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Desmond Tutu Issues Message of Support to Afri
Monday February 04, 2013 11:13 by Volunteer - Afri
commends 'the people of Rossport in County Mayo in their admirable struggle against Shell.'
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu has recently recorded a special video message of support for Afri - action from Ireland - the justice and peace group of which he is patron. In his 4 minute message the acclaimed campaigner and spiritual leader celebrates Afri's 37 years of activism and says 'independent voices like Afri's are more essential than ever in our world today'. He also refers to the importance of Afri's approach of linking the global with the local including their anti-apartheid campaigns as well as solidarity work with Philippines, East Timor, Latin America, the Niger Delta and the people of Rossport in Co. Mayo and what he calls their 'admirable struggle against Shell'.
"I am very happy to have been Afri’s patron – along with my wife Leah - for many years. I’ve been impressed with the work of Afri since I first came in contact with the organisation in 1984. I was invited to Ireland by Afri that year - the same year as the famous and inspirational anti-apartheid strike by the young workers at Dunnes Stores took place. These courageous young people had gone on strike to have their right to refuse to handle ‘the fruits of apartheid’ respected. It was no surprise to me that Afri stood four-square behind these young strikers throughout the course of their long and eventually victorious strike action.
I‘ve been hosted by Afri on a number of subsequent visits to Ireland and have kept in touch with their activities over the years. I am impressed by their unwavering and long-standing commitment to justice and peace throughout that time. They have persevered in supporting the struggles of many oppressed peoples throughout the world. As well as supporting the anti-apartheid struggle, they have worked in solidarity with the peoples of Latin America, the Philippines and East Timor. They supported the people of Ogoni before, during and after the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues and when this reality came home to their own back yard they supported – and continue to support – the people of Rossport in County Mayo in their admirable struggle against Shell.
Their commemoration of the Great Famine in Ireland is not about self-pity or nostalgia but about applying the lessons of that awful experience to the world we live in today.
Afri also consistently highlights the obscenity of the arms trade – the wastage of resources on weapons while so many go hungry in our world. They are now working in partnership with a sister organisation on the borders of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, in tacking the issues of conflict and climate change.
What I find unique about Afri is the way in which they link the local with the global. It is often easy to be concerned about things far away and of course this is extremely important but it is equally important to identify and name the same abuses of power happening in our own back yard. This is something Afri has never shirked from doing and I salute them for that. I believe that groups like Afri should be supported and encouraged because such independent voices are more essential than ever in our world today."
Caption: Watch VIDEO MESSAGE