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Billy King


Nonviolence News


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(Issues 58-107)
(Issues 1 to 57)
Dawn Train

Number 285: December 2020

Celtic alphabet tree planting
The ancient Irish alphabet had 18 letters, each one associated with a tree or plant, and Afri are launching a project for 2021 to plant groves of trees (or indeed individual trees) using this theme – there are many ways it can be used. The trees and plants are: Ailm (Elm), Beith (Birch), Coll (Hazel), Dair (Oak), Eadha (Aspen), Fearn (Alder), Gath (Ivy), Huath (Hawthorn), ĺodha (Yew), Luis (Rowan), Muin (Blackberry), Nuin (Ash), Oir (Broom), Peith (Birch), Ruis (Elder), Suil (Willow), Teithne (Furze) and Ur (Heather). This is clearest in the Ogham script which is based on the notion of an upright tree trunk and its differing branches. Afri states “our trees and plants give us beauty, sustenance and shelter – and from ancient papyrus to modern paper they have provided the bridge carrying our words between successive generations”. It also points out that at 11% tree cover, Irish forest cover is the lowest in Europe (average 30%). Not even launched yet (the official launch is 1st February), there are already plans for an ‘Alphabet Avenue’ (Ascal na hAibítre) in counties Wicklow, Monaghan, Donegal and Derry. Afri is inviting partners to join it in this project by planting a whole avenue or even one tree. Contact or The Afri website is

Afri also has an attractive 2021 calendar for sale, ‘Steps to a better world’, indicating and illustrating some of the green steps you can take. Price €5 or €7.50 including postage in Ireland; order to

This year, Afri are still promoting their solar lights for Africa project (northern Kenya); at €15 per light, see

ICCL: Human rights in a pandemic, online seminar
Human Rights Day is on 10 December and to mark it ICCL/Irish council for civil Liberties is hosting an online seminar to look at the most pressing human rights issues emerging from the pandemic. UN Special Rapporteur Siobhán Mullally will deliver a keynote address at midday. Panel One at 12:25 will focus on the need to prioritise and how best to protect at-risk groups, including those who are at risk because of circumstance.; this is with Margaret Harris (WHO), Dr Austin O'Carroll and Bulelani Mfaco (MASI). Panel Two at 13:25 will focus on how efforts to ensure compliance with health guidelines need to respect human rights and rule of law standards. There will also be an examination of emergency laws and assess whether criminal sanctions are an appropriate response; this is with Katerina Hadzi-Miceva Evans (European Centre for Not-for-Profit Law), Professor Brian Hughes (NUIG Psychology) and Dr David Kenny (TCD Law). There will also be time for questions. Participation is free but donations appreciated. See for booking.

Lessons from the Troubles and the Unsettled Peace
Holywell Trust in Derry have published a book 'Lessons from the Troubles and the Unsettled Peace: Ideas from the Forward Together Podcast' , edited by Paul gosling, which costs £5 NI & UK, £7 Republic, including delivery. This looks at ideas for embedding peace in Northern Ireland. The podcasts and book engaged political and civic leaders to consider how to make progress in Northern Ireland, looking particularly at how tostrengthen civic society; how communities can live together in a shared society; how to deal with the past, while improving reconciliation; and how it is possible to discuss the constitutional future in ways that are positive, respectful and not damaging or threatening. See here for more info and link to order.

Dialogue in Divided Societies / Being in the Middle
There are new and reworked editions of two classic books in the field.. “Dialogue in Divided Societies: Skills for Working with Groups in Conflict” is a revised edition of Mari Fitzduff’s ‘Community Conflict Skills’ worked on by both her and Sue Williams with an international civil society audience in mind (building on the original which was framed for Northern ireland), and including both international contexts and more theory. It is available free online at and in print from Amazon at “Being in the Middle by Being at the Edge”, an account by Sue and Steve Williams of the Quaker experience of non-official political mediation, is available in a new online version (free download).

Everyone equal
CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice is asking people in Northern Ireland to sign up to the Everyone Equal campaign (see NN 284) The goal of the campaign is to raise the awareness and public understanding of human rights and their value to our society. The website includes short animated videos on different aspects of human rights.

Image based sexual violence
While the Irish government is moving on image based sexual violence through the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill, ICCL/Irish Council for Civil Liberties has continued to campaign on the issue. See the website for details

The arms trade in Ireland
Following up on the seminar which INNATE organised in November on the arms trade, there will be a further more informal discussion, held remotely using Zoom, at 7.30pm on Monday 7th December. This will look at the possibilities for more work and research in this area. Anyone interested welcome; to book contact

Consensus voting for civic society and parliaments

Consensus voting mechanisms – which help to unite rather than divide – are often thought of simply in relation to electing people to councils and parliaments. But this new book from Peter Emerson of the de Borda Institute, “Democratic Decision-making – Consensus voting for civic society and parliaments’ looks at how bodies make decisions, it explains why win-or-lose binary voting can be inaccurate and divisive, while the more inclusive preferential points system of voting can be so much more accurate and, therefore, more democratic . Springer, 128 pages, in their ‘Springer Briefs in Political Science’ series. See The de Borda Institute website is

Chernobyl Children International
Chernobyl Children International’s Christmas appeal is to help children and young adults trapped in institutions to develop the life skills they need to break free and flourish. See

Peace and progressive movement photos
Although it has been a slow to non-existent year for ‘live’ photos of events, INNATE has added more entries to its photo and documentation site including ones from 1999, 1841, 1723 (a boycott) and 697 (Adomnán’s Law).... New material includes; mediation, monitoring and stewarding; the Irish Pacifist Movement (1936-1969); Buddhist monks in Belfast; a difficult berth for USS Yorktown in Cobh in 1989; Drumcree Faith and Justice Group in Portadown; Bill Moyer; Hildegard Goss-Mayr etc. In all there are around 1900 entries grouped in over 30 albums with many links given; going to albums you are interested in may be the easiest way for you to channel your focus.

Prisoners for Peace
The 1st December is Prisoners for Peace Day and at this time WRI (War Resisters’ International) calls on people to show solidarity with those imprisoned for their conscientious objection and peace work. You can find more information here and here for a list of those currently in prison.

Voices for Creative Nonviolence US closing
Voices for Creative Nonviolence in the USA, most associated with Kathy Kelly (no stranger to Ireland), is closing though those involved will be regrouping. Voices for Creative Nonviolence UK, associated with Maya Evans, is continuing.

Gender and inclusivity in peace and security
The Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) peace programme recently published a 60-page report and videos on this topic (launch event was co-hosted by the Irish Embassy to Belgium) and page 6 of the autumn issue of their newsletter, ‘Around Europe’.

Church and Peace: Refugees and marginalised people in Europe
A 4-page report on a recent conversation organised by Church and Peace looking at refugees and marginalised people is available at This event marked 70 years of the European Convention on Human Rights. Church and Peace is the European ecumenical peace church network of communities, training centres, peace organisations and peace service agencies. Church and Peace in Britain and Ireland has an online discussion on 8th December at 1800 GMT on how to dismantle white privilege, see their website for details.

Universal Basic Income
Issues and concerns to do with universal basic income ebb and flow. A detailed analysis from both ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ sides appears here with one of the contributions being from Caroline Whyte of Feasta. Source: Feasta mailing.

Peace Poetry from Around the Globe
A new book has just been published by World Beyond War entitled Second Name of Earth Is Peace, edited by Mbizo Chirasha and David Swanson, and including the work of 65 poets from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, France, India, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The paperback can be purchased from book sellers or Amazon. ISBN 978-1-7347837-3-5. You can buy the PDF copy online, price variable.

Pax Christi International Award for Pacific Climate Warriors
The 2020 Pax Christi International Peace Prize is going to Pacific Climate Warriors, a network of young people throughout the Pacific and diaspora communities which is peacefully working to raise awareness of their vulnerability to climate change, to protect their culture, and advocate for the survival of their island nations.


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