The tradition of remembrance day is 100 years old. It started in 1919 to remember members of the armed forces who died during the first world war. Two years later the red poppy became associated with remembrance. This was at a time when the conflict was still seen as a ‘war to end wars’ and when the hope for peace was implicit in remembrance. In 1926 the white poppy was introduced to recognise all casualties of war and to make explicit this hope to avoid further wars.
Over the years these two strands of remembrance-- honouring the millions of war dead and injured, and hoping for peace-- have become increasingly incompatible. Therefore, at this time in human history, we in the Scottish Peace Network say there is no war to end war. There is no soldier whose death or maiming is worth any war, or any ceremony.
We need to create and maintain an explicit peace: a collective will to build on the finest aspects of human behaviour. A set of structures and systems that replace the unjust and cruel structures and systems intended to perpetuate the status quo. We need to speak boldly of the abomination of war as the young people are speaking of climate change: as the chaos of capitalism.
Peace is following up on the lessons of combat, for example how nationalism and militarism interact and will continue do so unless we reject any glorification of war.
Our tribute to the victims of war is our commitment to peace.
We do not accept that war will, or must, always be with us. War is not human nature.
This approach to war and peace is the basis for remembrance as a way forward.
Fortunately, there are many of us from all regions of our planet-- and all cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs-- who feel this way. They meet up and take risks to make the words Another World is Possible attainable. They work hard, are courageous, and deserve our recognition, respect, and support. Let us introduce you to some of these people from our part of the world…
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