Discussion: Refugee

Event Details

Syrian child lies dead on European beach

Fleeing war and seeking refuge, a young Syrian child lies dead on a Turkish beach

This image requires no comment. Fellow human beings are currently being forced to make an unknown journey, risking their very lives as the only hope of refuge and a secure future for their children. The images are not new, they have been witnessed for centuries and they challenge our thoughts, and pose the question of our responsibility.  How should we relate ourselves towards this?

This event will help us to explore that question.  It is useful to begin by remembering that such circumstances do not just happen ‘to them’.  While the scale may differ, not long ago they were with us.  There is no division them and us, ‘we’ are in it together.

This event begins with the screening of the short BBC documentary, ‘Reunited Lives’, which reminds us that such events, albeit at at much reduces scale, do not just happen somewhere far away.   The film looks back at refugees from the north (Ballymurphy, Ardoyne) going south in the early 1970’s.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion involving Briege Voyle (Ballymurphy) who was featured in the documentary, Agim Kryeziu a refugee from Kosova whose been living here some 20 years, Aza Ali Ahmad a recently arrived refugee from Mosul, northern Iraq and local activist and journalist Eamonn McCann.

The event will be chaired by Bernadette McAliskey.

Venue: The Nerve Centre,  Admission Free

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Context 2017

One World One Struggle

Bloody Sunday was inflicted on the people of Derry.  But it has resonated around the world.  It is a local issue relevant to people everywhere.

Over the 45 years since British paratroopers erupted into the working-class Bogside area with rifles spitting death at civil rights marchers, representatives of victims of State violence from both sides of the Atlantic, from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, have travelled to Derry to take part in the annual commemoration and give substance to the idea of 'One World, One Struggle'. 

The British Government still sets its face Iike flint against telling the full truth about the Derry massacre.  A long Inquiry reported in 2010 that all the dead and wounded had been unlawfully shot. Despite this, the Report stopped well short of proposing prosecution of the killers - and pointed no finger of`blame at the senior military officers who had sent the Paras in, or at the politicians who had connived at the assault and then orchestrated a cover-up.

This is always the way when it comes to the violence of imperialism.

Only the persistence of family members and their supporters forced a police investigation. We await the outcome. One reason the British authorities fear the facts about Bloody Sunday is that this massacre cannot be ascribed to warring Irish factions. This was an authentically British atrocity.

Past commemorations have featured African Americans, Palestinians, former Guantanamo prisoners, victims of police violence in Britain etc., as well as members of other families bereaved by murder here in the North, in many cases murder inflicted by State agents and then systematically lied about to protect the same undercover agents.

Lectures, debates and cultural events are highlighted, economic struggles, women’s rights, gay rights, the rights of the environment, and many other examples of`oppression.  We have commemorated, too, the killing of other innocent people by non-State groups - Dublin Monaghan, Birmingham, Shankill, Greysteel, the Ormeau bookies, etc.

We believe that the programme we have produced this year puts Bloody Sunday in its proper context, an extreme example of the fact that, commonly, it’s innocent people who pose no threat to anyone who bear the brunt of conflict.

The trek towards truth and justice has been long and sometimes arduous. But we keep on keeping on because the cause is just and gives good example to the one world in which we all struggle. 

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