Posts Tagged ‘war’


November 9, 2015
Futility by Wilfred Owen, May 1918

Futility by Wilfred Owen, May 1918

Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds,—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved—still warm—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

— Wilfred Owen

Recited by Jeremy Corbyn in Islington on Remembrance Sunday.

What role can religion play in resolving conflict?

June 6, 2013

The speaker, Simon Keyes, Director of St Ethelburga’s, a now demolished mediaeval church in London.

St Ethelburga’s as a peace and reconciliation centre was an idea of the Bishop of London.

He claimed their approach was unique, they actually talked to people. Simply not true, Coventry has been doing this since the end of WWII, and Canon Andrew White is very much hands on in Iraq.

Nor were they doing anything new bringing people out of the conflict zone to talk. That is the norm. Last year Canon Andrew White had hoped to host a conference on Iraq. It fell through due to lack of funding.

A brief and very ill-informed discussion took place on the hacking to death and beheading of an off duty soldier in Woolwich. Yes, an innocent walking the street, but not innocent in that he had fought in Afghanistan. Those who carry out such actions tend not to be deranged. They see the effect of drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal regions, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, and are avenging the deaths of fellow Muslims. The only surprise is that there are not more of these attacks. Young men are radicalised in Mosques, often by illiterate preachers who have not received a proper education in the Koran. They do not not then need to watch videos on the net, though such videos are widely available. They can pick these videos up from Islamic bookshops. But they do not even need to do that. All they need to do is watch the mainstream news, or listen to irresponsible idiots like Prince Harry bragging about killing Afghans.

We see with Syria, misinformation fed to the public due to lack of critical analysis by the mainstream media.

Governments then use isolated terrorist incidents to clamp down on civil liberties, to justify spying on citizens, as with for example mass surveillance programme PRISM.

Is religion responsible for conflicts? The simple answer is yes.

An idea a person, gets subverted into a religion. Power structures form, become an end in themselves, my religion is better than your religion, I must impose my religion on your religion, a religion to die for, a religion to kill for.

It is not religions that solve conflicts. It is individuals like Canon Andrew White, albeit a man of faith. Who are prepared to talk to evil people. It is easy to love your friends, it is loving your enemies that is hard.

Peace is not the absence of violence. Peace is a dynamic process, something that has to be worked at. Hence Peacemakers.

In a desperate attempt to give meaning to life, many turn to religion. A struggle in the name of faith is always a justification for some grand gesture, to launch a crusade. We can say we are doing God’s work. They become devout followers, evangelists, bigots, zealots, fundamentalists. There is no better fundamentalist than the recent convert.

Religion, or at least the underlying idea, was to celebrate and share the mystery of God, it was not to oppress or convert others. And that is where religions go bad, and as we see in Iraq and other places, when religions go bad, they go very bad.

Location of talk a pain to get to, Methodist Church on Woodbridge Road leading out of Guildford town centre. Indeed, had I not passed by on a bus Aldershot to Guildford the week before, I would not have known where it was.

I noticed there was a bus stop outside the church. Last bus to Aldershot, 1840. So much for public transport, though there are trains from Guildford Station to Aldershot.

The room was awful, long and narrow and stifling hot. A door to a fire escape was open, but they refused to open the windows. A very quietly spoken speaker who barely audible, was drowned out by people jumping up and down and stamping in another room.

There are three churches more central in Guildford, these would have made far better venues.

Remembrance Year

February 21, 2013
Remembrance Day

Remembrance Year

Poignant words of poet Shane Koyczan set to music by The Short Story Long.

I Didn’t Raise My Son to be a Soldier

October 28, 2012

Released in 1915, I Didn’t Raise My Son to be a Soldier, sung here by the Peerless Quartet, was the first commercially successful anti-war record and featured prominently in the American anti-war movement opposing US entry in the First World War.

Ten million soldiers to the war have gone,
Who may never return again.
Ten million mother’s hearts must break
For the ones who died in vain.
Head bowed down in sorrow
In her lonely years,
I heard a mother murmur thru’ her tears:

I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier
I brought him up to be my pride and joy
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder,
To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It’s time to lay the sword and gun away.
There’d be no war today,
If mothers all would say,
I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.

What victory can cheer a mother’s heart,
When she looks at her blighted home?
What victory can bring her back
All she cared to call her own?
Let each mother answer
In the years to be,
Remember that my boy belongs to me!

I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier
I brought him up to be my pride and joy
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder,
To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It’s time to lay the sword and gun away.
There’d be no war today,
If mothers all would say,
I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.

I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier
I brought him up to be my pride and joy
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder,
To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It’s time to lay the sword and gun away.
There’d be no war today,
If mothers all would say,
I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.

Two minute silence observed at St Paul’s in-the-Camp

November 11, 2011
making the poppy banner at St Paul's in-the-Camp

making the poppy banner at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Two minute silence observed at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Two minute silence observed at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Red lips are not so red As the stained stones kissed by the English dead. — Wilfred Owen (war poet) Each brave soldier – never forgotten

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place. — J McCrae

On this armistice day we should mourn all the war dead, the senseless loss of life and destruction, the tragedies of Afghanistan and Iraq. — Jeremy Corbyn MP

On Armistice Day, remember those who gave their lives for freedom; remember too those who devote their lives to reconciliation. — Peter Marsden FRRME Director

We must never forget those killed in our name, we must never forget those who challenge war choosing to promote peace in our name. Amen. — John Cooper

Remember all that garbage in the mainstream media that the camp had to be cleared by Remembrance Day? These pictures say it all.

I always feel slightly queezy at wearing a red poppy. Its true meaning is the spilt blood in the fields of France, but sadly it also gets hijacked to represent nationalism, jingoism, the glorification of war. Things it was never meant to be. Today we had the crass comment from the Secretary of State for Defence saying wearing a red poppy showed support for the war in Afghanistan!

There is also a white poppy for peace.

We should respect those who wear white or red popies, the choice is theirs, not ours to dictate.

Today I met a man who was selling white and red poppies, something I have never seen before.

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month we observe a two minutes silence for those who have fallen in war.

Pause for thought: red and white poppies
Occupy London to mark Remembrance weekend
Occupy London protesters ‘will not obstruct remembrance events’
Armistice Day marked by defence secretary in Afghanistan
How the Cenotaph and red poppies became symbols of war
In Remembrance‏


May 3, 2011

Anti-Vietnam War soul performed by Edwin Starr.

Re-released post-9/11 by Bruce Springsteen as a rock number. It was placed on the list of post-9/11 inappropriate titles distributed by Clear Channel.

Jody McIntyre on politics, war and equality

December 21, 2010

Jody McIntyre, who the police pulled from his wheel chair and dragged along the ground, at the students anti-cuts demonstration on 9 December 2010, talks about politics, war and equality.

Also see

‘We want equality’

Casualties of student fees protest

Alfie Meadows seriously injured in student fees protest

The War You Don’t See

December 5, 2010
The War You Don't See - John Pilger

The War You Don't See - John Pilger

John Pilger, himself a renowned war reporter, questions the role of the media in war. The War You Don’t See asks whether mainstream news has become an integral part of war-making.

Focusing on the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, John Pilger reflects on the history of the relationship between the media and government in times of conflict stretching back to World War I and explores the impact on the information fed to the public of the modern day practice of public relations in the guise of ’embedding’ journalists with the military.

The War You Don’t See has its première at the Barbican, London on 7 December 2010 and at the Curzon Soho, London on 12 December 2010 and selected cinemas on 13 December 2010. It will go to air on ITV1 on 14 December 2010 at 10-35pm. Note the late showing on ITV. Crap on at peak times, good stuff always on late.

Aslo see

Interview with John Pilger about his new film

Media ‘beating the drums of war’

Palestine is still the Issue

Buffy Sainte-Marie – Universal Soldier

November 17, 2010

Buffy first narrates about she wrote, then sings Universal Soldier.

War Is Too Easy

November 9, 2010

If politicians had to fight the wars
they would find another way.

Peace is not easy, they say.
But it is war that is too easy –

too easy to turn a profit, too easy
to believe there is no choice,

too easy to sacrifice
someone else’s children.

Someday it will not be this way.
someday we will teach our children

that they must not kill,
that they must have the courage

to live peace, to stand firmly
for justice, to say no to war.

Until we teach our children peace,
each generation will have its wars.

Will find its own ways
to believe in them.

— David Krieger

Yes, war is too easy. It could be any war, but what comes to my mind is the illegal war on Iraq pressed by war criminals Bush and Blair riding to war on a pack of lies and jingoism.

Who has benefited from the illegal war on Iraq? Well not the Iraqi people, and even less the Christian minority. But the global corporations who rode the coattails of the war machine as it ravaged Iraq have done very well out of raping and pillaging Iraq.

David Krieger is a founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and has served as president of the Foundation since 1982. Under his leadership the Foundation has initiated many innovative and important projects for building peace, strengthening international law and abolishing nuclear weapons. Dr. Krieger has lectured throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia on issues of peace, security, international law, and the abolition of nuclear weapons. He is the author and editor of many books on peace, including a recent book of peace poetry, Today Is Not a Good Day for War.

I first came across David Krieger when I found his beautiful poem The children of Iraq have names, reproduced by Canon Andrew White in his moving book Suffer the Children.

Canon Andrew White is vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad and president of FRRME.

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