Like most organisations, INNATE has its ups
and downs, and I am very happy to say that at the start of
2006 we are certainly entering an ‘up’ period
of considerable activity. For a networking-and-action organisation
with no offices, no paid staff and almost no money, the amount
done has to be considered remarkable. But it can be even more
remarkable – and that is our aim.
The regular monthly cycle of producing a newsletter
in paper, e-mail and web editions takes a very considerable
amount of work. The paper edition of Nonviolent News remains
its usual two sides of A4 whereas the e-mail and web editions
can run up to a dozen or more pages of A4 equivalent. It has
continued a number of regular features apart from the news
section which appears in all three editions; editorials, a
green column from Larry Speight, a nonviolence training workshop,
and Billy King’s comment column. We have a very useful
product in our website and will be working to promote it more;
it is heavily used internationally but we feel the Irish usage,
North and South, east and west, could be higher. We are also
committed to getting information out elsewhere – e.g.
providing a feature to Peace News
Much work goes on behind the scenes –
including responding to queries, usually by e-mail (some from
as diverse places as Uganda, Nepal – and Cork! –
in all these cases we could offer local contacts), some on
aspects of nonviolence training. We are working on providing
training for other organisations. Another aspect usually unseen
is meeting and interpreting the Northern Irish situation to
visitors, sometimes setting up or assisting with setting up
programme for them. Networking never ceases, can never cease.
Members would have also had a variety of engagements with
other bodies ‘in the field’ though the credit
for these is not due to INNATE itself.
Events organised in the last year include an
arms trade conference (organised jointly with the Peace People)
last May, a joint autumn series of lectures on aspects of
conflict with the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s
University Belfast, and a workshop on the spirituality of
Christian nonviolence with Brendan McKeague of Pace e Bene
(well, the last was in January 2006 rather than 2005 but still).
The Belfast networking group of INNATE meets
monthly, on a Monday evening. We would welcome additional
involvement from those accessible to Belfast…..but anyone
around the island can assist by promoting INNATE and by assisting
with the provision of news. There is only so much can be crammed
in the paper edition of Nonviolent News but the e-mail and
web editions have no such restriction.
As usual I would like to thank the INNATE crew,
old and new (you know who you are) with a special thank you
on his retirement (well, he can still be called on) from INNATE
to Gordon Kelly; thank you Gordon, you’re a great guy
and we really appreciate your gentle and committed involvement.
There is one other aspect of INNATE which requires
attention in 2006. Financial outgoings, though extremely modest,
have been exceeding incomings and there is no pot of gold
to fall back on. Life would be easier in INNATE if all those
who should pay a subscription actually did so (subscriptions
are due at the start of the year). Otherwise work, which could
otherwise be done on more substantial topics, will have to
go on fundraising. That ball is in your court…
2006 has many challenges for those who believe
in nonviolence in all its many aspects. In INNATE we commit
ourselves to be in the thick of these challenges – networking,
informing, campaigning, training, supporting. During 2006
our work will include dealing with aspects of ‘war machinery’,
both the arms trade and army recruitment which is becoming
more blatant in Northern Ireland with ‘normalisation’.
We look forward to a busy year.
Rob Fairmichael, Coordinator, INNATE,