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HAVING THE COURAGE TO SPEAK THE TRUTH
"A single, seemingly powerless person who dares to cry out the word of truth and to stand behind it with all his person and all his
life, ready to pay a high price, has, surprisingly, greater power, though formally disfranchised, than do thousands of anonymous
voters." W. Vaclav Havel.
I am a member of the Dalkey Writers' Workshop. We have published our third anthology called 'Circle Time'. It has some wonderful poems
and short stories in it. My fictional story in Circle Time is called 'In the Wild', and is based in Zimbabwe where I lived and worked for eleven years
from 1983 - 1994
Dalkey Writers' Workshop
WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY
I have been the coordinator of the Zimbabwe group of Amnesty International Ireland from December 2004 to April 2011.
I am pleased that after many years there is more hope that press freedom may be restored in Zimbabwe and that independent media
may be able to operate freely without fear of prosecution. I was pleased that our issues in 2004 and 2007 of The Daily News in Exile to mark World Press Freedom Day (3rd May) received international coverage.
A Footprint of Roses
As well as expressing soldiarity with independent journalists who have worked under repressive
media laws, our campaigning was an attempt to raise awareness and to help transform Zimbabwe
into a society where the dignity and human rights of each citizen are promoted and respected. Go to
The Daily News in Exile
A ROSE IN SOLIDARITY WITH WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), founded in 2003, is a grassroots women's organisation campaigning in Zimbabwe. Leaders and members from
WOZA regularly take to the streets to hold the government of Zimbabwe to account for its failure to meet their basic needs and are
confronted by a repressive and brutal state.
Their mission statement is: 'the power of love is stronger than the love of power' and their symbol is a Rose. WOZA give out roses on
St Valentine's Day to the public and to the police in the main cities of Zimbabwe.
In solidarity with WOZA the Dublin based Amnesty Zimbabwe group handed out roses in Dublin on St Valentine's Day 2008, in the same
week the play A Footprint of Roses was staged in Dublin. This human rights based play was written by Elaine Desmond of the AI Ireland
Zimbabwe group about WOZA at the request of the group and was staged in Cork, Dublin and Kinsale between 2007 - 2008.
In November 2009 Magodonga Mahlangu and Jennifer Williams, leaders of WOZA, received the the RFK Human Rights Award at a ceremony
in Washington, USA, in the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
BRINGING RELIGION TO LIFE
Are not religions a response to the universal human search for meaning, wonder and values in the face of the implacable mystery of our existence - why are we here at all?
Do human beings ever have certainty in postulating answers to life's great questions?
Are our religions a human response to such mysteries rather than a divine revelation, as still believed by many?
Religions meet psychic, social, philosophical, ethical and political needs.
Does the universe exhaust all of life's meaning,
or might there be another dimension to life that completes its meaning?
Today's global citizens can draw, critically, on a resource of wisdom and spirituality garnered over countless centuries as
well as add judiciously to it.
Such a global resource has been created through our experiences of success and failure in living authentically; through our
capacity to make good relationships as well as our failure to do so - with each other, with other living creatures, with our
planet and universe, and with the transcendent mystery that some believe completes the meaning of life.
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"The revolutions that count come silently, come first in the heart...
Revolutions of this magnitude do not overturn a system and then shape it.
They reshape thought, and then the system overturns without the firing of
a single cannon. Revolutions such as this dismantle walls people thought
would never fall because no wall, whatever its size, can contain a
people whose minds have long ago scaled and vaulted and surmounted it."
(Heart of Flesh, p.172, Joan D. Chittister)
It is liberating to have an understanding of the scriptures of the
major world faith traditions which allows me to say:
"that is what people
claimed thousands of years ago to be right or to be the will of their god,
but what they believed then does not constrain how I think today ".
To my mind, it is
part of the dignity and responsibility of being human that we
have to work out our moral conclusions and theological convictions, however provisional, for ourselves.