The Christmas Eve Truce 1914

A talk on the Christmas Eve Truce 1914 took place at Margaret Aylward centre for Faith and Dialogue on Monday 15th December 2014. The talk was given by Don Mullan, a long term campaigner for justice, non-violence and reconciliation. Originally from Derry, Don was a child witness to the awful events of Bloody Sunday 1972, in which 13 unarmed people lost their lives while participating in a civil rights demonstration in Derry. Inspired to confront injustice, Don as a journalist campaigned for a new British government enquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday. The Saville enquiry, which reported finally in 2010, completely contradicted the findings of the original flawed Widgery enquiry.

Don has embraced a myriad of justice and peace campaigns. He initiated the Great Famine Walk from Doolough to Louisburg in Co Mayo, which Afri organises each year. More recently he has developed an interest in the historic Truce, which broke out spontaneously at several points along the Western Front on Christmas Eve 1916, when soldiers on both sides of the conflict sang hymns before eventually leaving their trenches and meeting in no man’s land, where they exchanged greetings and gifts. In some places a football match was played between soldiers of the German and British armies.

Don has developed links with the Lord Mayor’s office in Messines in Belgium, scene of a famous battle involving Irish troops in 1917, and has been involved with the Irish Peace Village which has been set up there. He is working with other stakeholders to develop the Flanders Field Project. The aim of this project is to allow the events of Christmas 1914 to serve as an inspiration to people today, that even in the midst of conflict people can rediscover their own and the other’s humanity and so allow the Prince of Peace to be reborn in our time.

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