VICTIMS OF WAR of all nationalities will be remembered at the National Alternative Remembrance Sunday Ceremony in Tavistock Square, London at 12.00 noon today, Sunday 14 November.
Thousands of people are expected to watch the event online, while a good turnout is also anticipated in the square itself.
Wreaths of white poppies will be laid after participants have observed two minutes’ silence for all victims of war. There will be short contributions from speakers reflecting on recent and current wars. The event is organised by the Peace Pledge Union (PPU).
White poppies represent remembrance for all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a rejection of militarism. They were founded by the Co-operative Women’s Guild in 1933 and have been distributed by PPU since 1981.
Unlike some official ceremonies, the Alternative Ceremony will remember both civilian and military victims of war of all nationalities, and will involve a commitment to resisting war and building peace.
White poppy-based ceremonies will also be held in cities including Edinburgh, Brighton and Derry/Londonderry as well as many smaller towns. Additionally, white poppy wreaths will be laid alongside red poppies as part of official local ceremonies in places including Leicester and Aberystwyth.
The prediction of an increased turnout comes as white poppies become an increasingly recognised part of remembrance in the UK. The number of shops selling white poppies has more than doubled in five years and the BBC said this year that presenters may wear poppies of any colour.
White poppies represent remembrance for all victims of war, as well as a commitment to peace and a rejection of any attempt to celebrate war.
Speakers at the National Alternative Remembrance Sunday Ceremony will include Hamit Dardagan of Iraq Body Count, and Huda Amorri, who has often taken nonviolent direct action against the arms trade and who co-founded Palestine Action.
The ceremony will be introduced by the Peace Pledge Union’s Anya Nanning Ramamurthy, who has travelled from Glasgow where she has been drawing attention to the links between militarism and climate change in demonstrations at COP26.
Anya Nannnig Ramamurthy of the Peace Pledge Union, who will introduce the ceremony, said: “Today we gather to remember all victims of war – including those who have lost their lives in battle, but also civilians. We remember people of all nationalities, in all wars past and present. We gather to remember but also to hope for a peaceful, just society in a world that is safe for all.”
Huda Amorri, co-founder of Palestine Action, who will speak at the ceremony, added: “The catastrophe of colonialism and war has devastated the lives of millions of people across the world. It’s crucial that we not only recognise that, but we act to ensure the cycle of war ends. Remembering all those killed by unnecessary wars and reflecting on actions we can take to prevent more deaths is a crucial step towards justice for all.”
Source: Peace Pledge Union