Love Poetry Hate Racism 2008

Poetry events all across the world April 18th – 20th, 2008.

Last year groups of poets joined together across the world to organise events to tackle the question of racism through our art. We initiated this in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Belfast had been tagged the “race hate capital of Europe”, and although this wasn’t the whole story it had been the case that racist attacks had been running at nearly three per day for over a couple of years.

(Actually Belfast had a history of being welcoming to immigrants even as far back as hosting the largest anti slavery meeting on the island when abolitionist Frederick Douglas toured here in the 1800s).

In the period leading up to poets coming together, Muslim women were being spat on in the streets of Belfast, one woman was physically assaulted for wearing her veil, people from ethnic minority backgrounds were being forcibly evicted from houses and there was a general climate of racism. We organised our event pulling together poets and community activists from all sections of society in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

We also put out a call for others to do the same. Under the banner Love Poetry Hate Racism, 50-60 cities and towns around the world came together to use their love for the art of poetry to celebrate diversity.

We are making the same call in 2008.

This year the scourge of racism has not gone away. Where we live there have already been attacks on migrant workers, immigrants and people from ethnic minority backgrounds. This racism may even be fed by the fact that the economic climate looks like it may become increasingly desperate.

We also have the continued assault on the Muslim population from the government. In our case Gordon Brown’s cry for the acceptance of British values, the targeting of mosques by racist thugs and the stream of lies about Islam in the press have created a very difficult climate for Muslims.

We believe that for Art to flourish diversity is a prerequisite. Poetry by its very nature is an international art form and when poets from different cultures meet the art form flourishes. We also believe that society benefits from this cultural interaction.

We call on those who, like us, Love Poetry and want to celebrate diversity, to be part of Love Poetry Hate Racism 2008 over the weekend April 18-20th.

This year, as last year, you can participate in a number of ways:

Your poetry group can put on its own event and headline it “Love Poetry Hate Racism 2008”.

You can get a group of friends together and simply read poetry, aligning this with our events internationally.

You can have a Poetry Picnic, poetry in the park, a poetry reading in the school you attend, however you decide to make your mark that’s up to you, just as long as the event is held over that weekend or the week leading up to it.

If you intend to be part of the events happening all over the world on the weekend of April 18-20 please contact the following

www.myspace.com/lovepoetryhateracism – or chelleymclear@hotmail.com or gordonfrombelfastpoets@yahoo.co.uk