Impressions from Sustaining Activism’s Fire: Caring, Campaigning, Creating

Report by Andy Storey

The words of the Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam came to mind as I listened to the contributions here today:

Participants were invited to record their expectations of the event at the start of the day
Participants were invited to record their expectations of the event at the start of the day

‘I think despair has to be earned. If you were to say to me the world is damaged beyond repair, suitable only for the rubbish heap, I would want to see a record of what you did to change things, to repair it. You are not allowed to make that statement unless you have tried a hundred times to make things better — if you have failed again and again and again I might be willing to respect your opinion. I can’t take empty complaints seriously. The fact of the matter is that if you are the kind of person who has tried to alter things a hundred times, you would still say, “Let me try one more time.” You would never give up. Only the complacent ones, the bourgeoisie, the privileged ones, would say, “Throw this thing called life onto the rubbish heap.” ‘

Abjata Khalif spoke about his campaigning work with the Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network

I was also reminded of the words of a relative of mine who, upon hearing that I was spending much of yet another weekend doing campaigning work, asked: ‘why do you keep doing this, when it doesn’t change anything?’. Well, as we have heard here today, it does change things, sometimes at least. But even if it did not, the journey itself is often its own reward – for many of us here today this is where we enjoy being, where we feel at home. And we are here to, as Rose Kelly put it today, help find out how better to traverse that journey safe and well. We agree then with Abjata Khalif when he says that ’activism is a calling’, albeit few of us have been called to do anything that requires his courage and his ability (again using the words of Rose) to ‘live in right relation’ with his community and his environment. Continue reading “Impressions from Sustaining Activism’s Fire: Caring, Campaigning, Creating”

Sustaining Activism’s Fire: Caring, Campaigning, Creating

Sustaining Activism's Fire

Sustaining Activism’s Fire: Caring, Campaigning, Creating

Saturday 20th April, 10am – 6.15pm, Mount Druid, Castletown Geoghegan, County Westmeath.

This event is aimed at activists and those interested in the preservation of the planet and seeks to explore the elements that enable sustainable activism at a personal, group and movement level; and to promote an increased awareness of the global and justice dimensions of environmental issues.

It will take place in Castletown Geoghegan, County Westmeath, in a venue close to the Hill of Uisneach, traditionally believed to be the place where the four provinces of Ireland meet. There will be contributions from activists from previous campaigns – such as the Dunnes Stores Strike and the anti-nuclear campaign – together with an input from Abjata Khalif from Afri’s partner organisation, the Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network. There will be space for participants to share their own stories and examine what helps to keep the fires of activism burning.

In order that we can arrange food and transport we are asking participants to book in advance. You can do this by booking online at or by downloading the brochure here and returning the booking form (last two pages) to Afri.