Our upcoming #FirstWeds Spring Series holds in mind Ukrainians and people of other countries ridden by war and conflict, who have been forced to leave their homes and cross borders in search of safety.
What are some practical ways to extend support and solidarity from Ireland? And, as we extend this support and solidarity, how can we grow our understanding of the geopolitical contexts within which such calamitous events unfold? Moreover, how can we, from here in Europe, ensure a move beyond fortressed border policies and uphold our welcome to all people in need of refuge?
Over the next 3 months, we invite you to join us as we explore these questions and more. In the company of panellists from Europe’s East and beyond we want to deepen our understanding of the drivers of the conflict and migration we are witnessing, and challenge the dualities of attitudes towards refugees. We also aim (with some urgency) to consider the many ways we can be in solidarity with communities seeking refuge from war, violence and oppression in 2022, and with those supporting them on this dangerous journey.
Watch this space as we reveal speakers!
For any questions and to find out more, please contact Aga at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wed, 6 April, 2022; 7PM: PART 1 – SOLIDARITY WITH UKRAINE
WATCH IT HERE
In April our panel, consisting of Ukrainian activists and those working on the frontline of the ongoing refugee crisis caused by the war, will discuss what expressions of support and solidarity from Ireland can look like. And, as we extend this support and solidarity, consider how can we grow our understanding of the geopolitical context within which this calamitous war is unfolding.
Wed, 4 May, 2022; 7PM: PART 2 – SOLIDARITY IN CRISIS
WATCH IT HERE
In the weeks following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the open-arms approach of EU member states to those fleeing to the West has been warming. However, this reaction sits in sharp contrast to otherwise unyielding EU border policies. Indeed, in recent months these hardline policies have blocked and impeded the efforts of many to find refuge and safety in Europe and have cost lives on land and at sea. We think of those fleeing Taliban rule in Afghanistan from mid-2021 onwards, the many thousands who were trapped at the Byelorussian-Polish border at the end of 2021, those who continue to embark on long and dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean from North Africa and many others. How have these stories and journeys been told through the media? Media narratives both reflect and also shape public opinion. News outlets can serve to harden public attitudes, portraying refuge seekers as ‘other’, ‘different’, ‘self-interested’ or even ‘dangerous’; coverage can mute (or even undermine) efforts to meet those seeking safety with solidarity and challenge the exclusionary system. As we have seen in recent months, however, the media also has the power to soften attitudes and to encourage a welcome based on empathy and solidarity. Our May panel of journalists will take a closer look at the duality of attitudes towards refugees, the role of the media in shaping narratives, either positive or negative, and how we can use this moment to uphold our welcome to all people in need of refuge.
Wed, 1 June, 2022; 7PM: PART 3 – CRIMINALISATION OF HUMANITARIANS ON THE EUROPEAN BORDERS
WATCH IT HERE
In June, we will speak to a panel of migrant solidarity responders whose humanitarian work on European borders is increasingly threatened by false accusations, arrests and criminal charges.
Drawing on the recent prosecution of search and rescue volunteers Seán Binder, Sarah Mardini, and Nassos Karakitsos (Human Rights Watch has described their prosecution by the Greek authorities as the criminalisation of saving lives), we will take a closer look at a distressing pattern of attacks across the European Union on humanitarian efforts to help migrants and refugees.
All sessions will be moderated by the staff of the Maynooth University Department of International Development.
In case you missed it
PART 1: Solidarity with Ukraine
PART 2: Solidarity in Crisis
PART 3: Criminalisation of Humanitarians on the European Borders
PART 1: The Future is Now: Global Youth Voices on the Climate Crisis
PART 2: Where Does the Wisdom Lie? Elders on the Climate Crisis
PART 3: Post-COP26 – Community Activists on Where to Next
#FirstWeds events are organised in partnership with the Maynooth University Department of International Development and with the financial support of Concern Worldwide for which we are most grateful.
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