Monday, 31 March 2008

Listening or making a noise for peace?

I was intrigued today to receive news of three planned actions. Firstly, Stop the War Coalition are planning to make as much noise as possible as Tony Blair speaks inside Westminster Cathedral on 3rd April (Sounding Out Tony Blair). The question immediately arose in my mind whether creating a 'wall of sound' (as they describe it) in order to hinder his ability to give his speech, is helpful to the cause. I'm still undecided, but encouraged to see that Pax Christi are holding a silent vigil in the half-hour leading up to the planned action.

Secondly, news from Peace Direct of Gill Hicks' planned walk (or WALKTALK as it is to be known) from Leeds to London. This is to take place during July and Augst this year. Gill, a survivor of the London bombings lost her legs that day. Now Gill and a core group including her husband Joe, will be walking from Leeds to London during July and August. ... It's a nationwide initiative to bring together people who may otherwise never meet, never talk and, almost certainly never walk side-by-side. It will focus on humanity - on all that we have in common - and aim to create a new 'path' of understanding and reconciliation.

My inactivity on this blog is largely due to the amount of work involved in the preparation and follow-up of our conference on 'Building Peace- Tackling Racism' on 15th March. This seems to have gone well, due in no small part to the additional help on the day from Quakers in Huddersfield. Powerful themes of the day included dialogue and listening - so you don't need to work too hard to sense where my sympathies lie in comparing the contrasting actions outlined above.

And this gives me an excuse to plug the 5th Annual Peace Lecture being organised by Huddersfield Quakers....

15 May 2008 at 7.00pm
Feargal Cochrane

'Can Hope and History Rhyme?
The Role of the Arts in Overcoming Violence in Northern Ireland'

The central theme of this lecture aims to illustrate the dynamics of violence and peace through the eyes of poets and musicians from Northern Ireland, and how this played a role in reflecting and overcoming divisions in the context of the Northern Ireland conflict. The purpose here is to illustrate the visceral and emotional aspects of political violence and the ways in which poetry and music can both reflect destructive emotions and help to mediate or transform such feelings into more constructive engagements.

Feargal Cochrane is Director of the Richardson Institute for Peace Research at Lancaster University.
He has written widely on conflict related issues and his latest book, 'Ending Wars', will be published by Polity Press in October 2008.

Huddersfield Quaker Meeting House, Church Street, Paddock, Huddersfield HD1 4TR

This event is organized by Huddersfield Quakers
For more information Tel 07792309897 Email