The ongoing restrictions caused by Covid-19 mean the organisers of the annual Famine Walk in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo have been forced to postpone the iconic event.
The walk, organised by peace and justice organisation Afri, has been a popular annual event attended by 100s each year since 1988. Despite the disappointment, organisers intend marking the spirit of the event through a free ‘Virtual Famine Walk’ event featuring conversation and music that will be live-streamed online on Saturday, May 16th at 7 pm.
Two County Clare people will be among those speaking on the night. Knockalisheen resident Donnah Vuma, who is a board member of Afri and a member of the Movement of Asylum Seekers (MASI) group. The host for the event is Lahinch based author and campaigner Ruairí McKiernan, who is a regular participant on the Famine Walk.
“If we look to the suffering of our ancestors and the injustice they faced, it’s not that different from what is going on in many parts of the world today. While we have our own challenges at home, I believe it’s vital that we offer support and solidarity to those who are facing poverty, injustice and war in other countries. We live in a very interconnected world. Challenges such as climate change show us that we are interdependent. We have a responsibility to speak up when we can and to shine a light for change in the world. That’s why the Afri event is so important” says Ruairí, whose new book Hitching for Hope explores some of these themes.
The Afri virtual Famine Walk event is supported by Irish Aid, Concern and Trócaire. The free online event takes place as an online livestream broadcast with guests from different locations across Ireland. It will be broadcast on the Afri – Action from Ireland Facebook page and on Afri’s YouTube channel this coming Saturday, May 16th between 7 pm-8.30 pm. It will feature contributions from renowned violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Emer Lynam and singer and songwriters RoJ Whelan and Paul O’Toole. There will also be guest speakers including Emeritus Professor John Maguire, and author and Lecturer Dr Clare O’Grady Walshe.
The event comes at a time when Irish people are responding in huge numbers to the plight of the Choctaw people in the US who have been badly affected by Covid-19. The groundswell of fundraising and support has been inspired by the memory of the 1847 Choctaw people’s donation to Irish people during an Gorta Mór, the great hunger.
“It is links like this that Afri seeks to keep alive” says Afri Coordinator Joe Murray.
“Our online event promises to be a lively and interactive event with great discussion and music. I think it will offer a lot of light and hope during this particularly difficult time on our planet. We’re looking forward to welcoming people who tune in from all around the world” he added.
While the event is free to join, Afri is encouraging people to consider fundraising and supporting Afri in whatever way they can. For more information see www.afri.ie.
We hope you enjoy this short video celebrating 30th anniversary of the Afri famine walk and solidarity with East Timor, South Africa, the Choctaw and other struggles. It features many of our friends and supporters including Desmond Tutu, Christy Moore, Kathy Kelly, John Pilger, Gabriel Byrne, Damien Dempsey. Thank you to everyone for walking with us along the way. www.afri.ieDamien Dempsey John Pilger – johnpilger.com Christy Moore
Posted by AfrI: Action From Ireland on Sunday, July 22, 2018