Afri Famine Walk 2019: “Waltzing on Borrowed Time”

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The 2019 Famine Walk will take place on Saturday, May 18th

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In 2019, Afri begins a fourth decade of walking, remembering and expressing solidarity on the famine road in the Doolough Valley in County Mayo. Many themes have been explored in the previous thirty years of walking. People from all over the world have joined us, representing communities and nations who are under the cosh of oppression and injustice, as was the case In Ireland in the 1840s.

A common thread amongst walk leaders over the years has been the degree to which they and their communities have been affected by violence, weapons, war and climate change. For example, Owens Wiwa, brother of the great Ogoni leader, Ken Saro Wiwa, represented a people who were dispossessed, brutalised and impoverished by the actions of major oil companies and a military dictatorship in Nigeria. Desmond Tutu represented a people who lived through institutional racism, imposed and enforced through military might, in South Africa.

Maitet Ledesma represented the Philippines, a place that is also no stranger to war and oppression. But the Philippines is also a country that is being devastated by the effects of climate change, which is the focus of this year’s walk. Climate Change, along with war, poses an existential threat to the very survival of our wonderful planet and all its inhabitants. The urgent need to address it cannot be overstated.

We need every individual and every sector of society to take responsibility and to take action. Our walk leaders this year provide an inspirational example of the kind of commitment required to tackle this urgent issue. Oisin Coghlan, as Director of Friends of the Earth, has been a constant and tireless advocate for radical, practical and urgent action and change. Hanny van Geel, through her work with La Via Campesina, champions ‘the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food, produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods’.

Artists have an especially important role to play in promoting awareness and change. And people like Pete St. John have taken on that responsibility. Pete wrote ‘Waltzing on Borrowed Time’ – outlining the threat of climate change – several years ago and it has been performed in many places throughout Ireland and beyond. Inspired by Greta Thunberg and the young people around the world, who have taken to the streets, let us organize, campaign, lobby, walk and waltz to save our planet.

In the plaintive words of Pete’s wonderful song: ’when will we learn to show concern for our world on borrowed time’?

A brochure and a sponsorship card are available here: https://www.afri.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Brochure-with-insert.pdf

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