Peace academy in Wales, against glorifying World War I

This video says about itself:


8 August 2014

Anti-NATO protesters begin 192-mile march on NATO SUMMIT to WALES, UK.

“Peace activists have set out on a three-week ‘Long March on Newport’ to protest against September’s NATO Summit. Police say they have drafted in 9,000 officers to face the protesters in one of the UK’s biggest ever police operations. More than 20,000 activists from around the world are expected to take part in demonstrations during the summit, where a week-long peace camp and a counter summit are among some of the events planned in what has been billed as Wales’ largest protest in a generation. Sixty world leaders from the 28-nation military bloc will meet at the Celtic Manor in Newport for the NATO summit on September 4 and 5. Previous NATO summits in Chicago and Strasbourg saw thousands protest war, austerity and global inequality.”

By Morgan Gwynne in Wales:

Peace academy can halt tide of WWI apologism

Wednesday 13th August 2014

MORGAN GWYNNE listens as artists organise to stop Wales becoming a dream militarist recruitment ground

Speakers at the Wales Peace Academy meeting at the Llanelli National Eisteddfod were unanimous in their condemnation of the tone and nature of events marking the centenary of the beginning of the first world war for glorifying militarism. At the same time there was whole-hearted support for a peace academy similar to those that exist in Catalonia, Flemish-speaking Belgium, Finland’s Aland Islands and Norway.

Plaid Cymru MEP and CND Cymru chairwoman Jill Evans spoke of the — failed — project to establish a military academy in the Vale of Glamorgan.

“I don’t want to see a Wales that is recruiting ground and a military training base for Britain and other countries,” she said.

“Scotland has expressed its opposition to Trident. That’s the message we want to hear from Wales and a peace academy would be a step towards peace and a new Wales. Remembering World War I in itself is not enough — we need to create a new culture of peace.”

The Reverend Guto Prys ap Gwynfor, chairman of the Wales branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, condemned the culture of glorifying war that has become part of the World War I “celebrations.”

“This culture of violence which seeks to normalise war, the belief that war solves problems, needs to be changed,” he said.

Mererid Hopwood, poet and activist in the campaign against the use of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Aberporth as a testing site for robotic drones drew a simpler analogy. “The cane,” she said, “has been banned from the classroom as a tool for keeping order, but state violence remains the order of the day. Remembering is important, but we must remember in the right way — and learn. Dropping bombs is not the answer.”

Author and Morning Star contributor Gwyn Griffiths recalled that the historian AJP Taylor had said how often history had vindicated those who deviated from public opinion in their opposition to war. Yet it is one lesson that never seems to be learned.

He spoke of the contribution made by Welsh people to the Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace. Of the seven secretaries of the Peace Society six were Welsh — the best known being Henry Richard, who held the post from 1848-85.

“The germ of the idea was established in 1814 — another anniversary we should remember,” he said.

“It was a revolutionary statement challenging the position of the established church that serving in war was compatible with Christian doctrine.”

He quoted from the book by the society’s first secretary Evan Rees, Sketches of the Horrors of War: “The character and achievements of the warrior have ever been the favourite themes of the historian’s narrative and the poet’s song. The sufferings of the wounded are lost in the animated descriptions of the pomp of battle and the tears of the widow and the orphan are undetected in the enumeration of its ideal glories.

“All the powers of language, and every embellishment of style, have been lavished to immortalise the soldier’s fame — to veil the hideous deformity of war — to give perpetuity to deeds of destruction and to transform the destroyer of man into the most exalted of the human race.”

Griffiths, paraphrasing from the aims and objectives of the International Catalan Institute of Peace, said that one objective of a Welsh peace academy should be “to research into and disseminate the memory of history, thought and pacifist action in Wales.”

Ecumenical accompanier in Palestine and Israel Jane Harries supported the need for the pacifist tradition to be included in the history curriculum and the need for research into the activities of the military in Wales, a country where large tracts of land have been acquired to provide training facilities.

Visitors to the CND / Fellowship of Reconciliation stand at the Eisteddfod were urged to join the Wool Against Weapons Carmarthenshire knit-in to produce a mile-long Welsh peace scarf, a craft project to raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons.

6 thoughts on “Peace academy in Wales, against glorifying World War I

  1. Pingback: NATO conference and anti-militarism in Wales | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Greenbelt Christian festival in Britain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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