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Billy King


Nonviolence News


Deadline for the next issue is 28 February 2021

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(Issues 58-107)
(Issues 1 to 57)
Dawn Train

Number 280: June 2020

Editorial: The wind in our sails…

Eco-Awareness with Larry Speight: Our eco-world post Covid-19

Readings in Nonviolence: Nonviolence in Ireland: A study guide

Billy King: Rites Again

Peace issues in Irish government formation
Discussions on government formation between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party are continuing. A statement in early May from a number of peace related groups raised pertinent issues absent from debate: “One other topic, so far absent from the debates, must finally and urgently be aired if democracy and sustainability are really to be achieved: the massive realignment of our defence and military policies over recent decades.

“Successive Irish governments have covertly enabled the EU’s NATO-linked militarisation, shamefully and implausibly claiming that ‘nothing is happening here’ while trotting out the incoherent notion of ‘military neutrality’ to conceal the reality.

“We have had a Green and a White Paper on Defence, which never once mentioned more than three and a half (3.5) million troop movements, along with torture-related flights, through Shannon since 2003, all within a catastrophic, open-ended ‘War on Terror’.

“This is totally at odds with the fundamental principles of Article 29 of Bunreacht na Éireann, which so vitally informed the Peace Process on this island. Yet those who try to retrieve that heritage are demonised as trouble-makers and worse.

“War – ‘organised murder’ in the words of Harry Patch, last survivor of World War I – is not an answer; it is the problem, perpetuating a merciless cycle of aggression and retaliation. It is also wasteful –‘a theft’ from true human priorities in the words of US President Eisenhower – and environmentally destructive.

“Yet in 2015 our then Chief of Staff foresaw our defence forces as ‘an investment centre’. Significant recent moves towards ‘defence-related research and investment’ were put on hold only by the calling of the General Election……..”

“Commitments to the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) are incompatible with an adequate response to our needs in health, housing, education, climate change and other policy areas. We call on any party that enters into negotiations with FF/FG to demand a change in the policy of selling-out Irish neutrality, to bring neutrality into line with Article 29 of Bunreacht na Éireann and with the clearly expressed wishes of the majority of citizens (as confirmed in a Red C poll at the time of the 2019 European Parliament elections)…”

The statement continues with the policy changes necessary and was signed by Joe Murray, Action from Ireland (AFRI); Niall Farrell, Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW); Michael Youlton, Irish Anti War Movement (IAWM); David Edgar, Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Roger Cole, Chair, Peace & Neutrality Alliance (PANA); Frank Keoghan, People’s Movement; John Lannon, Shannonwatch; Edward Horgan, Veterans For Peace Ireland; Barry Sweeney, World Beyond War Ireland. Word search the organisations named or see e.g.

Nonviolence in Ireland study guide, webinar
INNATE's "Nonviolence in Ireland: A study guide" - for individual or group use - comes out with this issue of Nonviolent News and is online at (contents there are listed alphabetically). To help people explore this further, there will be a webinar/online seminar on Wednesday 17th June at 7pm for up to an hour and a half; in this time it can only explore very shortly the generality of the study guide and perhaps a little bit of detail. Anyone, anywhere can participate though numbers will be limited; to book, please respond to with a) your name, b) the e-mail address you wish to receive the invite to, c) if there are particular questions you want to address arising from this, and finally d) if time permits, and the webinar is to to look cursorily at one or two sections, which would you choose.

Peace and justice resources online
Transcend Media Service has published “100+ Free Education for Peace (and Justice) Resources Online” by Taylor O’Connor, at In this guide, with links, to free English-language resources there are three main sections:

1) Peace education theory, frameworks, and strategic planning

2) Peace education programs with curriculum materials

3) Curriculum and training materials by theme, with this last section being the major one and sub-divided into 9 further categories.

It includes some very useful material though there are major omissions such as the ‘Empowering Nonviolence’ section of the WRI/War Resisters’ International website or material on the World Beyond War website However there is enough here to keep you going for a couple of lockdowns....not that that is desired.

CAJ: Common Travel Area, UK immigration rules re NI
New material on the CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice website includes analysis of Covid-19 quarantine arrangements on the Common Travel Area of the UK and Ireland, and changes to British immigration laws affecting family members of people in Northern Ireland who are from outside the EU – as CAJ notes “This is .... a short term solution rather than one that addresses the retention of EU rights post-Brexit per se (in the context of people in Northern Ireland still being EU citizens or remaining entitled to be EU citizens by virtue of Irish citizenship). The new provisions do not address bringing British citizenship law per se in line with the GFA.“

ICCL on coronavirus pandemic
ICCL, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, continues to monitor and lobby in relation to government policies on the pandemic. Along other issues, ICCL has said it is time for the government to trust the people of Ireland to maintain social distancing and self-isolate where necessary in order to protect others from COVID19. The organisation called for an end to police powers under the Health Act 1947 (Section 31a – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 on 8 June. See

Afri: Virtual famine walk online
A summary of the online event of 16th May can be found at and there is a link where you can watch almost two hours of inspiring talks and music.

Resisting mining and fossil fuel projects
A recording of a Friends of The Earth webinar on this topic which took place at the end of April, as part of a seminar series on ‘System change for a just transition’, can be found at Speakers include Esteban who is campaigning against fracking in Argentina, Fidelma who is working with Save our Sperrins against gold mining in the Sperrins, and Aideen who is part of Not Here Not Anywhere who are pushing for an end to fossil fuel exploration both in Ireland and internationally. There is lots more seminar and other info on the FOE website

CGE on Freire’s ‘Pedagogy’ at 50
It is 50 years since Paulo Freire’s ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ was published in English. The newsletter of the Centre for Global Education (CGE) for May has a short and clear assessment of it for this era at

Webinars: The History of Peace Movements and the IPB
The International Peace Bureau (IPB) is presenting a two-part webinar series to explore the past two centuries of peace movement activities, including the role of the IPB, which was founded in 1891. Part 1: Tuesday, June 9, 5:00pm-6:30pm CEST, and Part 2: Tuesday, June 16, 5:00pm-6:30pm CEST (which is an hour ahead of Irish time). Speakers will be Guido Grünewald and David Cortright in the first session (going up to WW1) and Colin Archer and Reiner Braun in the second (taking the story up to the Cold war and after). Further info at

WRI on Venezuela
The War Resisters’ International (WRI) has issued a statement on Venezuela: “….we refuse all armed methods of solving the crisis in that country. We call for an immediate de-escalation of the situation and reject any involvement of foreign armed forces in Venezuelan internal affairs, either by constant threats of invasion, by supporting insurrectional armed groups or by providing military aid to the Venezuelan government. We reject the logic of war and permanent conflict .... WRI Executive Committee, wants to make public our support to activists of Laboratorio de Paz and Provea, among whom are members of War Resisters' International network, that have been labelled as terrorist, threatened and criminalized by Venezuelan officials while performing their work in defense of the human rights for all in Venezuela….” See

The current issue of the WRI publication ‘The Broken Rifle’ is on women, gender and antimilitarism

IFOR letter to UN Secretary-General
The International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) has written an open letter to the UN Secretary-General. In this it called for

“1) Prioritize the protection of poor and marginalized people. Economic inequality increases the impact of the pandemic and sets the stage for more devastation with the risk of even greater lethality…….

2. Protect civil liberties and human rights. Emergency legislation rushed through in many countries may serve as cover for oppressive measures and the violation of human rights. …….

3. Use the momentum of this global crisis to shift resources to meet human needs and create lasting peace. Weapons of war cannot defeat a virus, address climate change, nor solve any other world problem.

As States pursue ‘business as usual’ military strategies to contain the virus and create security, the world wastes opportunities to coalesce around creative responses that match the grave nature of this crisis, like protecting the most vulnerable from harsh economic impacts and working in solidarity to ensure global health emergency preparedness. These are the kinds of creative responses that lead to lasting peace. We call for disarmament and a major reduction in military spending worldwide, starting with the abolition of all nuclear weapons. We call for the conversion of military industry to civilian production and for the end of exports of weapons to states at war or violating human rights. Humanity will thrive with equitable local community investment and the shift from funding warfare to funding healthcare and peace. We urge the United Nations to invest more capacity and financial support in nonviolent conflict transformation, mediation and Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping. Now is the time to create a “new normal” built on a culture of peace and non-violence…….. See


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