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Poignant mural launched as public urged to sign petition
A colourful mural with a poignant backstory was launched in Dublin today as part of a drive to rally public support for a campaign which calls on global leaders to end conflict-driven hunger and famine.
The mural at 31 North Brunswick Street, Smithfield, Dublin, was jointly designed by Irish artist Emmalene Blake and South Sudanese artist Abul Oyay. The artwork incorporates Abul’s experience of being fed dried water lily seeds as a five-year-old girl having fled to Sudan in the early 1980s to escape conflict in Ethiopia, when there was very little else to eat.
Commenting on the decision to use the image in the mural, Abul commented: “You are commemorating 175 years of your famine, but somewhere somebody is going through exactly the same experience as your ancestors.”
Emmalene has included a scene in the mural from the Irish famine, coinciding with the 175th anniversary of the worst year of the Irish Famine, 1847. “The time and place we’re born in is completely down to chance,” she said.
175th Famine Anniversary
“The life chances we are dealt with are down to luck -- it’s down to luck that we weren’t born 175 years ago during the famine in Ireland, and it’s down to luck that we weren’t born in another place on the planet where conflict driven hunger still exists.”
The mural connects the experience of people around the world today facing extreme hunger with the Irish famine 175 years ago, Concern’s Head of International Advocacy Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair said: “Famine and extreme hunger are completely preventable and utterly unacceptable in 2022 and so must be consigned to history.”
However, conflict and hunger are on the rise, with the Global Network Against Food Crises annual report confirming last week that conflict was the main driver of acute food insecurity in the world in 2021, accounting for 139 million of the 193 million people currently facing acute food insecurity.
“On the 175th anniversary of the Irish famine it is shameful that millions of people are still facing extreme hunger, the threat of famine and preventable deaths,” she said.
The mural is part of Concern’s Nothing Kills Like Hunger campaign which highlights the fact that in most conflicts children are more likely to die as a result of hunger and related diseases, than from the war itself.
Coinciding with Ireland’s 2021-22 term on the UN Security Council, the campaign is urging the public to sign an open letter calling on UN Security Council members to provide adequate humanitarian support for people living in conflict, and stop hunger being used as a weapon of war.
Sign The Petition
“Humanitarian organisations have a key role in tackling hunger but now, more than ever before, with the Ukraine crisis having a severe impact on food prices and availability around the world, we need global leaders to play their part if we are to break the cycle between conflict and hunger,” Ms Ní Chéilleachair said. She urged the public to add their voices to the campaign.
The public can read and sign the letter at concern.net/nklh
On behalf of all the signatories, Concern will deliver the letter to Ireland’s Ambassador to the United Nations on October 20.
For media queries and to organise interviews contact Eamon Timmins, Media Relations Manager, Concern Worldwide, at email@example.com or 087 9880524
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