Ethical and Shared Remembering – community education project
The Ethical and Shared Remembering Project of The Junction in Derry Londonderry was established as a means of exploring and constructing an ethical value base for the people living on this island, based on the principles of an inclusive and fully integrated society. Addressing the decade 1912-1922, the Project seeks new discoveries and breakthroughs, as well as new ways of looking at old problems. Funding secured from the Columbanus Community Trust will enable the project to develop a comprehensive training resource package for use by educators, trainers, facilitators, community development and community relations activists, faith groups, clergy and others. Training will be offered with the resource. Drs Johnston McMaster and Cathy Higgins will head the project which will be rolled out across the island over the next three years. It will include mapping cultural and women’s issues. Various resources are already available from the Ethical and Shared Remembering project which has been going since 2010. A booklet is available on “Commemoration in a new context: Remembering a decade of change and violence in Ireland, 1912-1922”, explaining the context and methodology. See The Junction website at http://www.thejunction-ni.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org and phone 028 7136 1942.
CCI: Chernobyl children arrive for summer
500 Chernobyl children have been arriving into Ireland as part of the Chernobyl Children International (CCI) annual airlift of children. The children coming from the heart of the contaminated Chernobyl zone are being hosted by hundreds of Irish families throughout Ireland as part of CCI's 26th Anniversary Rest & Recuperation Programme. Despite the challenging times, Irish host families continue to raise funds to support these children to ensure they benefit from a cleaner Irish environment. While giving the children a memorable summer holiday, their trip to Ireland also provides respite from the high levels of radiation to which they continue to be exposed as a result of the Chernobyl explosion. Research has shown that the children's radiation levels drop by 30-50% during their stay in Ireland. Many of the children suffer from a variety of Chernobyl-related illnesses and receive ongoing medical treatment while in Ireland. The arrival of this summers' children brings the total number of children who have benefited under the scheme to over 22,000 since 1991. Chernobyl Children International, Ballycurreen Industrial Estate, Kinsale Road, Cork, www.chernobyl-international.com and phone 021 – 4312999.
Hiroshima Day, 6th August / Irish CND
This year sees the 67th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Irish CND is planning its traditional commemoration in Merrion Square, Dublin at 1.00 pm on 6th August, and hopes that there will also be events to mark the occasion and to re-iterate the commitment to ridding the world of nuclear weapons in other locations around the country also. If you would like to help hold a commemorative event wherever you are, please let ICND know. On Thursday 21st June, the Dáil discussed current issues in relation to nuclear proliferation and disarmament; speakers from government and opposition parties and independents gave a rare show of unity in joining to re-affirm Ireland's commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons. The transcript of the speeches can be read here. Reports on ICND’s AGM can be found at irishcnd.org Irish CND e-mail email@example.com and phone 086-3621220.
WAVE: Injured in the Troubles
WAVE Trauma Centre launched their report, “Injured in the Troubles: the needs of individuals and their families” in May. Written by Prof Marie Breen-Smyth in association with Northern Visions, the report is available on the WAVE website at www.wavetraumacentre.org.uk (252 pages). As WAVE states, the report shows “a staggering shortfall in services for very many people physically injured as a result of the Troubles”. It includes looking at calculations of the number of injured (p.93), while acknowledging the difficulties in so doing; different studies show up to or over half a million people had a ‘direct’ or ‘severe’ experience of the Troubles, a couple of hundred thousand ‘bereaved’ by the Troubles, and up to 107,000 injured (RUC/PSNI figures show 47,541 injuries to 2003 but this is only injuries the police recorded). “The major findings of the study concluded that the majority of people injured in the Troubles are now experiencing deteriorating health and increased dependency” and “also found that initial compensation was based on income and not need and life expectancy was underestimated.” For WAVE see www.wavetraumacentre.org.uk
Red faces in the sunset
There were red faces in the city that kicked out Raytheon when organisers of the Clipper Round the World yacht race, about to arrive in Derry, were forced to admit that sponsor Kelvin Hughes is a major armaments manufacturer. See here which includes comments from Derry Anti-War Coalition (DAWC).
Work-based learning/Mediation Masters or diploma
Applications are now open for the (3rd year running of the) Masters in Work-Based Learning (Mediation Studies) jointly led by the School of Education at Queen’s University, Belfast and experienced staff at Mediation Northern Ireland. Graduates will receive a degree awarded by Queen's University Belfast. If you are an experienced mediator and want to gain a relevant qualification related to your work this may be for you. Modules are normally completed in Belfast in two blocks of two and a half days per module (usually Thursday-Saturday lunchtime) and include work-based research methods, historical overview of mediation, models of mediative intervention for systemic change and international dimensions of mediation. All modules are assessed; to be awarded the master’s degree (as opposed to the diploma), students need to complete a dissertation. The course itself runs over two years. For more information, see the Mediation Northern Ireland website: www.mediationnorthernireland.org or contact Máire Patton at firstname.lastname@example.org
God’s Creation – Our Responsibility?
Eco-Congregation Ireland’s Inaugural Conference takes place at Dromantine, Newry, Co. Down on 14th and 15th September. Speakers include Prof David Horrell, Dr Anne Primavesi, Dr Alastair McIntosh, Rev Peter Owen-Jones, Prof Stephen Williams. Workshops: Media & the Environment; Ecology & the Economy; Ecology & the Eucharist; God’s Creation & Poetry; People, Place & Parish; Sustainable Living & Spirituality; Climate change & its Impact on Developing Countries; How to Become an Eco-Congregation; Weather Matters; Finance for a Fair Future; Celtic Spirituality; Helping Children & Young People Nurture Respect for Earth. Various options are available for attendance from one day at £50/€60 to full conference fee £120/€140. To find out more & to download a booking form see ecocongregationireland.com. E-mail email@example.com and ph 086 1706923.
Friends of the Irish Environment support bog action
Friends of the Irish Environment in late June welcomed Irish government action to enforce the ending of turf cutting on protected bogs. FIE report that they recently surveyed 22 protected raised bog sites from the air and found that 17 were being cut and they are aware of others. Photos from their aerial survey are available on their site at www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.net They comment that “This is the natural heritage equivalent of dismantling Newgrange stone by stone.”
With the proposed Constitutional Convention in the Republic under criticism for possible lack of openness and control by the government, Irish civil society has written to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste outlining their joint position on the proposed convention, and the need to include economic, social and cultural rights on its agenda. As Irish Amnesty international has pointed out, “The Red C poll found that 78 per cent of those asked agreed that the convention should look at how the Constitution could protect the right to adequate housing, while 81 per cent agreed it should examine the right to equal access to healthcare.” See here
FOE-NI on (Giants) Causeway Coast golf course development
Friends of the Earth has asked the Minister for the Environment in the North to rescind his decision to approve a golf resort on the Causeway coast. And UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee requested that the UK Government halt the development until the impacts on the World Heritage Site can be fully assessed. James Orr, Director of Friends of the Earth, Northern Ireland, said: “It is embarrassing to read this decision by UNESCO when we knew of its concern as far back as 2003. In the light of this decision .... it is inexcusable for the Minister for the Environment to justify using public money on fighting the judicial review taken by the National Trust......The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site and it would be very short-sighted of the Minister to risk losing it.” FOE-NI website www.foe.co.uk/northern_ireland/
‘Who Pulls the Strings’, is the name of a new campaign by FOE-NI, asking for an end to the secrecy around political donations in Northern Ireland so that democracy can be more transparent and decisions better reflect the public interest. Members of the public can get involved in the campaign by following it on Facebook, or by filling in a postcard available from the FOE office in Belfast, ph 028 9023 3488.
Everyday objects transformed by the conflict
Healing Through Remembering’s exhibition, Everyday objects transformed by the conflict, is at Strule Arts Centre, Townhall Square, Omagh, from 6th – 21st July, and will then be St Mary's College, Falls Road & Spectrum Centre, Shankill Road, Belfast from 2nd – 11th August 2012 (exhibition will be jointly held at these 2 locations). HTR website and phone 028 - 9023 8844.
Rossport Solidarity Camp
Lots as usual happening around including a Day of Solidarity on 13th July, Meitheal Iorrais on 14th & 15th July, a DIY Wind Turbine course at Rossport Solidarity Camp from Saturday 4th - Friday 10th August, and a weekend meeting 1st-2nd September on the future of Rossport Solidarity Camp. Full details, as well as reports, at www.rossportsolidaritycamp.org and see also www.shelltosea.com Rossport Solidarity Camp, Barr na Coilleadh, Poll an tSómais, Ballina, Co Mayo, ph 085 1141170.
Strong support for UN arms trade treaty
Amnesty International and the Control Arms Coalition presented UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon with the signatures of more than 600,000 people demanding an effective global Arms Trade Treaty. The petition includes almost 7,000 Irish signatures, collected around Ireland by Amnesty International members. Negotiations began on 2nd July in the United Nations headquarters in New York to agree a treaty to regulate the trade in conventional arms such as rifles, machine-guns and rockets.
Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “Every year hundreds of thousands of people are killed, injured, raped and forced from their homes because of an international arms trade that is out of control. Guns, grenades, bullets, bombs, tanks, helicopters and other weapons and equipment are used for serious human rights abuses. Right now, in Syria, South Sudan and other conflict zones, a poorly regulated arms trade means that human rights abusers never have to worry about running out of ammunition. The Arms Trade Treaty negotiations are an acid test for political leaders to face up to reality and agree rules leading to the end of irresponsible arms shipments that fuel grave abuses of human rights.”
Most governments, including Ireland, want to see a strong treaty text agreed by 27th July. But some have been trying to weaken the treaty rules and definitions. For instance, the USA, China, Syria, and Egypt have voiced opposition to including ammunition. Colm O’Gorman continued: “There must be no loopholes or exceptions. Every arms deal should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If there is a substantial risk that the arms could be used to commit serious human rights abuses, then the deal should not go ahead.” http://www.amnesty.ie
Death of Walter Wink
We regret to record the death of Walter Wink, at his home in Massachusetts, USA, on 10th May, aged 76. Wink wrote 16 books and hundreds of articles in the fields of biblical interpretation, war and peace, and nonviolence, the most famous of which is probably “Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination”. His interpretation of the Christian ‘turning the other cheek’ as nonviolent resistance is well known. A tribute article by Richard Deats is available on the US FOR website.
Film on Iraq war protests of 2003
A documentary film is being made in Britain about ‘the big’ 2003 Iraq War protests – the film is entitled 'We Are Many' and it aims tell the story of the global protests against the Iraq War on 15th February 2003, when tens of millions of people in hundreds of cities around the world protested against the impending war on Iraq. Whilst the protest didn’t stop the war, the film will show that unexpected and surprising consequences flowed from that day, including connections to the Arab Revolutions and the subsequent Indignados and Occupy Movements. See here and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to share stories, memories and anecdotes.
Permaculture gathering, 3rd – 6th August
This year’s island-wide Permaculture Gathering will take place on an evolving permaculture farm in Strokestown, Co Roscommon from August 3rd – 6th (bank holiday weekend) and will provide many opportunities for learning and networking.
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