Alternative Remembrance ceremony for peace

By agency reporter
November 9, 2018

Eleven peace groups will hold an alternative Remembrance commemoration on Armistice Day.

The ceremony, taking place in Tavistock Square in central London, will include poetry readings from award-winning actor Michael Mears and Sue Gilmurray, and a talk by Marigold Bentley, Head of Peace Programmes and Faith Relations for Quakers in Britain. These will be followed by a two-minute silence and a laying of wreaths of white poppies at the memorial to conscientious objectors. Participants will then be asked to take part in a spoken pledge for peace. 

“This event will recognise the loss of all lives in war, in contrast to the state-sponsored Remembrance ceremony which focuses on British armed forces” said Oliver Robertson from the First World War Peace Forum, which is organising the event. “Our commemoration will recommit people to the message of ‘Never Again’ that came from the war to end all wars.”

“It is always galling when the government talks about the horrors of war while exposing more people to it”, added Oliver Robertson. “War is always a choice, and it’s a choice to shut down other means of resolving conflict.”  

The ceremony, which begins at 13:00 on Sunday 11 November, will be followed by a ‘peace festival’ in nearby Friends House, the headquarters of British Quakers. The festival will include films, talks, craft activities and stalls from a wide range of peace groups, as well as children’s activities run by the Woodcraft Folk.

“We want to showcase the great work for peace that is being carried out now across the country”, said Pat Gaffney. “While we protest against war and violence, we also work to build a more peaceful future, and this festival is about celebrating and encouraging that."

The First World War Peace Forum has been organising peace-focused commemorations throughout the centenary of WWI, from 2014-2019. Its members are: Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, Conscience: Taxes for Peace Not War, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Movement for the Abolition of War, Network for Peace, Pax Christi, Peace News, Peace Pledge Union, Quakers in Britain, Right to Refuse to Kill Group, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

* Fellowship of Reconciliation http://www.for.org.uk/

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