Several hundred people worldwide have registered to join human rights group Afri’s annual famine remembrance event.
The annual famine walk usually takes place in the Doolough Valley in Mayo, but due to Covid restrictions, it will take place online this year in the form of a 90-minute live stream event featuring a stellar line-up of talks, discussion, music and poetry. The free event runs from 7pm to 8.30 pm on Saturday, May 15,and is organised in association with Trócaire.
The line-up includes renowned author and historian, Professor Christine Kinealy, Director of the the Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University in the United States.
Folk singer, Lisa O’Neill and harpist, Brídín, will perform, and acclaimed poet Paula Meehan will share some of her work. Other speakers include Donegal teacher and activist, Rose Kelly, and Trócaire’s interim Head of Programmes, Blanca Blanco, who will discuss Women in their Place – a new short film on violence against women and the fight against corporate land grabs in Honduras.
The host for the event is Lahinch-based campaigner, author of Hitching for Hope, and host of the Love and Courage podcast, Ruairí McKiernan.
Speaking in advance of the event, Afri coordinator Joe Murray, said that while he’ll miss the annual trip to Mayo, he is looking forward to marking the annual event online. He added: "We’ve been doing this walk since 1988, and the interest in it is growing each year. Covid forced us to go online last year, which was a revelation as it allowed an international audience to be part of it all.
"We were taken aback by the huge interest from abroad, with participants joining from 11 countries, including India, El Salvador, Timor L’Este, Brazil and the United States. We’re repeating that formula this year while also looking forward to getting our feet back on the ground next year.
"The event is all about remembrance and solidarity; recalling the struggles of our ancestors and what they went through and drawing parallels with the injustices in the world today. Irish history teaches us about oppression, colonialism, violence, and migration.
"We feel it is important that we honour those experiences by remembering them and by acting to prevent and address similar travesties that are occurring around the world today, whether it be in Central America, Palestine, the Mediterranean, or closer to home with homelessness and direct provision.
"While these are big issues, we are also celebrating the spirit of people to resist, persist and unite against the odds. We can see that spirit in people responding to Covid and we will be celebrating that at our event with some powerful words of inspiration and music and poetry.
"We’re grateful to partners Trócaire and to Irish Aid, Concern, IQFA, and all our supporters, for making this event possible and we are looking forward to a very special evening."
The online Afri Famine Walk event takes place on Saturday, May 15 from 7pm to 8.30pm. Registration is free, and details can be found at www.afri.ie