Famine Walk 2016: Memory, Solidarity, Sovereignty
Saturday, May 21st, Registration from 12.45pm (€20 per adult participant)
Delphi Lodge to Louisburgh, Co. Mayo
Rafeef Ziadah (Palestine)
Francisco Cali-Tzay (Guatemala)
Clare O’Grady Walshe (Ireland)
Cathryn O’Reilly (Dunnes Stores Strike)
Music: Máirtín O Connor
(special fundraising gig for Afri with Máirtín & family in the Derrylahan, Louisburgh at 8.30pm on Saturday 21st)
Many dates stand out when we reflect on Irish history. This year we remember the 100th anniversary of the Easter proclamation and the Rising of Irish men and women against one of the most powerful Empires in history. One of the worst disasters of the Empire period was the Great Famine of 1845, itself often described as a watershed in Irish History. An Gorta Mór saw a million people die of starvation or famine-related diseases and up to two million more being forced out of their homes and off the land onto the notorious ‘coffin ships’. Some arrived in their new homes across the sea –many others met only death along the way.
There are many reasons why it is important to remember these events. Remembering is about recognizing, embracing and confronting the past but it is not about dwelling there. Remembering should not be about self-indulgence or self-pity but rather about reflecting, understanding, empathising and, most importantly, alerting us to similar injustices in our world today in order to ensure that we do not repeat the tragedies of the past.
So as we remember the ‘Great Famine’ on this the 100th anniversary of the Rising, we express our solidarity with those who are still denied ‘the right to sovereignty’ – as outlined in the 1916 Proclamation. We walk in solidarity especially with those denied their basic human rights in Palestine and Guatemala. We walk in solidarity with the many people forced to leave their homes and flee as refugees and we call on the economically rich countries of Europe and the US to open their hearts, their doors and their gates; to tear down the barbed wire fences, remove the walls and allow these suffering people to enter as our ancestors were allowed when they fled famine and pestilence. Our history demands no less of us.