Afri Famine Walk in Mayo: Waltzing on borrowed time
“Waltzing on Borrowed Time” is the topic for this year’s Doolough Valley walk on Saturday 18th May. Walk leaders are Oisin Coghlan (Director of Friends of the Earth in Ireland), Hanny Van Geel (long time organic farmer and activist) and Pete St John (famous songwriter including ‘Waltzing on Borrowed Time”) and there will be music by Imogen Gunner, Emer Lynam and friends, plus local dancers. The event commemorates a local tragedy of the Famine in 1849 but addresses the looming ecological catastrophe. This is the 31st such walk organised by Afri whose major themes are militarisation and peace, food sovereignty, climate change and climate justice, and migration, refugees and homelessness.
Registration for the walk begins at 12 noon in Louisburgh. Shuttle buses will bring walkers to the start point where there will be a brief ceremony before walkers head the 11 miles back to Louisburgh. €25 is requested per adult participant, which includes the bus fare, or people can organise sponsorship. Further information on the Afri website www.afri.ie Afri, 8 Cabra Road, Phibsborough, Dublin 7, phone 01 8384204.
As part of the Famine Walk weekend, a ‘Food for thought’ event, organised by Feasta, will take place at GMIT Castlebar from 11am on Friday 17th May, offering a reflective learning space on food sovereignty, this year focusing on transformational change. There will be two guest speakers – Hanny van Geel from La Via Campesina and Michael McGaughan, author of Coming Home. See tinyurl.com/y6hpsl6a
New leader for Corrymeela Rev Dr Alex Wimberly is the new leader of the Corrymeela Community, taking over from Pádraig Ó Tuama who was five years at the helm. Alex Wimberly will be taking over the role gradually this summer as he becomes free of his existing chaplaincy/volunteer responsibilities with Corrymeela. He previously worked in Belfast as minister of McCracken Memorial Presbyterian Church. See /www.corrymeela.org Meanwhile Pádraig Ó Tuama will be working on a wide variety of projects, including a PhD in poetry and theology; you can keep up to date with his doings at www.padraigotuama.com/events
Film on Shannon and US Veterans for Peace Two
A new 15 minute film by RoJ, produced for Afri, “War crimes facilitated at Shannon Airport”, looks at the issues of US involvement with Shannon Airport as a military base and the recent action by US Veterans for Peace Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers there. This comes as they are currently denied the ability to return home despite their clear commitment to return for any trial. www.youtube.com See also Nonviolent News 268 and the Shannonwatch at www.shannonwatch.org
Peacebuilding and local communities A seminar on Peacebuilding and Local Communities in Post-Conflict Societies: Challenges andOpportunities takes place in the Neill Hoey Lecture Theatre, Long Room Hub, TCD on Tuesday 7th May from 10.30 – 17.30. Speakers include Duncan Morrow (Northern Ireland), Young-Hoon Song (Korea), Kyriakos Pachoulides (Cyprus), Lina Paola Malagón (Colombia), Maath Musleh (Palestine), Colette Nkunda (Rwanda) Athithan Jayapalan (Tamil Eelam/Sri Lanka), Ju-Ri Kim (Korea), Maja Vodopivec (The Balkans). It is organised and supported by the Korean Institute for National Unification, Trinity Centre for Post-Conflict Justice, Trinity Long Room Hub, and Irish School of Ecumenics Trust. Please register via Eventbrite tinyurl.com/yxerscjd Contacts: Jude Lal Fernando, firstname.lastname@example.org and Dong Jin Kim, email@example.com
Mairead Maguire collects journalism award for Julian Assange
Julian Assange has been awarded the 2019 European United Left-Nordic Green Left Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information, devised in 2018 in honour of assassinated Maltese journalist Daphne Galizia. Nobel Peace prize winner Mairead Maguire received it on Assange’s behalf at an event in the European Parliament in France in mid-April. The Peace People have been involved with support for Assange. www.peacepeople.com
MII advocate mediation for complex public disputes Commenting on the news that a dispute between developer Mm Capital and Tesco threatens the €50m redevelopment of Phibsborough shopping centre, President of the MII Margaret Considine said “Most major redevelopment projects involve a number of stakeholders and there is always a high risk that disputes will arise. The involvement of accredited mediators, from the outset of such negotiations, can shape the process to be more effective and heighten the chances of avoiding serious stand-offs.”
“Any hold up of the Phibsborough redevelopment will postpone significant benefits to the local economy and the visual enhancement of Phibsborough, but in addition, any delay of the redevelopment could also adversely impact the timeline for the major redevelopment of Dalymount Park, being undertaken by Dublin City Council, as the shopping centre development includes a civic public space with access to the new Dalymount Park. This in turn could delay the provision of a public library and extensive new community facilities, which are part of the Dalymount redevelopment”, said President Considine. “As a “not for profit” independent organisation that promotes best practice and the highest professional standards in mediation, MII certified mediators could provide the framework that would optimise the quality of dialogue between the parties involved, which is required in the current circumstances.” MII/Mediators’ Institute of Ireland www.themii.ie
CCI at centre of United Nations Chernobyl commemorations
On 26th April, at an event marking the 33rd Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Adi Roche of Chernobyl Children International spoke at United Nations Headquarters in New York City during a poignant commemoration for Chernobyl victims, ahead of the world-premiere of HBO and Sky’s new ‘Chernobyl’ mini-series at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Chernobyl” dramatizes the 1986 nuclear accident that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, and brings to life the true story of the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save Europe from unimaginable disaster. The trailer is at www.youtube.com This came exactly 3 years after Adi Roche’s address to the United Nations General Assembly, which resulted in the designation of April 26th as ‘United Nations Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day’. CCI have delivered over €105 million worth of humanitarian aid to the affected regions of Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia since 1986. See www.chernobyl-international.com CCI, 1A The Stables, Alfred Street, Cork. Phone 021 455 8774, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Nay to NATO, Yes to peace
As foreign ministers of the 29 member nations of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), gathered in Washington, D.C. on April 3-4 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the largest military alliance in the world, nonviolent peace activists across the U.S. and from around the world also gathered in Washington to proclaim: “No to NATO – Yes to Peace.” For six days anti-war proponents participated in justice and peace workshops, rallies, an anti-NATO conference, an end to war concert and a disarmament counter summit. See: worldbeyondwar.org/notonato/ and paxchristipeacestories.com
EU: €13 billion for the arms industry The European peace church network Church and Peace has reacted with disappointment and protest at the decision of the European Parliament on 18th April, to adopt the European Defence Fund, thus paving the way for €13 billion to be earmarked for research and development of military equipment in the coming Multiannual Financial Framework (2021 - 2027). For the first time, the EU will become the financier of the European ‘defence’ industry with funds from the common budget that will not be available for civilian tasks. This sum will also be supplemented by €6.5 billion for 'military mobility'.
There are no plans to make corresponding savings on national defence budgets. The Defence Fund Regulation was adopted on the last day of the legislative period by 328 votes to 231. In the parliamentary debates and negotiations between Parliament, the Commission and the Council over the last few months, the GREENS/EFA initiative succeeded in excluding autonomous killer drones from eligible projects. However, it still includes armed drones and weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons.
That is why Church and Peace, together with more than one hundred organisations and church groups, is calling in relation to the European elections to: “Save the European Peace Project! Stand up for a European Union that advocates peace and human rights unconditionally. Campaign for a European Union that adheres to the European peace project instead of becoming a military power...” www.church-and-peace.org
Opposition to climate-hostile LNG Trade At the end of April, 200 groups from both sides of the Atlantic released an open letter to EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, calling on the EU and U.S. administrations to immediately stop the transatlantic trade in fracked hydrocarbons. The letter highlights that the continued use and import/export of fracked LNG torpedoes critical climate targets and violates basic human rights. The letter also refers to what activists call the #Fracking4Plastics link, highlighting that the plastics industry has reaped under-the-radar benefits from the environmentally destructive fracking boom and an oversupply of cheap ethane. This surge has been a boon for the plastics industry, which relies on petrochemical manufacturing to turn ethane, a hydrocarbon present in natural gas, into plastics. “The EU is importing U.S. fracked gas to create plastics,” says Andy Gheorghiu, policy advisor at Food & Water Europe. “Europe is throwing away a stable climate for a throw-away society.” See tinyurl.com/y3waetbe Source: Keep Ireland Fracking Free
ICCL alarmed by DNA information confusion
In April, ICCL/Irish Council for Civil Liberties expressed alarm at reports that the private genomic research company GMI has stated confusion regarding its basic obligations under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). ICCL’s Executive Director, Liam Herrick, said: "There are huge privacy risks inherent in GMI’s activities. Given the collection of information pertaining to DNA there should be absolutely no question about obligations around use and storage of this data. Confusion as to whether these are new obligations under the Health Research Regulations 2018 highlights a concerning lack of knowledge or even wilful ignorance of these obligations.
“The GDPR clearly includes “genetic data” as sensitive data that requires high levels of protection and stringent conditions for use. Individuals must provide informed consent to their data being collected for a specific purpose. Any use other than for that specific purpose requires further consent. It is also very clear that the data collected in the EU attracts the protections of the GDPR even if used or processed outside the EU.” ICCL www.iccl.ie
International Conscientious Objectors’ day
This is on 15th May, an opportunity to remember and celebrate conscientious objectors' resistance for peace, their refusal to bears arms and take part in war - throughout history and today. WRI/War Resisters’ International this year has a focus on Colombia for International Conscientious Objectors’ Day, see https://www.wri-irg.org
Peace Trails Ireland Newsletter Accompanying this issue of Nonviolent News is a Peace Trails Ireland Newsletter, with a summary of where peace trails have got to – literally and figuratively. Online here
INNATE photo site New material on the site includes twenty Glencree photos, some more peace trail pics, and info on the Irish Pacifist Movement. See www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/
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