as a transit base for armed US troops on their way to and from wars initiated by the US. While the Gardai remove people with peace signs from the airport, soldiers who may have committed war crimes - and their commanders - are allowed free passage.” For Shannonwatch website see www.shannonwatch.org also download a fact sheet on US military user of Shannon Airport.
Opposition to GM potato trials
Afri, at its annual Famine Walk in Co Mayo, on 19th May, opposed Teagasc’s plans to grow genetically modified potatoes. The ridiculousness of the Teagasc plan was practically illustrated by the planting of a variety of potato known as ‘Butes’ which grew successfully in parts of Kerry throughout the Famine period. This variety which has been shown to be highly blight-resistant is now available from Irish Seed Savers Association in County Clare. Afri has post cards to send to Teagasc (the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland) urging it to keep Ireland GM-free. Afri is calling on the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to initiate a country-wide consultation on the issue of GM. See here or the website home page at www.afri.ie
Corrymeela Summer School, August
Corrymeela’s Summer School takes place at the Corrymeela Centre in Ballycastle from 6pm on Thursday 9th August and disperses around 2pm on Sunday 12th August. The theme is ‘Love HATE Pray’ and will reflect on Matthew 5 v43-48 using various engaging techniques and will nest these explorations in a weave of song, art, informal chats and fireside story-telling. Cost: £200 residential, £100 non-residential. Contact: Matt Scrimgeour, Programme Coordinator, email@example.com ph 028 20761726.
Rossport Solidarity Camp news
The seventh annual Rossport Solidarity Camp gathering is taking place in Erris, Co. Mayo from the 1st - 4th June with a load of different workshops and music, and then from 4th – 8th June there will be a week of action against Shell. The camp reports that “A new small compound has appeared a few fields over from the Glengad compound, right next to where the camp was in summer 2010. This is right along the proposed pipeline route. They are still preparing the tunneling compound in Aughoose, peak haulage is finished. There are still convoys going past the camp on their way to the Glengad compound, escorted by gardaí each time. They are also continuing work in the forestry compound between the refinery and the Aughoose tunneling compound.” Regarding the camp itself, take down of the winter camp has finished, and the summer camp is located two fields away from the winter field, next to the Aughoose church. There are two large communal sleeping spaces (benders), but most people will be sleeping in tents for the summer. See www.rossportsolidaritycamp.org and www.shelltosea.com for further details, how to link in, things needed etc.
Faslane: 30 days of direct action, 30 years of the peace camp
Faslane nuclear weapons base in Scotland is the nearest centre to Ireland of weapons of mass destruction. To mark 30 years of the peace camp there, a 30 Day campaign of anti-nuclear insubordination, from 9th June 9th to 9th July has thus been planned, including announced, organised events such as a Peace Picnic on 17th June, a peace march from Glasgow to Faslane, 21st – 23rd June, and on 1st-2nd July Rise Up Singing (a Trident Ploughshares affinity group) has organised a two-day gathering. There will be an academic seminar roadblock (words into action...) on 6th July, and The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) will NOT be marching on Faslane nuclear submarine lair on Saturday 7th of July, oh no. Lots of other opportunities to be involved..... Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and phone 01436820901. In Northern Ireland to link with others interested in being involved, contact email@example.com
Brian Martin’s Backfire Manual
Brian Martin is well known in the nonviolence world and his latest work Backfire Manual: tactics against injustice (Irene Publishing, 112 pages, ISBN 978-91-978171-4-1) is available “Imagine you're planning an action and think you might come under attack. Maybe it's a rally and there's a risk of police brutality. Maybe you're exposing government corruption and there could be reprisals against your group. To be prepared, you need to understand the tactics likely to be used by your opponent, for example covering up the action and trying to discredit you and your group. The Backfire Manual provides guidance for this sort of planning. It outlines the backfire model and gives examples and exercises for using it. This is a practical handbook for being more effective whenever you face a powerful, dangerous opponent.” Well worth a look or a study. Brian Martin is professor of social sciences at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He is the author of numerous books and articles on nonviolent action and is vice president of Whistleblowers Australia.
Peace, reconciliation and justice in the biblical narrative
In this short pamphlet in four languages, Saint-Maurice Mennonite study centre director Neal Blough demonstrates that peace, reconciliation and justice constitute the central theme of the biblical narrative. Salvation history is a challenge to the Churches to take this message seriously and to put it into practice in today's world. Download from the Church and Peace website. Printed copies are available at a price of €4 per copy plus postage. Church and Peace, Ringstr. 14, 35641 Schoeffengrund, Germany, ph +49 6445 5588, e-mail IntlOffice@church-and-peace.org and website http://www.church-and-peace.org
Peace News Summer Camp, 25th – 30th July, near Shrewsbury
Those looking for something different this summer can consider the Peace News Summer Camp in England, offering excellent value and programme. Making nonviolent revolution is this year’s theme, with a whole-day workshop co-facilitated by US activist George Lakey (see http://tinyurl.com/lakeytour) and Seeds for Change (www.seedsforchange.org.uk). It will all take place in the grounds of Crabapple Community, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire. See www.peacenewscamp.info
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