Ithaca Blog

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Concert for Peace: Karan Casey at the State Theater, March 17 - An Interview with Ellen Grady

Irish singer Karan Casey brings her band to the State Theater on St. Patrick's Day, Saturday 17 March, for a benefit concert to end the war in Iraq and illegal procedures in the military prison in Guatanamo Bay. Ellen Grady of the Ithaca Catholic Worker, one of the sponsors of the concert, spoke to Ithaca Blog.

Ithaca Blog: The Ithaca Catholic Worker has sponsored an annual St. Patrick's Day concert for peace for a number of years now.

Ellen Grady: Since 1997, almost every year. The first one was with Solas, when Karan was with them. When she left, she did the shows with her band. Not every year. Some years she couldn't, and we had Lunasa, and Sharon Shannon. And one year Solas, with their new singer, Deirdre Scanlon.

IB: Any particular reason behind the Irish connection?

Ellen: Well, at first it was just a personal connection. The idea for the shows was actually Karan's. Coming from Ireland, the history of living under oppression is not that distant. You know what it means. You can hear it in Karan's songs.

IB: What are the goals of the concert?

Ellen: They change from year to year. In general, we're speaking out against war and militarism. This year, the focus is correcting the situation in Guatanamo, where hundreds of people are being held without habeus corpus, without being charged with anything. We're speaking out, saying this is not what America is about, what the Constitution provides for. We're doing a lot of work with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

IB: Have you had any contact with legislators?

Ellen: We talk to politicians all the time.

IB: Talk?

Ellen: Well, you know, letters, phone calls, e-mails. Office visits. We've gone to all our elected representatives offices in Washington.

IB: Their response?

Ellen: Maurice Hinchey has been great. He's been great on the war since the beginning.

IB: Have you invited him to the concert?

Ellen: We haven't, I don't think. Not specifically. Maybe we should. That's a nice idea.

IB: A lot of times you hear`the phrase "compassion fatigue" about activist issues. Is the concert series a response to that? The idea of doing good while having fun, listening to music and celebrating?

Ellen: What they're doing, the Bush administration, is hurting America. Is saying no, is taking away from life-giving activities. We didn't have a concert last year, when members of our group were being sentenced for their anti-war activity. We didn't have a lot of energy. This year, we didn't either! But when Karan called us, and offered to do this show, and on St. Patrick's Day? You can't say no to St. Patrick's Day.

IB: And on a Saturday.

Ellen: And on a Saturday!

- Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

1 comment:

aadamglenn said...

Hi Stephen,

Apologies for this off-topic comment, but I've been trying unsuccessfully to reach the editor of Ithaca Blog by e-mail. I’d appreciate it if you could forward this message to the appropriate person.

J-Lab, The Institute for Interactive Journalism, is compiling a new online citizen journalism directory – part of the new citizen journalism resource site. We wanted to try once more to gather information on Ithaca Blog for this directory.

Please take five minutes to fill out a brief online survey so we can include your site (for free). We need your response by Thursday, March 1.

Here is our survey:

Due to respondents’ suggestions, we have restructured this survey so that all questions now appear on one web page. We also have reduced the number of required fields. So if you hesitated to respond before, please check out the revised survey.

Our survey requests descriptive information that will allow us to categorize your site, location information to place it on our Google Map navigation interface, and contact information for our internal use only (to keep the directory updated).

This online citizen journalism directory is sponsored by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland, as part of a forthcoming Knight Citizen News Network initiative, and by the Center for Citizen Media, jointly affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University Law School.

Please help us track the rise of citizen journalism.

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Thank you,

Adam Glenn of I, Reporter, on behalf of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism