Developmenteducation.ie and the Irish Development Education Association (IDEA) have created a new, online space to showcase projects, advocacy, campaigns and actions in development education for schools, community and youth groups. Afri’s 2013 Famine Walk is one of the case studies that you can now read about: http://www.developmenteducation.ie/taking-action
‘From Famine to Food Sovereignty’ was the theme of the 2014 Afri Famine walk in The Doolough valley in May. Here is a short film about the Walk made by Dave Donnellan
Where can you start in talking about the Afri Famine Walk? Well, 1849 is the best point because the Famine Walk is the re-enactment or retracing steps of a real tragedy that happened to people who died walking that way 165 years ago. There is a sense in which the ground we walk on is sacred, holy, or marked because we know some of the terrible things happened in that very place.
But the Afri Famine Walk is not some ethereal revisiting of a past, if tragic, time. It very directly links past, present – what is happening in the world today with causes similar to or the same as what caused and exacerbated the Great Famine in Ireland – and future – and asks us to recommit ourselves to ending famine. There was food, there is food, the question is who controls the food and what happens to it. Some walkers carried posters of the names of individuals who died in that and more recent famines. Continue reading “Famine Walk 2014: From Famine to Food Sovereignty”
Saturday, May 17th 2014
From Louisburgh to Delphi Lodge, Co. Mayo.
Registration from 12.45pm; Walk beginning at 1.30pm
Walk Leaders: Paul Nicholson, Luis Jalandoni, Emanuela Russo
Music: Imogen Gunner & friends
The 2013 Famine Walk will long remain in the memory of those who were there to experience it. The opening of the gates of Delphi Lodge and the welcome extended by proprietor Michael Wade to walkers carrying the names of those who died on the original walk in 1849 was particularly poignant. The planting of an oak tree and potatoes supplied by Willie and Mary Corduff were powerful symbols of new life while the hauntingly moving words of Declan O’Rourke’s Famine song echoed: ‘you Connacht orphans, bare of foot, who walked ten miles at 7 years/ you took your little sister’s hand and walked her to the poorhouse door/ and when they had but room for one/ you left your little sister there/ and feint with hunger all day long/ you walked the ten miles back again”. There was a profound sense of history being made, of those who had died being fittingly remembered, of at least some wounds being healed.
Earlier we heard moving words from Salome Mbugua recalling recent famines, including in Somalia where over 200,000 died virtually unnoticed by the outside world in the period 2010-2012, and we were inspired by Gary White Deer’s reflection that “as we retrace the steps of the people whose names we bear, we believe that they will be with us on our journey”. Continue reading “Famine Walk 2014: Opening the Gates – From Famine to Food Sovereignty”
Joe Murray, who was present at the first Famine Walk in Doolough in 1988, reflected, in his opening remarks, on the past twenty five years and how the Famine Walk remains relevant today.
It’s hard to believe that the Doolough-Louisburgh Famine Walk has been on the road for 25 years! When Afri initiated this walk of remembrance and solidarity in 1988 the Great Famine was hardly commemorated at all and, if it was, the link with contemporary famine and hunger throughout the world was rarely made. Afri set out to ensure that the Great Famine would be commemorated because of its singular importance in our history. We also wanted to ensure, however, that it would be commemorated not in a self-indulgent or self-pitying way but rather in a way that links it to contemporary issues of hunger and famine throughout the world. We sought to ensure that the lessons learned from the Great Famine in Ireland would be applied to today’s world.
It is encouraging to see that the Great Famine is now being commemorated in Ireland and that the contemporary dimension is almost always included. However, in the ensuing 25 years the situation for the world’s poor has not improved, in fact things have gotten worse. The numbers now experiencing hunger in our world has increased to a staggering one billion. One billion people who experience hunger in our world of plenty! The Famine Walk focuses on the causes of hunger such as unjust economic structures; unfair trade; the war industry (costing in excess of $1600 billion in 2010); climate change and a relatively new cause of famine – the issue of genetic engineering. This year’s walk is in solidarity with those affected by the genetic engineering of food crops. This is not an academic argument as its impact is felt by millions of people throughout the world. Continue reading “Famine Walk 2012: Corporations, Crops and Control – Seeds of Life or Seeds of Strife”
Afri would like to thank the brave one hundred and fifty people or so who joined us on the stormy Saturday, 21st May to complete our Annual Famine Walk! Thanks also to all those who supported us by getting sponsorship or by giving a donation.
Afri organised two events on the 21st and 22nd of May in Co. Mayo that addressed fundamental issues of economic and political justice in the world today.
The first was the annual Famine Walk from Doolough to Louisburgh, on Saturday 21st, commemorating the death of Irish people during the ‘great famine’ of the nineteenth century and highlighting the reality of hunger and food insecurity in the world today, the causes of which include war and obscene levels of military spending. This year the Famine Walk focused especially on the question of food sovereignty, including the threats to it from increasing corporate control of the food chain and the treatment of food as just another commodity to be bought and sold. The theme of corporate power also dominated at the second event, a public meeting in Erris on Sunday 22nd, where activists from India exchanged their stories of oppression by multinational companies (especially Union Carbide and its devastation of Bhopal) with the tales of local campaigners against Shell’s unwanted and dangerous Corrib Gas pipeline. Continue reading “Events organised by AfrI in Co. Mayo”
Afri would like to thank the hundreds of people who joined us on a wonderful sunny day for our 22nd Annual Famine Walk from Doolough to Louisburgh on Saturday, 22 May.
The walk leaders Justin Kilcullen of Trócaire, Felicity Lawrence, writer and journalist for the Guardian, and Jo Newton of the Irish Seed Savers Association opened the event with short reflections on the walk theme: Hunger in a World of Plenty: Sowing Seeds of Hope.
The various speakers outlined how the injustices that led to the Irish Great Famine continue today in terms of unequal global food distribution and the way in which multinational companies increasingly control agriculture and the food processing system, while small farmers and food producers struggle to survive. A linking thread was that food insecurity will continue and intensify today unless we tackle issues such as loss of biodiversity, global warming, corporate control of food production, and the patenting and aggressive marketing of genetically modified seeds.
The 21st Annual Famine Walk took place from Doolough to Louisburgh County Mayo on Saturday, May 30th 2009. As has been the case on all but one of the previous walks, the weather was good for hundreds of people who took part in the walk, the theme of which was: Power Concedes Nothing Without Demand.
Local shuttle buses ferried walkers from Louisburgh to Doolough in the now familiar pre-walk routine. At the lakeside Afri Chairperson, Andy Storey, introduced the walk leaders: Philip Ikurusi from Niger Delta; Choctaw Gary Whitedeer as well as Mary and Willie Corduff from Rossport. Extracts from the writings of Frederick Douglass were performed by Donal O’Kelly and Sorcha Fox before walkers began the ten-mile trek back into Louisburgh.
Saturday 30th May – Louisburgh, Co Mayo – beginning at 2pm
Power Concedes Nothing without Demand
Willie and Mary Corduff (Erris)
Philip Ikurusi (Niger Delta)
Gary Whitedeer (Choctaw)
with Donal O’Kelly and Sorcha fox performing a short extract from the writings from Frederick Douglass
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