Saved from front page 31 Jul 15
|** Barnstaple relocated||** Quakers urge recognition of Palestine **|
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The bad old days
A public statement by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain agreed in session at London Yearly Meeting 22-25 May 1987:
Quakers in Britain have felt called to issue this statement in order to address a matter of urgent national priority to promote debate and to stimulate action.
We are angered by actions which have knowingly led to the polarisation of our country - into the affluent, who epitomise success according to the values of a materialistic society, and the 'have-leasts', who by the expectations of that same society are oppressed, judged, found wanting and punished.
We value that of God in each person, and affirm the right of everyone to contribute to society and share in life's good things, beyond the basic necessities.
We commit ourselves to learning again the spiritual value of each other. We find ourselves utterly at odds with the priorities in our society which deny the full human potential of millions of people in this country. That denial diminishes us all. There must be no 'them' and 'us'.
We appreciate the stand taken by other churches and we wish to work alongside them.
As a Religious Society and as individuals we commit ourselves to examine again how we use our personal and financial resources. We will press for change to enable wealth and power to be shared more evenly within our nation. We make this statement publicly at a time of national decision [a general election] in the hope that, following the leadings of the Spirit, each one of us in Britain will take appropriate action.
Older bad old days
God is against you, you covetous cruel oppressors who grind the faces of the poor and needy, taking your advantage of the necessities of the poor, falsifying the measures and using deceitful weights, speaking that by your commodities which is not true and so deceiving the simple, and hereby getting great estates in the world, laying house to house and land to land till there be no place for the poor; and when they are become poor through your deceits then you despise them and exalt yourselves above them, and forget that you are all made of one mould and one blood and must all appear before one judge, who is no respecter of persons, nor does he despise the poor; and what shall your riches avail you at that day when you must account how you have gotten them and whom you have oppressed?
More recent bad old days
The rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its wellbeing except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.
(Mike Lofgren, a former Republican U.S. Congressional aide).
No Man's Land
1. Well, how'd you do, Private William Mcbride?
2. And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
3. The sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
4. And I can't help but wonder, now Willie Mcbride,
Copyright Eric Bogle
A sanitised version of that, omitting some of the more uncomfortable anti-war sentiments, was adopted by the Royal Brtish Legion as the 2014 poppy appeal song.
White Feathers & White Poppies – the duality of man(kind)
The Great War may be now outside of living memory, but it is still part of our inherited memory and collective DNA. Whatever the understanding of those who lived through it, the first world war has come to symbolise all that is dreadful, pointless and impersonal in industrialised conflict. It is for this reason that the commemoration of the war is important; not as a historical event, or sepia tinted exercise in nostalgia, but as a consideration of the nature of conflict itself. Our folk recollection of it is also singularly English in perspective; from Kitchener to Blackadder and all that came in between. This means that any such consideration is personal, questioning and emotionally involved. It could be divisive and conflicting – which is perhaps how it should be.
White Feathers and White Poppies.
The White Feather
The White Poppy
They strongly felt that the national expression of grief and reflection on Armistice day had become a largely militarized solemnification on Remembrance Sunday – that the feeling of ‘never again’ was being gradually forgotten and old attitudes to conflict were re-asserting themselves. They saw the officially sanctioned red poppy as now inextricably linked with this and wanted an alternative voice and symbol.
In 1936 the Peace Pledge Union took on the sale and production of white poppies and in 1938 over 36,000 were sold. They continue today, despite opposition from some in the British Legion, the Daily Mail and elsewhere. Margaret Thatcher made public her ‘deep distaste’ for them and recently a boy scout was ordered to remove his white poppy as it was ‘not an appropriate symbol for Remembrance day’, which rather misses the point…