Report from our June meeting

18 Jun

Our speaker this month was Quaker John Ainsworth, talking on ‘Quakers and Social Justice’. He spoke of the motives and history of the Quakers, with their emphasis on how lives are lived rather than on doctrine – simplicity, equality, peace and truth are the key words. He pointed out how the Quakers have been ahead of the game in many ways: in the forefront of supporting LGBT rights, lobbying the Government on climate change, protesting at the arms trade – their concerns chiming very much with Amnesty International’s own.

We heard reports from group members on North Africa (some hopeful signs on dissent in Algeria, but disquieting reports from Tunisia, and continuing repression in Egypt, now the sixth worst country in the world for executions); Burma (An Sang Suu Chi has been visiting Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary, a repressive leader whose views on immigration now, sadly, seem to chime with hers), and the situation in India where Narendra Modi has been returned to power, with emphasis on muscular nationalism, with an under-representation of women and minorities.

Amnesty members have been urged to share their ideas on Amnesty’s future, framed by 5 Big Questions on the complex issues of diversity and inclusion, attitudes and systemic change and stronger movement and partnerships.

We will have a stall in Taunton town centre on 29 June, the theme being the Death Penalty and LGBT rights. We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Our next meeting is Tuesday 9 July at 7.30pm in the Friends’ Meeting House, Bath Place; we always welcome visitors.

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