The Scottish Peace Network will have a vigil and hand out leaflets in Glasgow on 4 August while the government holds its official commemoration of the Centenary of the First World War in the Cathedral and in George Square. Some of us will be at the Donald Dewar Statue in the Pedestrian Precinct of Buchanan St from 9:30am – 10:30am then groups will disperse from there to distribute leaflets at various places around the city centre, finishing around George Square between 12 and 12:30pm when there will be a military parade there. All are welcome to join us.
Here is the text of the leaflet we will be distributing.
2014 marks the centenary of the First World War. While honouring the memory of those who died we must remember the devastation, not glorify the tragic loss of life. The truth is countless millions of lives were wasted in an orgy of unimaginable slaughter; many survivors suffered lasting physical and mental disfigurement. Nothing was gained; and the settlement at Versailles set the scene for a century of endless, often genocidal war.
The Scottish Peace Network opposes David Cameron’s attempt to equate commemoration of the First World War with the Queen’s Jubilee and the London Olympics, as an opportunity to “celebrate Britishness.” The government plans to rewrite the history of the war as “a good war” and bolster a militaristic nationalism in the wake of its failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our continuing collusion with the US through NATO membership commits us to more pointless wars. We must learn instead that war is not the way to resolve conflict or create peace.
Let us remember that imperial rivals sought to gain or protect economic interests, vying for colonial territories in Africa, the Middle Eastand Asia. Let’s remember that generals in comfortable chateaux sent millions of men to die only to gain a few yards of ground. Let’s remember that men were ordered to walk toward machine guns that mowed them down and generals measured victory in terms of numbers of casualties.
Let us also remember the vision and commitment of those who resisted the war: those who filled public squares in Glasgow, Manchester and London; the twenty thousand conscientious objectors refused to participate in the slaughter, thousands of whom were imprisoned under harsh conditions; trade unionists who stuck to the principles of international brotherhood and organised on the Clyde; John Maclean, jailed for his condemnation of the bloody struggle; and the women who worked for peace and social justice throughout the war.
Remembering now, one hundred years on, we call for an end to all wars.
No More Wars!