Preface Foreword Peace


The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Philosopher - Edmund Burke

This anthology is dedicated to those individuals and groups who strive, many through great hardship, to bring peace to a divided world and enhance the ethos of mutual understanding

A Ray of Hope would like to thank the many contributors and the generosity of their sponsors.

Special mention must be made of Dr. Federico Mayor, Director General of UNESCO, for his support and example. Dr. Mayor's aspirations for world peace are achievable.

It is the desire of A Ray of Hope to contribute positively to UNESCO's Culture of Peace Programme and we hope our expressions assist others in their goal.

Don McBurney 



Preface by the Director General of UNESCO to "The Ray of Hope Poetry Anthology"

Dear "Ray of Hope" Poets,

Poetry is an exercise in bending language to express and transmit emotions, to create new meanings, a new sense of beauty and wonder. Each poet who has contributed to this volume shares with the reader the searing reality of experiencing senseless violence day in day out without surrending to cynicism or despair. Particularly for the children who write in these pages,for whom the immediate environment is practically all they have seen of life, we must applaud the act of faith which permits them to "see beyond" to the potential reality of peace.

They have accomplished two things which give poetry its unique power: the imaginative use of language to report on what it feels like to live with hatred and violence- - what I call "leaning in"- - and the mobilization of language to transcend inhumanity in the search of peace, or "leaning out". Here often in the same short poem, we have all the darkness and anguish that some adults can visit on children sharply contrasting with the luminous ray of hope that these boys and girls have found within themselves thanks to their parents and teachers.

When the world learns - - all of us - - that "the other" is also us, that Belfast is also our hometown, that those who suffer near or far are only episodically on television, but are permanently in our hearts, then UNESCO's goal of creating the "moral solidarity of mankind" in pursuit of peace will be within our grasp. The passion of these poems takes us in that direction. They cry out for another way to solve our differences, one based on the democratic principles of justice for each individual, respect for all communities, minority or majority, and the freedom to speak out, even forcefully, while foreswearing force and violence.

With the approaching Christmas season, so dear to Protestants and Catholics, can we not celebrate together the birth of one who saw in the vision of children the "ray of hope" that could guide us to peace.

1, personally, and all of us at UNESCO thank you for this splendid anthology and wish you a peaceful 1997.

Federico Mayor

20 December 1996
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In Northern Ireland the path of peace has proved difficult, but hopes remain high that that ultimate goal can be achieved. In the growing clamour for peace, adults in our society have expressed their yearnings in a number of ways that often have touched us all.

In this poetry anthology it is the turn of our children. All of the entries express a wish for a better future, a desire to turn away from the darker aspects of our past. It is right that the children should have this, their own forum. They are expressing their feelings in a naturally engaging and guideless fashion that is at once challenging and obvious. It is a form of expression that we as adults may have lost, but perhaps could do well to emulate. There is much for us all to reflect on in these lines.

All of the entries are thought-provoking, and some are very impressive indeed. I commend them not only for their intrinsic poetic value, but also for the sentiments they espouse.

MICHAEL ANCRAM Minister for Education Northern Ireland
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P rogress

' I find the great thing in this world is not
so much where we stand, as in what direction
we are moving.'

O.W. Holmes

E loquence

' It is the heart that makes men eloquent.'


A spiration

' No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.'


C reate

' It is better to create than be learned.
Creating is the true essence of life.'


E quality

' As men we are all equal'

Publius Syrus

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