WHITE POPPY WEARERS will hear messages from people in Russia and Ukraine when they gather for the National Alternative Remembrance Ceremony at 12.00 noon on Sunday in Tavistock Square, London.
Participants will join the ceremony both in person and online. White poppy-based ceremonies will also take place in other towns and cities.
The ceremony will include a message recorded by Yurii Sheliazhenko, secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, from his home in Kyiv. A statement will be read from the Russian Movement for Conscientious Objectors, whose members have refused to take part in Putin’s invasion.
Other speakers will include comedian and commentator Kate Smurthwaite, along with Greenham Common veteran and anti-nuclear researcher Rebecca Johnson. Wreaths of white poppies will be laid and there will be two minutes’ silence to remember all victims of war, both civilians and armed forces personnel, of all nationalities.
The event is organised by the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), distributors of white poppies. The white poppy stands for remembrance for all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a rejection of militarism.
Meanwhile, white poppies will also feature in mainstream Remembrance ceremonies in certain cities. For the first time, the Lord Mayor of Bristol will lay a mixed wreath of red and white poppies at the city’s official Remembrance Sunday ceremony. Events organised by Leicester University involve both red and white poppy wreaths.
This year’s white poppy campaign has been endorsed by several prominent figures, including Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance and poet Benjamin Zephaniah.
Yurii Sheliazhenko of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, whose message from Kyiv will be played at the ceremony, said: “I am speaking from Ukraine, where the Russian invasion took tens of thousands of lives and may take much more because leaders in Moscow, Kyiv and Washington intend to fight indefinitely for total victory. I wish every year people recalled the horrors of war, gradually getting rid of armies and weapons, strengthening nonviolent way of life and culture of peace.
“It would be natural to strive for the removal of all causes of war after honest commemoration of cruel and pointless bloodshed a century ago. Unfortunately, instead of a century of honest commemoration we had a century of lies. Some people still remember what a shameful carnage every war is, wearing white poppies to remember all killed lives, including civilians, not only soldiers.”
* More details on the ceremony here;
* No registration is required to watch the live stream of the ceremony on the PPU’s Remembrance page here.
* Source: Peace Pledge Union