Veterans for Peace UK Give Back Medals
On Tuesday 8th December, Veterans for Peace UK (VfPUK) responded to the bombing of Syria, and the vote passed in parliament on 2nd Dec to enable this, by marching to Downing St, where they gave back medals awarded to them in British wars.
One by one they each gave a short potent speech referring to their own experience of war, before throwing them to the ground. The effect was stunning.
It was a striking and very moving, immediately relevant protest, and, as such, attracted a fair amount of media interest, generating several videos and reports (see end of page for links). They brought a truth not easily disputed, even by the best spin – the PR merchants will have trouble with this lot – they can’t dismiss them with those arrogant, trip-off-the-tongue slurs they specialise in.
Peace has her champions and they don’t speak in soundbites, but in sound testimony. We salute you, Veterans for Peace, UK!
For Syria 8th Dec 2015 – VfPUK
All that leads you to this place bleeds into the action.
Palestine, Cyprus, Malaya – to The Gulf, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq.
We see it as you look – straight-backed – ahead, the drill long embedded.
We hear it in the tenor of your speech.
Feel it in the breath of Sacrifice. Memory.
The newslines are riveted; cameras lean into the pavement slabs
to catch the glint of rewards, once given to pin you down. Ribbons.
Now lying like the dead at that black door. Witness.
You have something to say, and the gravity
carries from image to image, taking the world in a day.
And behind that door and in the corridors beyond, this gift disrupts,
sends spasms into well-oiled works, churns spin to dust.
The cogs judder and the truth of lives lived strikes mouths shut,
slaps the face of self-satisfaction, complacency.
Mantras turn to ashes turning tricks to turn the tables; instantly
the Mojo leaves the floor, and all that pretty rhetoric
goes flying like the moneychangers’ doves set free.
The neat operators and their at-ease sleight of hand
shrink before the blast of your Peace:
‘We can’t dismiss these with the usual useful epithets –
Apologists. Sympathisers. Terrorists.’
SEE REPORTS of this excellent and moving act of witness:
NZHerald (New Zealand)
Also videoed by Channel 4 News
Photos at Photoshelter Demotix