Celebrating Diversity Line-Up

Love Poetry Hate Racism – All across the globe
April 18th – 21st

participating cities include –
Auckland – Wellington – New York – Washington – Minneapolis – Brisbane – Cairns Darwin – Perth – Adelaide – Melbourne – Sydney – Newcastle (NSW) – London – Hebden Bridge – Birmingham – Manchester – Vienna – Amsterdam – Warsaw –– Cork – Limerick – Galway – Derry – Belfast – Athlone – Dungannon – Dublin – Westchester (NY) – Kuala Lumpur – Singapore
Events in Belfast – supported by Belfast City Council
Friday 18th April – 7.30pm – Wine and Words
– Belfast Exposed Gallery
Moyra Donaldson – Martin Mooney – Ezekial Johnson – Catherine Brogan

Saturday – 19th April – LPHR – Belfast Exposed Gallery – 7.30pm
Raven – Seamus Fox – Scream Blue Murmur – Thomas Muinzer – Motion Project

The weekend of April 18th-21st, 2008 will see around 50 cities and towns all across the world host events entitled Love Poetry Hate Racism/Celebrate Diversity through Poetry.
These events will use poetry to highlight a global phenomenon where racism is on the rise, whether this comes in the form of attacks on people from ethnic minority backgrounds or government legislation which discriminates against asylum seekers or the vehement anti-Muslim rhetoric that has accompanied the war on terror.
At home, the recent poster campaign of racist material in Banbridge, the many attempts to give credence to “the Rivers of Blood speech” by Enoch Powell and the discussion surrounding the new terror laws which appear to some commentators to target the Muslim community are all worrying developments and show how important the Love Poetry Hate Racism event is. The global element to Love Poetry Hate racism adds to the impact and along with many other anti racism activities aims to put a halt to the rise of racism and racist attitudes.
Chelley McLear, Chair of di-Verse, the organisation formed in Belfast which oversees the global event, said
“Poetry is an art form which is practised all across the world. It is an art form which benefits greatly from being exposed to the practises of many cultures. We feel that people who care about poetry and also feel strongly about the rise in racism can come together this weekend to show their support for diversity in society.
She went on to say, “Those who seek to prosecute racist ideas like the ones evident in recent posters in Banbridge or those who have attacked migrants over the last week in the North West offer us nothing. It is the newly emerging diversity in Northern Ireland which gives us hope for the future.”
Gordon Hewitt, Secretary of di-Verse said, “ It is worth noting that Love Poetry Hate Racism was established as a counter to Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood speech” made forty years ago this weekend. His speech was a calculated racist attack on migrants and has been used by bigots ever since to foster racism. We stand proudly against the ideas that multi-ethnic societies are problematic saying instead that our society benefits from the experience of living side by side with those people from diverse cultural or ethnic backgrounds making Northern Ireland their home.
Last year we pulled together cities and towns all across the world for the first ever Love Poetry Hate Racism. This year we welcome cities like Singapore, Warsaw and Washington as part of our global event. This year we also welcome support from the city councils in Belfast and Derry.”
For more information please feel free to call
Gordon Hewitt on 07742 531 617 – or Chelley Mclear on 07738221625

Celebrating Diversity Through Poetry

Love Poetry Hate Racism

All across the Globe throughout the month of April 2008
The weekend of April 18-20, 2008, will see as many as 50 cities all around the world organise Love Poetry Hate Racism events. These events will encompass everything from large scale events in big venues with feature poets, to Poetry in the Park with small groups of local readers, to local poetry groups turning over their monthly library readings to the topic of racism.

This is the second year Love Poetry Hate Racism events have been held around the world. In 2007, a group of poets based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a city known at the time as the “race hate capital of Europe”, decided to put out a call for poetry events to be held on the 20th April to provide a counter to the tendency to identify the day with intolerance, bigotry and the espousal of racist ideology because of its association with Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech. In this speech, delivered on the 20th April 1968, Powell suggested that people in Britain were being swamped by alien cultures. The speech was littered with racist ideas and provided the backbone for groups who wished to pursue anti-immigrant ideologies over the years since the speech was delivered.

We wanted also to provide a counter to the idea that the mixing of cultures was something that would lead to disaster. Actually we believe that it is the cross-pollination of the ideas of different cultures which breathes new life into our futures.

This year we have commitments from Warsaw to New York, from Auckland to Amsterdam and from Birmingham to Belfast.  In fact we are already better represented around the world than we were last year.

The events come at a time when racist ideas are being stirred up everywhere; In the US elections accompanying the rise of Barack Obama as a serious contender for the nomination as Democratic candidate, in the new immigration laws being put into place in Britain, in the attempts recently in Britain to give credence to Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech.

Of particular concern to us is the persecution of Muslims which has been raised to fever pitch lately in our region. It looks possible that this year we may be welcoming for the first time this year poetry events which will run by poets from cities with a predominantly Muslim background.

Of course in each city where Love Poetry Hate Racism takes place there will be local issues which people will be seeking to address but our general approach will be the same. Love Poetry Hate Racism asks simply that people show respect to ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and migrants and that we stand together to encourage diversity.

Our starting point is that the interaction of cultures is essential for the progression of Art and with poetry in particular being an art form which provides us with common ground wherever we happen to be, we also suggest that society benefits from this multicultural interaction. Anyone who wants to organise a poetry event using those simple principles is welcome to do so.

We are also open to the idea that some people would like to be part of the events but worry about the moniker. That is simple to deal with, call your event “Celebrating Diversity Through Poetry” – and just affiliate to LPHR. This year the dates are flexible and events are being held in Galway, Ireland on April 11th and in Brisbane, Queensland in Australia on April 25th. That means there is a window of opportunity over 10 days. You can organise your own event or allow for an already existing event to be part of Love Poetry Hate Racism by simply informing us that you wish to do that.

If you intend to be part of the events happening all over the world on the weekend of April 18-20 or during the period from April 11th through to April 25th please contact the following following,

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