Monday, 13 November 2017

Remember peace and nuclear disarmament on ‘Remembrance Day’

Peace and nuclear disarmament was the theme of a Remembrance Day meeting at The Canadian Tribute to Human Rights (Human Rights Memorial) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on 11 November 2017.

Morgan Gay, Pacifi organizer, speaks at The Canadian Tribute to Human Rights.
About 25 people observed two minutes of silence to remember all victims of all wars around the world, current and past; and to learn from the past, work for peace and tackle the causes of war. The event was organized by Pacifi17 photos of this event.

Our ‘peace’ group was miniscule compared to the thousands who were at the ‘official’ event at the National War Memorial near Parliament Hill, 600 metres north of us on the same street.

After gathering at the monument, we walked 2 blocks south to the Fox & Feather Pub and Grill to relax and hear historian Dr. David Thompson, University of Ottawa, explain the origins of Remembrance Day and efforts by veterans to promote peace. He listed five lessons from the anti-war vets:
  1. The importance of veterans in peace making.
  2. Postwar experience matters.
  3. Respecting veteran intelligence in discerning the causes of war by colonialism and 20th century capitalism is useful.
  4. There is recognition that one can be anti-war, but not pacifist.
  5. The battle is for peace, freedom and economic equality.
A rich discussion followed. These are some of the many noteworthy comments.
  • The white poppies that the activists wore symbolized all soldiers and civilians, as compared to the red poppies which generally relate to the military dead. White poppies have been around since 1933.
  • A Moslem fellow from Somalia asked: ‘What is peace? By the gun, or Gandhian peace?”
  • J. S. Woodsworth was cited as a hero for peace because he had the courage to stand up in the Canadian House of Commons in 1939 to oppose Canada going into war.
  • ‘What is freedom and democracy?” Is it freedom to starve?
  • A Quaker from out of town suggested that war is ‘counterproductive’; that in today’s world, it threatens our ability to deal with climate change and the future of our civilization.
  • A prominent Canadian poet Henry Beissel said that peace is complicated. Economic corporate interests rule the world including hijacking the mainstream media, and making us consumers of extreme capitalism. ‘I despise Remembrance Day because it glorifies wars, resulting in perpetual indoctrination of our youth for wars….What freedoms are we protecting? Canada has not been attacked for 200 years….We are closer to war today than in 1948. I am not sure what to do?’ More than ever before, said Dr. Beissel, we need more cooperation to deal with issues of equality, injustice, and local services. To achieve this, we have a huge opportunity if we decide to stop wars and divert resources to urgent human needs.
  • Perhaps a backlash to President Donald Trump will lead us away from emphasis on violence and wars?
  • A Pakistani man: ‘If we survive, it will be through sheer luck.’
  • It was noticed that Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reneged on his promise to follow through with voting reforms resulting in a loss of democracy. Does this mean that all politicians are vulnerable to lying when pressured by corporate interests which fund the particular party?
  • ‘I’m not cynical, not pessimistic, but believe that humans have the intelligence to survive.’
  • ‘Who is the real hero: the soldier or the peacemaker?’
  • The annual anti-militaristic demonstration at CANSEC near the Ottawa International Airport has been successful in holding up cars for several kilometres and getting the message out that disarmament is the way of the future. Pacifi organizers invite activists to continue this action in May 2018.
Following the 1.5 hour afternoon session, Thompson said that ‘this was the best Remembrance Day’ that he experienced in his life. I was impressed, too.

I wanted to title this story with ‘Armistice Day’ because I prefer the original historic name, but most people have forgotten it. In my opinion as a Doukhobor, the meaning of the holiday was changed with the new name. I do not want to remember war with red poppies, rather to remember peace symbolized with white poppies, meaning no more wars.


By Tarasoff:
Green, Roedy. Six reasons why I despise Remembrance Day, Canadian Mind Products.

Moorghen, Sandra, "Should we still wear the poppy?", Opinion, Issuu, 11 November 2013, page 11.

Gary G. Kohls, MD, ‘Changing the “War No More” Sentiment of Armistice Day to the War-Glorifying Propaganda of Veterans Day’. 13 November 2017, in Transcend Media Service.

War With Russia: Two Great American Myths. 11 November 2017, in Saker.

Peace Pledge Union. 'Alternative Remembrance Sunday Ceremony hears from people suffering in current wars'. 11 November 2017.

Mairead Maguire, Peace Laureate. 'Prospects for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament'. Presentation to the International Symposium on Nuclear Weapons at the Vatican, Rome, 10-11 Nov 2017: The Peace Process in Northern Ireland. Posted in Global Research, November 14, 2017.

David Swanson. 'A New Armistice Day'. November 8, 2017.

Jay Janson. 'Buried History: 27 Million Died in Russia Because Wall Street Built Up Hitler's Wehrmacht to Knock Out Soviet Union'. Posted in The Greenville Post, August 8, 2017.


  1. Bruce Rosove, Ottawa, Ont. Career and Relationship Coach15 November 2017 at 08:59

    Thanks for this description of the Peace and Nuclear Disarmament at 'Remembrance Day meeting '

    I have reservations about the whole Remembrance Day phenomenon. It seems to glorify war. And I find that frightening and off-putting. So the event you describe is refreshing.


  2. S.Jeyapragasam, India15 November 2017 at 09:03

    My dear friend,
    I thank you for your email. These 25 people are makers of history. I admire your dedication to truth and nonviolence.
    With gratitude, regards and prayers,

  3. Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Ireland15 November 2017 at 09:57

    Dear Koozma,
    Many thanks for your email and illustrated report.
    I have just returned from Disarmament con. in Rome at which Pope Francis gave a wonderful address (see vatican web) denouncing nuclear weapons.
    I attach my presentation for your information.

  4. Kathy (Katya) Szalasznyj, Saskatoon, Sask.15 November 2017 at 11:02

    Good to hear from you, Koozma! I am reading (in fact, re- reading) Tolstoy’s Hadji Murad, which really depicts the senselessness of war... set in Chechnya in the 1850s . What a good read it is! Also been reading Tolstoy’s diaries, 1895-1898, online. Lots of references to the Doukhobors. His soul was heavy from hearing about atrocities.

  5. Ramesh Chaitoo, Belgium15 November 2017 at 11:06

    On this subject, see my Facebook post regarding Remembrance Day below. Looks like we need a War Avoidance Day too!

    On Remembrance Day, perhaps it is better to think about the horrible atrocities that continue in Yemen and Syria and numerous other places and wonder why humanity does not learn from past wars. It is not enough to simply remember those that have died in old wars. The world community (UN Security Council) should be preventing new conflicts and stop the long, long bloodshed instead of holding pretentious meetings. Too many innocent people will die in famine in Yemen in a forced blockade and war that seems to have no basis or logic.

  6. Tim Kitz, Ottawa, Ontario15 November 2017 at 11:10

    This is Tim Kitz, the new Coordinating Editor at the Leveller. I had heard of the event, and had a quick look at your blog entry. If you had an interest in whipping it into something closer to a news article in the next couple of days, I had hoped we would cover it for our upcoming issue.

  7. Albert Beale, Peace Pledge Union, London, England15 November 2017 at 12:01

    Hi there - thanks for your news from Canada.

    You might be aware of the alternative anti-militarist Remembrance events held
    over here in Britain. If not, see

    Do you have contact details - either an e-mail address or a postal address -
    for the group Pacifi? Many thanks.

  8. Ria Heynen, Ottawa, Ontario15 November 2017 at 13:14

    Dear Koozma,

    That seemed to have been a good event. So sorry I (and most Grannies) had to miss it.

  9. M. Haliburton, Ottawa, Ontario16 November 2017 at 07:37

    Each nation finds ways to remember its war dead, but too often in these formalities the media and public events focus only on the losses among soldiers. In any country that has suffered from on-ground invasion and/or aerial bombing, the memorials have to widen to recognize civilian deaths as well. Canada and the US were exempt from such invasion, but in other world regions the impact on general populations was and continues to be severe.
    To take nothing away from families of veterans in Canada, I refrained from posting about this on the sensitive Nov. 11th weekend.
    However, I feel there's a need for recognizing the non-combattant war dead, not just those in past wars, but also in the present day. Should that be another day set aside for reflection, policy examination, and perhaps also for interfaith as well as private prayer?...

    Because of the Nazi invasion of Russia — a policy decision by the Allies to get Hitler to fight on two fronts and thus diminish pressure on the "west" — an estimated 27 million Russians died. Most were civilians. This was not just about "soviet" soldiers. I looked up accounts of the battle for Moscow. In Nov. 1941, the Russians' only ally was their harsh winter. They were dressed for it. But in their hubris, expecting a fast victory, the Nazis had not equipped their German troops with winter coats, and many thousands suffered severe frostbite and either died or were disabled — not by 'enemy soldiers' but by official neglect and ignorance of north Eurasian winters.

    Annually, the Russian people hold solemn processions in which every person carries a photo of someone they remember. It is not a military event but a social and spiritual one. But the West[s media] never mentions either the huge death toll on that country's population, nor how, by bogging down several Nazi Panzer divisions, Russians had an important effect on the outcome of WWII. (Maybe we should be laying a wreath for them on Nov. 11th too.)

    And on the "other side", the firebombing of Dresden destroyed a cultural centre and caused a huge death toll of [German] civilians. Dresden was not a military centre; I've read that international business lobbyists actually prevented any bombing of the Panzer factory which built those tanks! (That would have been a logical military target.) What was the reason for such a devastating attack on civilians in Germany in WWII? Shouldn't that give us pause to think about the effect on humanity of such war tactics?

    So, which day might this solemn day of reflection take place?

    I feel it would be appropriate for the international community, perhaps the UN, to establish this as a universal day of reflection. Its ultimate purpose should be to stimulate working for conflict resolution that does NOT involve invasions or wholesale bombings or "pre-emptive strikes" of any kind.