Previous editorials

Current editorial

February 2021

December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020

December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019

December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018

December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017

December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016 (supplement)

December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015

December supplement
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014

December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013

December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012

December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011

December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009

December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008

December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007

December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006

December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005

December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004

December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
July 200
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002

December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000

16 Ravensdene Park,
Belfast BT6 0DA,
Northern Ireland.
Tel: 028 9064 7106
Fax: 028 9064 7106

This is an archive of material
mainly from 1992 until December 2020.
Please go to our CURRENT WEBSITE
for material from January 2021 onwards.
What's new?

Billy King


Nonviolence News



These are regular editorials produced alongside the corresponding issues on Nonviolent News.

Issue 117: March 2004

[Return to related issue of Nonviolent News.]

All aboard the roller-coaster

Action for Peace, All Children Together, Commission on Justice and Peace, Corrymeela Community, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Dawn, Dutch-Northern Irish Advisory Committee, East Belfast Community Council, Fellowship of Reconciliation in Ireland, Glencree Belfast House, Good Neighbour Campaign, Lifeline, Peace People, Protestant and Catholic Encounter, Pax Christi, Peace and Reconciliation Group (Derry), Peacepoint, People Together for Peace, Sydenham (Belfast) Community Group, Ulster Quaker Peace Committee, United Nations association, Witness for Peace, Women Together.

This is a list of groups who were one-time members of the Northern Ireland Peace Forum which ran from 1974 to 1988 (taken from Dawn Train No.7, 'Peace Forum Umbrella Folds' article). It is only one small section of one part of civil society, as was. A few of these organisations are alive and kicking as much as ever, in a couple of cases under new names. A majority have gone the way of the dodo. A few would have disappeared but still have a skeletal networking function. Several of these had connections south of the border, but if you did a similar survey of peace and campaigning groups in the Republic 'then' and 'now', you would also come up with quite a different picture to 15 or 20 years ago. So whether it is Northern Ireland emerging from the Troubles, or the Republic, change is a constant.

Groups come and go. Our lead item in the news section on Corrymeela pays tribute to a Northern group which has not only weathered the Troubles but began before them, and survived; a unique experience. As the funding environment gets tougher and tougher, and Peace ll money also disappears for the North and border region, even more of today's organisations and projects may bite the dust. A change may or may not be as good as a rest but a change is essential.

'Sustainability' is not sustainable for many. A strong supporter base can help but rarely provide all that is needed. Juggling different three-year funding contracts, each of which comes to an end, is a nightmare for administrators and fundraisers. And while charitable/trust money is essential, the only alternatives are death or taxes; the death of a group is a bit final and taxes, as in government funding, has the same disadvantage as funding from charitable trust sources - what the government gives the government can take away. In addition, governments or parts of state apparatus have particular political agendas which mean that even if you fitted their criteria, taking government funding may not be the best way to persuade people of your neutrality (this very much depends of how you are working, and who with). The Republic has also had less in the way of charitable-type trusts than the North, although that situation is changing slowly.

Apart from being given loads of cash to invest, owning property which is rented out to commercial or other enterprises is perhaps the happiest situation to be in for sustainability, unless you also have huge maintenance costs. But arriving at that situation is formidably hard. Most people will remain wedded to the application form and the power of persuasion, or the power of prayer if they are so inclined.

Developing the spirit of volunteering is something which most 'voluntary' and community groups try hard to do. That has become harder in an environment where there are more and more pressures on people's time, and consumerism and commercialisation seem to take over every fabric of society, but idealism and commitment still exist.

And expectations of the state have also been changing, in particular in the Republic with the economic boom of the 'nineties. The Southern state is now in a position to provide much of the services in health and welfare which were previously provided, sometimes haphazardly, by voluntary groups; the fact that it may not, or the provision is extremely patchy, is a sad reflection on a government without the courage to raise taxes to 'normal' western European levels to a provide a 'normal' western European level of social and health care. It should but it does not. And in the UK the government likewise refuses to raise taxes, even slightly, to fund developments in wealth and welfare which are badly needed.

In this picture it is hard to feel that the individual can play a role to make a difference. Empowerment of the individual in an era of the empowerment of the corporation is a difficult act to get together, and a time when governments 'listen' but do not hear. But change will come, whether through choice or necessity, the latter because today's lifestyle in the rich west is not sustainable in the medium to long term. It simply cannot and will not go on.

We can choose to plonk ourselves on our favourite seat and watch television. Or we can build a revolution, a nonviolent and ecological revolution which can yet save this planet from the violent megalomaniacs and vile consumerism which threaten us in very direct ways, as with global warming. We can even build the revolution and 'watch a bit of television', or whatever switches us on (the remote control?). But we can all do something, and 'something' includes encouragement and validation for those who struggle against mighty odds to make changes.

Lovers and couples are sometimes challenged, perhaps by consumer advertising for florists or the like, as to when they last said 'I love you'. Those struggling for social and political change should be challenged as to when they last said 'I really admire your work, keep it up'. It is to be hoped that the modest effort that is 'Nonviolent News' is itself a token of solidarity and expression of 'keep up the work' to those covered…..and an opportunity for others to show support and to network.

Luken From Below

This month's poem from Lothar Lüken:

Strange Talk?

talk to strangers
pick up hitch-hikers
throw change into hats
know thy neighbour.

share your sweeties
your wealth
your feelings
that joke.

give some credit,
don't suspect the worst,
DO touch that,
touch them.

rip down your curtains,
look into eyes,
return smiles,
talk to strangers.

[Return to related issue of Nonviolent News.]

Copyright INNATE 2021