Day 2 started on a much more somber note than out introduction. I had heard about Bahrain in the context of the Arab sprin
last year but have been ignorant of its events since then. Tara o Grady from Bravo (Bahrain rehabilitation anti violence organisation ) gave a heartfelt appeal to our conscience. Bahrain is a country not too dissimilar to Ireland, except of course for no freedom of expression or association. The horror stories of what has happened to people protesting the Bahrain regime were sobering. In the weeks after the much publicised pussy riot court case and their 2 year sentence in Russia for singing an anti state song in a cathedral it
was interesting to hear the story of Ayat Al Qurmuzi who received 1 year for reading a poem against the king. There are Irish businesses in Bahrain and people over here have a chance to let our opposition to brutality be known.
We then went to our respective workshops on Colombia, Burma, Palestine and the clean clothes campaign. All worthy of their own stories and all appalling to hear about. The depressing tale of children in Ethiopia who need to fill 18 boxes of flowers before being allowed home from a days work, the morbid story of the settlements and the displacement of people in Palestine, the trials of the Burmese people and the danger facing trade unionists in Colombia were all shared.
We didn’t end on such a negative note and we all set off uplifted in the knowledge that we can all play a small part, be that encouraging action in our unions (stories aplenty of solidarity committees and their achievements in PSEU, IMPACT, UNISON, NIPSA, INTO and SIPTU and the vast sums that have been passed on in solidarity) or even writing a damn letter. If you feel that the world is perfect then maybe reflect on those well off, if you don,t feel it’s perfect let’s change it eh?