Veronica Guerin (2003) on 29 May at 7.30pm at the Four Pound Film Club, which is organised by the NUJ Manchester and Salford Branch. Veronica was an Irish journalist who was killed by criminals in Ireland twenty years ago. She had a background in accountancy and was adept at tracing illegal drug dealing and that is why she was murdered on 26 June 1996 at a traffic lights in Dublin. After the screening NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley, who worked with Veronica and was her deputy FoC (shop steward) at the time of her death, is guest speaker at the event. For more details see . Listen to Christy Moore’s song about Veronica see
at To Be Human at Manchester Art Gallery. You do not need to spend a lot of money to create an exhibition that will engage the visitor. I was fascinated by the choice of pictures in this small exhibition which brings together a collection of both famous and forgotten artists, all with different approaches to defining what is meant by being human. Two of the pictures, by Robert McBride and David Hockney, are not really the kind of art which attracts me, but finding out that both of them were used by the artists to reflect on their love/lust for men at a time when homosexuality was banned gave the pictures a deeper meaning. Also I was fascinated by a picture by a female artist that I have never heard of, Maire Louise Motesiczky, who escaped with her mother from Nazi Austria in 1939. Marie lived with her mother most of her life and painted many portraits of her, this is one of the last (above) and shows a woman aging, and with a sense of separateness. Brilliant.
A Good Place to Hide by Peter Grose. During the Second World War 5000 people (including 3500 Jews) were hidden in the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon area in France from the Nazis and their Vichy apologists. This book tells the gripping story of a tiny Protestant farming village in the mountains of south-central France who risked everything to save peoples’ lives. The people of the Plateau were imbued with a spirit of comradeship that is awe inspiring. Many of their actions were spontaneous as people literally turned up at their door and asked for sanctuary. Central to this story is the ethos of pacificism and the role of the pastors, Andre Trocme and Edouard Theis. On Sunday 23 June, the day after France surrendered to the Nazis, André Trocmé, told his parishioners “The responsibility of Christians is to resist the violence that will be brought to bear on their consciences through the weapons of the spirit.” Resistance meant not just hiding people on farms and in villages across the area, but also setting up childrens’ homes and hostels, organising escapes across the border to Switzerland, and bringing in suitcases full of money to fund the rescue organisation.
The activists set up an elaborate and successful forgery operation to provide the escapees with new documentation, including identity cards and exit visas. It was a highly efficient organisation that fooled the Nazis and their supporters. Peter finishes the book by reflecting on the position of refugees today and concludes that the story;”offers a ready alternative to selfish indifference, to the pitiless mantra of nothing-to-do- with-me. For those of us lucky enough to live in a liberal democracy, we can vote. If we followed the example of the people of the Plateau and vowed to be part of the resistance against injustice, we could do it.”
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A documentary was made by Pierre Sauvage, one of the hidden children, about the people of the Plateau, watch this trailer