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U2's Bono linked with Derry civil rights concert

By Gary Fennelly

A concert planned to be held in Derry later this year as part of the civil rights commemorations could attract some of the biggest names in the music industry including U2 frontman Bono.

The concert, to be held in November, is being organised by the Civil Rights 1968 Commemoration Committee. Organisers said they are unable to confirm who is performing at the concert.

However rumours are beginning to circulate linking humanitarian rocker, Bono, to the show. The U2 lead singer has spoken in the past about his admiration for Martin Luther King, one of the founders of the American civil rights movement which was a major influence on the civil rights campaign.

The gig is part of a series of events throughout Ireland and Britain announced by the Civil Rights 1968 Commemoration Committee and includes conferences, lectures and a summer school.

The organisers say it is important to remember the events of 1968 in a "sober and reflective way".

"The things that happened during that pivotal year had a profound effect upon our society, and precipitated an avalanche of change which left no part of our community untouched," the group said.

They said they will "seek to learn from what happened, to consider the significance of the Civil Rights Movement for our society today and the continuing resonance of the issues which it addressed, and the ideals which underpinned it".

The programme includes a lecture in Magee University next month featuring top academics. It will be chaired by Nobel Laureate John Hume and speakers will include Lord Paul Bew, a Professor at Queen's University, Belfast, and Paul Arthur, a Professor at the University of Ulster. The lecture will be held on April 15 at Magee.

Denis Haughey, chair of the committee, said: “The civil rights movement here modelled itself very much on the civil rights movement in the United States.

“Those of us who were involved in the civil rights movement were hugely impressed and hugely struck by the dignity and courage, the integrity of purpose and the non-violence of the United States movement.

“That motivated us to take the same approach and put the spotlight of publicity on the injustices we saw around us here and it was our intention to generate peaceful pressure on the authorities here and in London to take responsibility in their hands and deal with the injustices over jobs, housing and electoral matters.

“At that time a lot of very ordinary people showed a lot of extraordinary courage in peacefully confronting and challenging injustices and showed change could be brought about by peaceful means.

“Unfortunately the potential of creating a normal democratic process of gradual and peaceful change was lost in the tragic events which followed but it is important to reflect and learn from these events as we work to create a stable democratic society today.”

An international civil rights conference will take place in Derry on October 4th to commemorate the Duke Street march in the city.


From Belfast Telegraph