Reflections from Féile Bríde 2020

Speakers from the day: Shivam O’Brien, Micheal Long, Mary Reynolds, Clare O’Grady Walshe, Nelly McLaughlin.
©Photo by Derek Speirs

Afri’s Feile Bride event for 2020 was entitled ‘Rekindling; Revitalising; Rewilding and Restoring’ and was set in the context of the need for urgent action on climate change. Over recent years, many people, of all ages, are getting actively involved in fighting for change. This was reflected at the conference, where we heard from a number of mature activists who have been around for some time but also from Ruby Jo, who set up “There is no planet B” as an 11 year old activist! This shows that we can all be involved in action to tackle climate change – as Greta Thunberg says ‘no-one is too small to make a difference’. This was the 28th year of tending the Brigid flame in Kildare, which as Rita Minehan explained, was lit at the first Afri Conference in 1993 and burns as a “beacon of hope, peace and justice.” It was noted, that one of the trademarks of those who attend Féile Bríde is a spirit of positivity and hope, and a determination, no matter what, to keep on working for a better world for all.

Continue reading “Reflections from Féile Bríde 2020”

Féile Bríde 2019

Féile Bríde 2019

Féile Bríde 2019 will take place in Solas Bhríde on Saturday, February 9th with Registration at 9.50. The theme of this year’s Féile is Education, Action, Compassion, Hope.
Education, (including self-education) is an essential dimension of transformative action; and compassion in all we do has never been more necessary.  Our speakers this year embody all of these vital qualities. 
Richard Moore, whose living example of compassion is such that the Dalai Lama calls him his hero, will speak about ‘Education the Heart’ in the context of his extraordinary story. Caoimhe de Barra has devoted her energies to pursuing justice and human rights, as Michael Doorly has directed his to promoting global education and equity. Kay Mulhall personifies the spirit and aim of the Brigidines ‘to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and seek to build a more inclusive community.’ While Meghan Carmody represents a new generation of activists with passion and determination to see our world transformed.  
Such people and actions – as well as Laoise Kelly’s magical music – bring us hope, the vital antidote to cynicism and despair. A new year, a new spring and a renewed sense of purpose can see us decisively turn the tide in 2019.

Book online here  or download the brochure and the booking form and return by post to Afri, 8 Cabra Road, Dublin 7, D07 T1W2

Reflections from Féile Bríde 2018

 

Afri’s 2018 Féile Bríde took place on Saturday 3rd February in Solas Bhríde in Kildare town.  It was a rich and full day with contributions from Peadar Kirby about caring for our global village, Hanny Van Geel (Via Campesina), Rose Hogan (Trócaire) on ‘food for life’, John Maguire on ‘Peace Meal Change’ and wrongfully imprisoned Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle, as well as music and poetry.  You can get a flavour of the day in a short film made by RoJ.

Here is a report from Sr Patricia Mulhall, who attended the conference:

This is the twenty-sixth year of another well-attended Afri conference hosted at Solas Bhríde Centre, Kildare.  As visiting speaker, Peadar Kirby named it, the Ard fheis of Afri. Some 200 people attended in the beautiful setting of the Centre & Hermitages, a centre of hospitality, brightness radiating a warm welcome. Brigidines – Mary, Phil and Rita – organise and manage the Centre with Cairde Bhríde, faithful friends and staff.

 ‘Light out of Darkness’ was a fitting theme for a day punctuated by music and message of hope. Speakers with academic presentations and personal stories enlightened and entertained the participants. The day began with a presentation from Peadar Kirby, entitled ‘Caring for our Global village.’ Peadar is Professor Emeritus of International Politics and Public Policy in the University of Limerick, Ireland. He is associated with the eco-village of Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, a 67-acre site with 50 acres of land for allotments, farming and woodland as well as 50 low- energy homes. Continue reading “Reflections from Féile Bríde 2018”

Date for your diary – Féile Bríde 2018

Féile Bríde 2018: Light out of Darkness

Saturday 3rd February 2018

Solas Bhríde, Kildare Town

Registration at 10.20am

Book online here

or download a booking form and return by post

Life has given me many challenges, which I choose to take as opportunities to learn and grow. This is my choice. I learned this on death row. I chose life, health, forgiveness, and love. That choice saved me from bitterness and hatred that would have destroyed me from within. I have dedicated myself to an end to violence – in all its forms. This is the way I honour the lives that were sacrificed along the way. This is the way I give back to the universe. Love is the answer. Fear is the enemy. We must choose the world we want and work towards making it happen every day in our own lives.”

These are the inspiring words of death row survivor, Sunny Jacobs, whose life reads like a Shakespearean tragedy, with injustice heaped upon further injustice, creating circumstances that would have crushed many people.  An innocent woman wrongfully convicted of murder, her husband was executed, she lost other family members and she spent many years awaiting her own execution.  But Sunny came shining through it all with dignity, strength, courage, compassion and hope. She is the perfectly encapsulation of this year’s Féile Bríde’s theme:  ‘light out of darkness’.

Sunny and Peter Pringle, the last person to have been on death row in Ireland, have devoted themselves to promoting healing, peace and reconciliation.  Together they have established The Sunny Centre – a sanctuary for others who suffer injustice, especially people who are wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit and have spent time under sentence of death.  We will hear their extraordinary stories at Féile Bríde this year.

Other speakers include the distinguished academic and activist Peadar Kirby, who plays a leading role in the Cloughjordan Eco-Village; UCC Professor Emeritus and life-long peace activist John Maguire; Hanny Van Geel of La Via Campesina, which promotes the rights of peasant communities around the world, and who describes herself as ‘rooted in farming’; and Rose Hogan who has a life-long commitment to agro-ecology and sustainable agriculture.

In a world marred by war and the woeful destruction of our exquisite planet, Féile Bríde is but one example of the many, many people and groups throughout our world who hope for and work towards a better future, a more just world and for the light to overcome the darkness. 

And as the Spring birdsong heralds the end of another winter, we will also have music because, as Hans Christian Anderson said, “where words fail, music speaks”. 

Clár

10.20am          Registration

10.45am          Fáilte, Solas agus Ceol: welcome, light & music

11.00pm          Caring for our Global VillagePeadar Kirby

12.00pm          Food for Life Hanny Van Geel & Rose Hogan               

1.00pm            Lunch and tree planting

2.00pm            Peace Meal ChangeJohn Maguire

2.50pm            Tea break

3.05pm            Music

3.15pm            Light out of Darkness

                                    Sunny’s story

                                    Peter’s story

                                    The Sunny Centre

4.45pm            Music

5pm                 Conclude

 

Féile Bríde 2018 brochure.

To book tickets online go here or download the booking form and return by post

To see who’s going on facebook go here.

Afri’s Féile Bríde conference is part of a week long events being held in Kildare organised by the Brigidine Sisters and Cairde Bríde.  For information about the other events that week visit the Solas Bhríde website or download their programme Feile Bride Programme.

Reflections from Féile Bríde 2017: Darkness to Light

Speakers U.S. peace activist Kathy Kelly (second from right) and Scottish author and campaigner Alastair McIntosh (right) together with Afri Co-ordinator Joe Murray and Brigidine sister Rita Minehan at the 2017 Féile Bríde conference in Kildare on Saturday 4th February 2017. Photo: Dave Donnellan

When we look at the many problems confronting our world, we can sometimes think that things are worse than ever and that little progress has been made towards creating a more just and compassionate world.  But it is important that we keep in mind the progress made, as well as the challenges that continue to face us.

When we held our first Féile Bríde in 1988, apartheid was still in place in South Africa, the conflict in the North of Ireland was still raging with nightly reports of deaths and injuries and East Timor was under the jack boot of Indonesian occupation.   Continue reading “Reflections from Féile Bríde 2017: Darkness to Light”

White Silence Equals Violence

Peace Activist Kathy Kelly (left) with Nuria Mustafa (Centre) and Jack Hynes (right) at Afri’s 2003 Famine Walk in Mayo.

 

White Silence Equals Violence: Awaiting a Verdict
by Kathy Kelly

January 25, 2017

This morning, here in Minneapolis, I’ll learn whether six jurors believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Dan Wilson and I are criminals.  The court case stems from an action protesting the execution of Jamar Clark, age 24, who died in the early morning of November 15, 2015 outside a north Minneapolis apartment complex. Two Minneapolis police officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, were involved in the shooting. Jamar Clark died after a bullet was fired directly into his head. Several witnesses say that he was handcuffed and motionless when he was shot dead. The police officers have been cleared of all charges and are back on the job.

Dan and I are among 25 defendants charged with obstructing a Minneapolis Metro transit vehicle on April 11, the opening day of the Minnesota Twins baseball season.  The Legal Rights Center lawyers working with us arranged a calendar so that small groups would be tried weekly.  Earlier this month, two people were acquitted of all charges and one person has been convicted. Two days ago, Andrew Gordon and Priyanka Premo, lawyers from the Minneapolis Legal Rights Center who are representing Dan and me, began the jury selection process. Yesterday, evidence was presented and the six-person jury was asked to determine a verdict. The jury didn’t arrive at a verdict last night. We felt grateful they are not rushing to judgement on what many would see as a cut and dry case. The prosecution presented, as evidence, a photo of me standing, arms linked with others, in front of a bus. Continue reading “White Silence Equals Violence”

Date for your diary – Féile Bríde 2017

Drawing by Audrey Walsh

Among the issues to be explored at this year’s conference will be forced migration – the inevitable consequence of war and climate change.

Speakers will include distinguished peace activist and author Kathy Kelly and Scottish writer and campaigner Alastair McIntosh.  Find out more in our brochure.

To book tickets online go here or download the booking form and send to Afri by post.

To see who’s going on facebook go here.  

Féile Bríde 2016: A Time of Opportunity

sunrise_dandelions_by_abradale-d520lqcFéile Bríde 2016
A Time of Opportunity

Saturday 6th February in Solas Bhríde, Kildare Town

The recent Climate Conference in Paris, while lacking binding commitments, marked a milestone in terms of governments of the world coming together and recognising the seriousness of the situation and the need to tackle climate change.  Even more important, in advance of, and during, the conference an unprecedented demonstration of people power was witnessed.  Post-Paris it is clear that this people power needs to continue and grow, that it is up to citizens of the world, we the people, to take responsibility and ‘be the change we want to see in the world’.  This is a time of opportunity and Féile Bríde will explore what can be done – and what is already being done – by ordinary people to save our planet. Continue reading “Féile Bríde 2016: A Time of Opportunity”

Reflections from Féile Bríde 2015

From left to right: Bruce Kent, Emanuela Russo, Joe Murray, Salome Mbugua and Colin Archer.  Photo: Pauhla McGrane
From left to right: Bruce Kent, Emanuela Russo, Joe Murray, Salome Mbugua and Colin Archer. Photo: Pauhla McGrane

Imagination and celebration were the order of the day at our 22nd annual Féile Bríde gathering in Kildare. ‘Occupy the imagination’ was the theme and the new Solas Bhríde a cause for celebration – built with the utmost attention to detail, as explained by Rita Minehan, in the teeth of the recession – a prizewinning example of a sustainable building in the heart of the Curragh. Warmth and welcome is added in abundance by Mary, Phil, Rita and members of Cairde Bríde who continue the tradition of hospitality for which Brigid was renowned.

Bruce Kent and Colin Archer, who have devoted most of their lives to promoting peace and – daringly – to the abolition of war, gave dynamic and thought provoking presentations on the extent to which ‘the world is over armed and peace is underfunded’. Bruce, who is in his 8th decade is an inspiration, with his indomitable spirit, his great sense of humour and his constant commitment to the cause of peace.


Film of Féile Bríde by RoJ

The essence of Bruce’s presentation was that ‘unless war is eliminated, the human race will be’ and so he has founded the Movement for the Abolition of War. This may seem like a far-fetched idea but so did the elimination of the slave trade when small groups of Abolitionists met in various parts of the world in the 17th century. (Of course we now have a new slave trade in the form of human trafficking but – unlike the slave trade – it is generally  regarded as the odious crime that it is).

Emanuela Russo spoke about the urgent need to wrest control of food production from the hands of profit-driven, environmentally destructive corporations and to establish food sovereignty, defined as “the right of people to grow and consume food that is socially, culturally, ecologically and economically appropriate to local conditions.” She went on to say: “the current global food system creates hunger and obesity at the same time. There are 900 million hungry people in the world and almost the same amount of obese people. One of the reasons why this is happening is that all around the world, more and more food systems are controlled by big corporations and agribusinesses with the support of national governments and international institutions (such as IMF and WB, WTO), these food systems regard food as a commodity and their main goal is not to feed the people but to make profit.” Continue reading “Reflections from Féile Bríde 2015”