Act 31 Brighton Festival 2011

Act 31 took place at 3.00pm on 29 May 2011
weekend of Amnesty International’s 5oth Anniversary 28 May 2011
Freedom Picnic, Queens Park, Brighton Festival 2011

Monica Ross and 44 Co-Recitors in Armenian,Bavarian Dialect, EnglishEllinika/GreekEspañol/SpanishFrenchGerman/Deutsch, GaeligeHebrewJapanese, Mapudungun (Mapuzgun), NdbelePersian, Raramuri, Russian/RusskyWest Papua Tribal Language and Yucatec Maya/Maaya T’aan. Act 31 was also interpreted in BSL/British Sign Language by Signers Viks McKeating and Gemma Bamber
please scroll down to see everyone’s contributions, photos and comments

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s pro-democracy leader, human rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate was the Guest Director of Brighton Festival 2011 

Aung San Suu Kyi has fought passionately for over two decades for democracy and human rights in Burma. Taken to the heart of this year’s Brighton Festival is her plea ‘use your liberty to promote ours’ and in the current climate of change and revolution in the world,  we feel that working with Monica Ross on her ongoing project resonates in a poignant way; reflecting our changing world and the power of people within it.  The premise of the project is that individual and collective memory is the basis for increasing awareness and presence of mind about Human Rights especially when individuals and communities find themselves under pressure in situations where there are conflicting and hostile interests.’

The Brighton Festival 2011 Special Edition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with a forward by Director Andrew Comben, was designed by Monica Ross and Bernard G Mills. Thanks to the generosity of Gemini Press 1000′s of copies were freely available during the Festival. To obtain copies please click here. 

The Will of the People a solo act of memory was performed with Brighton Festival Chorus for the Festival”s Launch at Brighton Dome 23 02.2011

Act 31 3.00pm, 29 May 2011, Freedom Picnic, Queens Park, Brighton Festival 2011

photo: Bernard G Mills

Preamble Monica Ross English
Article 1
Ros Cook English
Article 1
Hanne Eis 
Article 1
Aaron Patrick Quinn English
Article 1 Genner Llanes-Ortiz Yucatec Maya / Maaya T’aan a Mexican Indigenous Language
Article 2 Louise Purbrick English
Article 3
Paddy O’Keefe Gaelige
Article 3
Roslyn Cook 
Article 4
Satako Horii Japanese
Article 4 Wendy Rowe English
Article 5 Jessica Andrea Hermosilla Magaña Español/Spanish
Article 5 Jessica Andrea Hermosilla Magaña Mapudungun/Mapuzgun an indigenous language of Chile
Article 5 Ros Cook  English
Article 6 Ollie Heath English
Article 6 Kate Byrne and Phatisani Khumalo, via a recording made in Zimbabwe, English and  Ndbele
Article 6 Julie Fu English
Article 7 George Fairbrother English
Article 8 Monica Ross English
Article 9 Darren Edwards English in support of artist Ai Wei Wei  
Article 9 Eleni Toulekki  Ellinika/Greek
Article 10 Mick Hartney English in support of artist Ai Wei Wei
Article 11 Genner Llanes-Ortiz Raramuri a Mexican Indigenous Language
Article 12 Monica Ross English
Article 13 Susan Diab Armenian with the help of Melik Karapetyan in Yerevan, Armenia
Article 13 Voice Lab:  ‘A Round’
Caroline Buckley, Amy Cunningham, Helen Dewhurst, Bethan Graham Dolman, Lily Hunter Green, Tina Yeo O’Clarey, Dorothy Rosser,
Simona Rumlerova

Article 13 Deidre OHalloran English
Article 13
Maria Michaels
 Ellinika /Greek
Article 14 Caroline O’Reilly English
Article 14 Eric Jacobson 
Article 16 Joy Hurcombe Englisin support of Shaker Amer and his family
Article 17 Monica Ross  Sorour Shamshiri 
Article 19 Darren Edwards English in support of artist Ai Wei Wei
Article 19 Tom Sloan English
Article 19 Juan Lloera-Gonzalez Raramuri a Mexican Indigenous Language
Article 19 Louise Bristow English
Article 19 Benny Wenda West Papua Tribal Language
Article 20 Monica Ross English
Article 21 Monica Ross English
Article 22 Rebecca Fidler English
Article 22 Louise Bristow English
Article 23 Carmen Appich Bavarian Dialect
Article 23 Anna Stavrakis Russian / Russky
Article 24 Anna Stavrakis Russian /Russky
Article 25.1
Monica Ross English
Article 25.2 Susie CourtaultEnglish
Article 26
Genner Llanes-Ortiz Yucatec Maya /Maaya T’aan a Mexican Indigenous Language
Article 27.2 Monica Ross English
Article 28 Ros Cook English
Article 29 Monica Ross English
Article 30 Maud Casey English 

Some great photographs can be seen on Facebook by photographers Danuta Simmo and Max Jago Cutting
Use Your Freedom To Promote Ours a review by Louise Rose King in the Brighton Argos is here.
A Podcast of a radio inteview by Melita Dennet with Co-Recitors Roslyn Cook, Susan Diab, Louise Purbrick and Monica Ross is here

Many thanks to all the Co-Recitors, Melik Karapetyan and Phatisani Khumelo for their long distance contributions, BSL Interpreters Viks McKeating and Gemma Bamber, Everyone who came to the Workshops and contributed to the discussions on and off line; Andrew Comben, Pippa Cutting, Tanya Peters, Rebecca Fidler,Tom Sloan, Adam Self and all at Brighton Festival; Michelle Hirschhorn, Honor Harger, Alice Ross, Bernard G Mills, Louise Purbrick; Melita Dennet Radio Reverb , Jackie Chase and Radio Free Brighton, Susie Oddball and Your Voice Matters at Brighton and Hove Community Radio at BMECP, Brighton and Hove Amnesty and Gemini Press

Article 27.1 Everyone has the right to take part in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in the advancements of science and its benefits


6 Responses to “ Act 31 Brighton Festival 2011 ”

  1. Susan Diab on 28/05/2011 at 15:21

    I have just Skyped my new Armenian friend Melik Karapetyan, who taught me how to say Article 13 in Armenian, for one last practice before tomorrow’s event. He had two friends with them, who, he teased me, were the ‘jury’ to hear my attempt to say it in Armenian. I recited it from memory once forgetting to say the word ‘yerkir’ which means country and, miracle of miracles, they understood what I was saying. Melik explained that one of the friends who was there with him was being refused a visa to allow her to travel to Europe and we joked about how she would now be able to recite the article to the authorities in support of her application. It underlined to me the importance of keeping this article alive and of reciting it at every relevant opportunity. Thanks to this project I will now be able to do so from memory in English and Armenian, the language of my forebears.

  2. Joy Hurcombe on 27/05/2011 at 19:02

    I am so pleased to be taking part in the act of memory on Sunday. It will be a unique occasion – so appropriate for the final event of this amazing Festival.So many people in the world have none of their human rights and have no voice. This declaration is for them. I will be thinking especially about those who are still held withot charge or trial in Guantanamo in absolute denial of all their human rights. British Resident Shaker Aamer has been held there, without charge, for over nine years, many of them in solitary confinement as a punishment for speaking on behalf of the other detainees against the unjust and cruel conditions. Aung San Suu Kyi is such an inspiration for our campaign for his release. She knows the pain of isolation from her loved ones and has faced great injustice with amazing dignity. Let us hope our words bring hope for justice and freedom in Burma and in dark places like Guantanamo.

  3. Louise Purbrick on 26/05/2011 at 18:16

    This is my story. Although I knew about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for many years I really only read it properly a few years ago when I compiled a fact sheet a about the internment and torture of Brighton resident Omar Deghayes as he was held in Guantanamo Bay. I was part of Brighton-based campaign, Save Omar, that helped secure Omar’s release. Many other Save Omar campaigners are also reciting Articles at the Freedom Picnic and I have enormous respect for their political commitment. We really worked together and in so doing exercised our own rights as well as defended those of others. That is what the Act of Memory means to me; every time you articulate the rights of another, your own rights (and your own capacity and your own freedom) are also being asserted. In the Save Omar campaign, we had to address the suspicion caused by the detention of Muslim people even though detention itself contravened numerous human rights as well as legislation established to uphold those rights. We all know Guantanamo was outside all legal frameworks nevertheless the Save Omar campaign had to address the problem of Islamphobia: the fear, suspicion and hatred of Muslim people, which has escalated with United States-led “war on terror”. The identification, scapegoating and vilification of groups of people that are blamed for underlying problems of inequality and injustice is, of course, a reason why the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written but once again there is new racist threat. Over the twelve months English Defence League, whose policies derive entirely from hatred and fear of Muslim people, have held series of marches in towns and cities. I want to read Article 2 as one of a local group, Brighton Antifascists (, formed to to oppose the rise of organised and politicised hatred, racism and fascism, in Brighton. Our city should be free and safe for all people, whoever they are, wherever they are from, wherever they are going.

  4. monica on 14/05/2011 at 11:08

    dear susan,
    please keep your scribblings as evidence of the extraordinary process you have set in motion here and thanks for allowing us all to have an insight into it.
    best monica

  5. wendy rowe on 10/05/2011 at 13:07

    Hi Rebecca. I plan to come to Brighton for 29th May with some friends. We are coming from Manchester and Cumbria. Can you give me further info about how the event will be organised and the activities in the run up? We would prepare ourselves by memorising articles which resonate with us. – What is helpful for us to contribute about article 31? The Rectors’ Forum on the website is an excellent idea.

  6. Susan Diab on 10/05/2011 at 09:57

    I am going to recite Article 13 in Armenian about the right to freedom of movement from country to country and about the right to return to one’s country having left. This article has particular resonance for me because of my family history. Both of my parents’ families moved across national borders and I too spent my early life in India before moving back to England where I was born. I might have picked any one of a number of significant languages to recite in but I chose Armenian for my paternal Grandfather Antoine Diab who fled the Turkish genocide of Armenians in the early years of the twentieth century. With his sister, mother and a suitcase they arrived in Syria and began a new life. What happened to his Father is not known.

    I never knew my Grandfather well but I feel I know something about him from family stories and photographs which show him, even in relaxed situations, with the whites of his eyes showing all around the irises as if frozen in a moment of panic. It seems his movements never ceased. As a young man he moved to India with his new wife, my Grandmother (herself an Iraqi whom he met in Syria) and established a textiles business and then as a business man he travelled where the work took him, finally settling in Paris where they lived and are buried.

    There are many reasons why humans enter and leave countries, I should know. And deep are the attachments that we make, wherever we are, to soil and to people. That this is a human right, to move, as necessary, as and when, and to return, I find deeply moving and I am looking forward to embodying the words in Armenian by committing them to memory.

    Tomorrow night I have an appointment with an Armenian I’ll call K who lives in Yerevan. I was put in touch with him by a friend of a friend via Facebook. He has very kindly agreed to teach me how to say Article 13 in Armenian, having sent me a translation in English script for me to practise before our lesson, which will be conducted entirely through Skype. Today I’ll be practising saying the words though I have no idea about the pronounciation as yet, which he will help me with. Then once I feel I’ve got an idea of what the words sound like and the shapes they make with my mouth I will begin the process of enfolding them in my mind or my heart or in whichever part of the body memory sits. Actually, it must be in the whole body, in every bit, by turns affected by and animating our movements.