Podcast series in Ireland invites grassroots conversation
DUBLIN — Comhrá, meaning ‘conversation’ in Irish, is a recently launched podcast by the Bahá’ís of Ireland that provides a window into uplifting discussions among friends on themes central to the life of society.
“We want to engage in social discourses at a level that is not usually seen, and to hear from people who are not always heard,” says Patricia Rainsford of the Irish Bahá’í community’s Office of External Affairs.
“There is a place for high-level discussions of policy, but the conversations in this podcast look at an essential component of social change that is found at the grassroots—addressing ideas that listeners might see reflected in their own lives.”
In one episode, sociologist Iarfhlaith Watson and his friend and colleague Brendan McNamara discuss the role of identity in contributing to greater unity in a diverse society. “The Bahá’í Faith teaches about the oneness of humanity,” says Dr. Watson.
“What we need to understand,” he continues, “is how a sense of identity that brings people together can be maintained while overcoming the tendencies to exclude others. … Maybe people in their local community will realize that if it’s not happening globally, then in our own locality we have to work together to create a better sense of community. From those grassroots will grow local, national, and then finally international cooperation.”
In another episode, Frank Kennedy, a Bahá’í from the city of Waterford, speaks about an initiative to create a supportive space for newly arrived migrants to Ireland.
In this conversation, Mr. Kennedy describes how people of diverse faiths engaged in the initiative were able to overcome their differences by focusing on the principles of forgiveness, love and hope that are common to all religions.
Speaking about the future of the podcast, Ms. Rainsford states: “The pandemic and circumstances outside our control can leave each of us feeling powerless and hopeless. The idea of the opening series, called Sparks of Hope, is that positive acts are hopeful, no matter how tiny—like sparks that have the potential to light up a dark and difficult time.”
Published today, the latest episode titled “Everyone’s here for a reason” explores issues of disability and inclusion. Upcoming conversations of the podcast will look at a constructive conception of justice in responses to racial prejudice and violence.