Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
Escape Routes and Freedom Trails – European Solidarity Between Nations
Date and Time: Thursday 19 September, 7.30-10pm
Venue: Samuel Beckett Theatre
Artists and Guest Speakers
Panel Discussion: Mary Moynihan, writer, theatre and film-maker, Artistic Director of Smashing Times and Curator of the Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival; John Morgan, Dublin lawyer and co-founder of the Basque Pyrenees Freedom Trails’ Association (BPFTA) and one of the key people to raise awareness of the involvement of Irish men and women in the Resistance, SOE, and Escape Lines, during WWII; Eneko Aizpurua, award-winning writer, Basque Country, awarded the Tene Mujika Literature Grant 2019 for the book Bidasoan Gora, due for publication in 2020; and Trinity graduate Seán Binder, from Cork, an Aid Worker who spent over 100 days in a Greek jail arising from his work volunteering with refugees.
Theatre Performance: Excerpt from Shadow of My Soul by Mary Moynihan, directed by Dr Eric Weitz, performed by Carla Ryan, Megan O’Malley and Michael Bates
Music Performance: Hilary Bow and Liam Ó Maonlaí
Moderator: Ailbhe Murphy, Director and Chief Executive, Create – National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts
Category: Combination of theatre performance, film, panel discussion and music
Tickets: 10 euro. Open to the Public
Carla Ryan in Shadow of My Soul by Mary Moynihan
Details of Event
This event offers theatre, film, music and a panel discussion celebrating and remembering extraordinary stories of Irish and European men and women involved in the Resistance and in ‘escape lines’ – secret World War II networks set up to assist Allied soldiers and citizens leave Nazi occupied territory during WWII. Today, the escape lines are remembered in Europe and beyond as ‘Freedom Trails’. The event remembers the escape lines and freedom trails as well as modern day experiences of human rights defenders working on civilian rescue operations in Southern Europe (Greece, Italy, etc) today. Are we witnessing today the erosion of human rights and the rise of extreme ideologies and how important is solidarity at local, national, European and international levels to support those fleeing from danger?
The evening features an excerpt from a theatre performance Shadow of My Soul by Mary Moynihan: a screening of a new documentary Réseau Sans Nom made by Basque film production company Bira Productions covering the escape line which operated between the French town of Mendive and the region of Navarre in Spain during WWII; followed by a panel discussion and music. Hear about courageous Belgium woman and human rights defender Andrée de Jongh, who set up the Comet Line that saved over 800 Allied service men. Listen to the stories of courageous Irish men and women active during WWII including Katherine Anne Mc Carthy, Mary Cummins, Catherine Crean, Margaret Kelly and Samuel Beckett.
Shadow of My Soul by Mary Moynihan
The even features an excerpt from a new play by writer Mary Moynihan working with dramaturg Dr Eric Weitz and research input by John Morgan, Dublin lawyer and co-founder of the Basque Pyrenees Freedom Trails’ Association (BPFTA). Shadow of My Soul remembers stories of Irish and European women involved in the Resistance and in escape lines – secret World War II networks set up to assist Allied soldiers and citizens leave Nazi occupied territory during WWII. A play of remembrance reflecting on extraordinary stories of ordinary people in resistance during a time of darkness when people dared to hope for a future out there. ‘I never cried in front of the Nazis, I only cried at night. They stole my sleep but they never took my freedom or my life’. Words inspired by Andrée ‘Nadine ‘Dumon, Member of The Comet Escape Line in Belgium during WWII.
Irish Premiere of Réseau Sans Nom Documentary Film
We are delighted to screen the new documentary Réseau Sans Nom made by Basque film production company Bira Productions covering the escape line which operated between the French town of Mendive and the region of Navarre in Spain during WWII. The film is inspired by the book The Surgeon and the Shepherd based on the daring story of Belgian doctor Charles Schepens who was one of the key people involved in setting up and running the escape line in Mendive, a remote village near the French-Spanish border.
Escape Routes and Freedom Trails Panel Discussion
With guest speakers followed by a Q and A chaired by Ailbhe Murphy, Director, Chief Executive, Create – National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts. Speakers:
Keynote: Remembering Freedom Trails of Europe – European Solidarity and Human Rights
Speaker: John Morgan, Lawyer and Co-Founder, Basque Pyrenees Freedom Trails Association (BPFTA)
John Morgan shares stories from the past in relation to the escape lines of Europe including the Comet Lines and Basque Pyreenes escape line, how they came about and how they influenced solidarity and co-operation between citizens of different countries including Great Britain, Poland, Belgium, Ireland, France and Spain despite the failure of a peaceful European coexistence at that time. The solidarity and common values shared by the people who set up the escape lines is a source of inspiration and remembering these stories promotes a vision of solidarity across Europe today. What role can the EU and European citizens play today to transcend borders and combat intolerances brought on by political extremism and to promote democracy, equality and peace?
Keynote: Border Crossings in the Basque Country
Speaker: Eneko Aizpurua, Writer, Basque Country
Eneko Aizpurua is a Basque writer awarded the Tene Mujika Literature Grant 2019 for the book Bidasoan Gora, due for publication in 2020 by Elkar Publications. The book records the memories and stories of people linked to the Bidasoa river involving different Basque regions on the border between France and Spain. We will hear stories of the Basque smuggler Florentino Goicoechea, a key member of the Comet Lines who assisted many people to escape from Nazi occupied France during WWII; and the life of Arístides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese consul in the French city of Bordeaux who issued visas and passports in 1940 helping more than 30,000 Jewish and other European refugees to cross the Spanish-French border at Hendaye near the Bidasoa river. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Bidasoa river at the Spanish/French border was the site of crossings by tens of thousands ‘illegal’ migrants fleeing from Portugal with many deaths occurring.
Keynote: Arts, Creativity and Human Rights
Speaker: Mary Moynihan, Director, Smashing Times
What are the creative passions that drive artists to create work that engages with human rights, what are the challenges they face and the key principles underpinning art, creativity and human rights, linking the arts to democracy, equality and peace. Artist Mary Moynihan talks about her work using the arts to promote human rights, peace building and remembrance with a focus on women’s stories from WWII and today.
Keynote: European Solidarity in a Time of Crisis
Speaker: Sean Binder, Rescue Diver and Trained Maritime Search and Rescuer
Seán Binder, Cork, Ireland, talks about modern day experiences of human rights defenders working on civilian rescue operations in Southern Europe (Greece, Italy, etc) today and his work volunteering as a coordinator of civilian rescue operations, both on land and at sea, in Greece, in 2018. Despite continued cooperation with the authorities, Seán was arrested for his humanitarian work and spent 106 days in pre-trial detention. The charges made against him include money laundering, espionage and assisting illegal smuggling networks. The case remains ongoing and he faces 25 years imprisonment.
Music Performance: Don’t See Any Lines by singer/songwriter Hilary Bow
Featuring Hilary Bow and Liam Ó Maonlaí on vocals
A musical highlight of the evening is a performance of Don’t See Any Lines by singer/songwriter Hilary Bow featuring Hilary Bow and Liam Ó Maonlaí on vocals. The single Don’t See Any Lines was released on World Refugee Day (20 June 2019) by Cork Singer/Songwriter Hilary Bow. The lyrics are inspired by Hilary’s friendship with Kurdish refugees and by working with people who had arrive in Ireland seeking refuge. The song is used as a call to end the direct provision service in Ireland and implement a more humane system for people arriving here.
Speaking about survival, Hilary says ‘”These people were stripped of their homes, livelihoods, even identities; and, for the younger generations, stripped of a normal passage from adolescence to adulthood . . . You see the true nature of life, its fragility, and the commonality we all share. We’re all in this together. So when a 10-year old child celebrates his birthday at an Irish Direct Provision centre, and he was born there, it’s time to make a lot of noise and do what we can to end Direct Provision.”
Closing comments by Ailbhe Murphy, Director, Chief Executive, Create – National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts.