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(Issues 1 to 57)
Dawn Train

Issue 117: March 2004

Nonviolent News Extra includes:

  • Headytorial: Groups on a rollercoaster Go...
  • Lothar Luken's poem; Strange Talk? Go...
  • Billy King on war as entertainment, political vandalism etc Go...

Corrymeela; twig that it begins when you leaf

Corrymeela is the only peace and reconciliation group or organisation which started before the Troubles thirty-odd years ago (the fortieth anniversary is coming up in 2005) still on the go and coming out the far end. But the far end of the Troubles also means adjustment and evolvement, not least because of funding changes (Corrymeela currently depends on voluntary and statutory sources for three quarters of its income). A major review of the Corrymeela Centre and its work at Ballycastle is being begun which may lead to more focused work in the community with the Centre as a resource. Another development has been, through members' involvement, with ethnic and asylum issues.

Corrymeela Sunday, with the theme 'Exclusion and Embrace', takes place this year on 14th March, with a pack of resources available (for worship, information and reflection) on request or on the Corrymeela website

The various programmes of Corrymeela continue apace, some awaiting developments through funding. The schools programme engages in community relations and identity work, with a regular pattern of schools using the Centre, and the hope to have one worker each in primary, secondary, and teacher training sectors. Youth work includes 'seed groups' working intensively with young people over a year. Work with families covers a wide variety of activities including work with victims and survivors . 'Faith and Life', focuses on spirituality and related areas. There are conferences and events at the smaller Knocklayd centre (which has 16 beds). Treetops, based in the Belfast house, works with bereaved children.

The Corrymeela Community, which defines itself as Christian though with a wide diversity of opinion, has 170 members, 3,000 Friends, and a quite new category of Associates. Its aims include being a sign and symbol that Protestants and Catholics can share, providing an opportunity for meeting and learning, supporting victims of violence and injustice, and addressing contemporary issues. A team of international and local volunteers work at the Ballycastle Centre.

You can become a Friend of Corrymeela for £24 minimum/£12 unwaged and receive 'Connections' magazine.

Corrymeela (Belfast) is at 8 Upper Crescent, Belfast BT7 1NT, ph. 028 - 9050 8080, and e-mail The Ballycastle Centre is at 5 Drumaroan Road, Ballycastle BT54 6QU, ph. 028 - 2076 2626 and e-mail Corrymeela Knocklayd is at 28 Stroan Road, Armoy, Ballymoney BT53 8RY, ph. 2075 1521, e-mail Corrymeela Link in Britain, which provides support and funding, is at PO Box 4839, Earley, Reading RG6 1XX, ph. 0118 - 926 1062, e-mail The Corrymeela website, which includes much more news and views, is at

Chernobyl Children's Project; Oscar says hello, office moves
Chernobyl Children's Project (CCP) has been celebrating the Oscar for best short documentary awarded to the film Chernoybyl Heart, which features the project prominently; the documentary was shot over a two-year period in the Chernobyl-affected regions and documents the terrible effects of radiation, and the high levels of cancer, birth defects, and heart conditions suffered by the region's children. Meanwhile another convoy of humanitarian aid will leave Ireland, from Celbridge, Co Kildare on Easter Sunday 11th April bound for Belarus; there will be 14 articulated trucks with goods and specialist medical equipment, and 14 ambulances to be delivered to orphanages and hospitals, in all worth in excess of €2 million. CCP will be moving its base from about 15th March; the new address is Ballycurreen Industrial Estate, Ballycurreen, Cork (which is near the airport); phone numbers are not yet available but the e-mail and web addresses will remain the same, e-mail and website The website now features the ability to make donations online, otherwise donations can be made to Chernobyl Children's Project, A/c No. 36410021, sort code 99 07 01, at Permanent TSB, 1 Lapp's Quay, Cork.

Pax Christi Ireland
The AGM of Pax Christi takes place on Sunday 28th March from 10.00 - 4.30 at Avila Spirituality Centre, Dublin (and this year the International Pax Christi Council takes place in Connecticut, USA). Pax Christi continues with its work on landmines at an international level, on weapons of mass destruction, global peace and security, small arms and children, and also regarding the situation in Northern Ireland. Subscriptions remain at €25 waged, €10 unwaged, and €5 for students. Pax Christi, 52 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6, ph 01 - 496 5293, fax 496 5492, and e-mail

Restoring Justice? A challenge for Northern Ireland
Kilcranny House, Coleraine and WAVE have a joint one day conference coming up looking at different perspectives on justice and exploring how some communities have responded in the development of community based restorative models. It will take place in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine on Monday 15th March, from 9.30 am - 3.30 pm; the fee of £5 includes all costs and lunch. Enquiries and booking should go to WAVE Trauma Centre, 13 Castlecroft, Main Street, Ballymoney, BT53 6DT. For Kilcranny House, ph 028 - 7032 1816,

New director sought for CAJ
CAJ, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, is seeking a new director. Martin O'Brien, who was director, has moved on to funding for peace and reconciliation; Martin worked for the CAJ for 16 years, and was director for half that, during its consolidation as the premier organisation dealing on human rights issues in Northern Ireland, taking up a wide variety of issues. CAJ prioritises four key areas of work; policing, criminal justice/emergency laws, equality and protection of rights. Candidates require various qualifications, skills and experience including 3 years senior management experience, and an in depth knowledge of human rights issues relevant to Northern Ireland. The closing date for applications is 19th March and further information and applications are available from; Liz McAleer, CAJ, 45-47 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2BR, phone 028 - 90961122, e-mail and web

Peace People meditation
A Silent Meditation group meets on the second Tuesday of the month (9th March, 13th April, 11th May, 8th June) at 7pm; Peace People, 224 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 6GE, phone 028 - 90663465, e-mail and web

Meath Peace Group; DUP's vision
The next Meath Peace Group public talk will take place on Monday 29th March at 8pm in St Columbans College, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co. Meath on the topic "The DUP's vision for the future". Full details to be announced nearer to the date. Enquiries: Julitta Clancy, Batterstown, Co. Meath, phone 01-8259438, e-mail website contains summaries/ transcripts of many talks held since 1993.

New Ireland Group; voting often (encourages them)
The latest pamphlet offering from the New Ireland Group is on "A review of the voting procedures in the Belfast Agreement". As these led to some strange goings on, and despite the current impasse (or because of it), this is a very welcome little pamphlet (12 pages, A5, price £1.50). New Ireland Group, 7 Slievedarragh Park, Belfast BT14 8JA, e-mail and web

PANA; Iraq anniversary, Bush visit
The Peace and Neutrality Alliance will be marking the conquest of Iraq by holding a demonstration outside the American Embassy on Saturday 20th March between 12.30am and 1.30pm. Please inform all your contacts. PANA will also be helping to organise protest demonstrations against George Bush's visit as Ahern seeks to help elect Bush by inviting him to Ireland. PANA; e-mail or phone 01 - 2859111 / 2808247 / 2844765.

FEIC/Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign
FEIC monthly vigil marking International Women's day: Women and War will be at 5.00 pm Saturday 6th March at 2004 Raytheon, Branch Road, Derry. This will be an act of solidarity with women victims of the arms trade and FEIC's contribution to International Womens Day. We will be facilitating those at the vigil who wish to reflect on the theme of women and war. E-mail or phone 078 - 0326890.

Burma Action Ireland; beyond recognition
[-A much shortened version of this appeared in the paper edition]
Burma has recently caught the attention of the Irish media due to the decision by the Irish Foreign Minister, Brian Cowen to establish diplomatic relations with the ruling regime. Minister Cowen claims the decision "will ensure that, during the [EU] Presidency, we can contribute more directly to promoting the process of democratisation and national reconciliation there." As Burma's military is infamous for its appalling human rights records, many have posed the questions, 'why now and how exactly will it help ?'

The decision has come at a time when Burma's ruling regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), are conducting a propaganda offensive designed to convince the international community that they are serious about a transition to democracy. In August last year they launched their 'roadmap' for democracy, a non-timetabled program calling for a national convention, a new constitution and free elections. However, this seemingly reasonable pronouncement has to be seen in its true context. The regime have for many years claimed they are to embark on the road to democratic transition 'very soon', while simultaneously employing draconian measures to stifle the voice and grassroots organisation of the democratic opposition.

This latest initiative comes in the wake of the murderous attack on pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's entourage in May last year, her subsequent arrest and indefinite period of detention, now into its tenth month. Nobel Peace Laureate and Freewoman of the City of Dublin, Aung San Suu Kyi is not alone in paying a heavy price for her non-violent struggle for democracy. Thirteen hundred political prisoners languish in Burma's jails, among them eighteen elected members of parliament. If the regime were genuinely interested in dialogue, the first meaningful step would be the release of Suu Kyi and all elected representatives so that they can play their rightful part in any negotiations toward a democratic transition. Burmese pro-democracy organisations have condemned the 'roadmap' as yet another stalling tactic, designed to defuse the growing pressure in the international community for concerted, measured action to compel the SPDC to engage in genuine dialogue.

Next month the European Union's Common Position on Burma is due for review amid calls for it to be hardened to include economic and trade measures, in line with those taken by the US administration in the wake of last year's arrest of Suu Kyi. The regime's best hope for the EU is that member states will allow the Common Position to remain weak, that trade will continue to grow with Burma and that their grip on power will be strengthened. Into this picture steps the Irish Foreign Minister, determined to establish diplomatic relations with the regime. There is no tangible reason to believe that the SPDC 'roadmap' is any different materially than any other of the regime's bogus pronouncements on democratic transition.

In the absence of clarification from Minister Cowen on just how his initiative will help the process, it is difficult to see how it will be received as anything other than a propaganda coup for Burma's ruling regime at a time when they seek what they lack most, the respectability that comes with diplomatic recognition.

Meanwhile the Euro-Burma Network (a collection of European-based Burmese solidarity groups) is holding their Spring Conference in Dublin on March 6th, hosted by Burma Action Ireland. Dr Sein Win will be in attendance and film director John Boorman ("Beyond Rangoon") is opening proceedings. For more information on Burma Action Ireland please contact: John Copley, Burma Action Ireland, 01-4950171,e-mail and web

An opportunity for travellers and hosts to participate in other cultures [-A shorter piece appeared in the paper edition]
SERVAS is a non-governmental, interracial and international association. It was founded in 1949 as a peace movement. SERVAS is a non profit making organisation working to build understanding, tolerance and world peace. It operates through a network of SERVAS hosts around the world who are prepared to open their doors to SERVAS travellers.

There are over 15,000 "open doors" scattered throughout the world. Through SERVAS, travellers are offered the chance to meet hosts, their families and friends and participate in their every day life. Where convenient hosts offer two nights accommodation and invite travellers to share in their evening meal. The names and addresses of hosts appear in annually produced lists which are made available to approved travellers. SERVAS hosts are ordinary people. The only requirements to join SERVAS as a host is the willingness to offer hospitality to travellers of any race, religion or culture.

SERVAS encourages travellers to experience other societies more deeply and with more understanding than is possible with a casual or tourist visit. You do not need to be a host to become a traveller - it is not reciprocal in any way.

See for further information. E-mail for the information pack or send a stamped addressed envelope to your Local Co-ordinator: John Grubb Fedamore LIMERICK Tel: 061-390321 Seán O Fearghail 10 Cremore Avenue, Glasnevin, DUBLIN 11 Tel: 01-8367880 Gerry Duffy Caretaker's House, Waterworks, Lee Road, CORK Tel: 021-4541876 Ellen Duly 9 Demesne Manor, Demesne Road, Hollywood CO. DOWN Kirsten Doherty 54 Merrion Strand, Sandymount, DUBLIN 4 Tel: 0-219 6012 Br Baptist Sugrue St Francis School, Clara, CO.OFFALY Tel: 0506-31129

"With every true friendship we build more firmly the foundations on which the peace of the whole world rests". Mahatma Gandhi


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