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.