KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Some fifty people gathered at beautiful Point Pleasant Park this Remembrance Day afternoon for a moving ceremony to honour all victims of war anywhere – civilians, women, children, refugees, hospital workers, animals, and the environment.
The event, modeled on a similar event in Vancouver, was organized by the venerable Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace, a group that has been working for peace here seemingly forever.
“It’s good to remember the other victims of war. At least 80% of casualties of war are women and children, this is true for everywhere and across the board,” said Halifax poet laureate Afua Cooper, who also performed one of her stunning poems.
“We must hold our governments accountable. It’s our tax dollars that are being used to wage war, our own money, money that could be used for daycare, to end poverty, to give everyone in Canada and elsewhere a decent life,” said Cooper.
Folk singer Sandy Greenberg performed some anti-war songs,and many people sang along.
People laid wreaths featuring white poppies on behalf of forgotten victim groups, including refugees, women, medical and aid workers, children, conscientious objectors, civilian and military PTSD sufferers, child soldiers and veterans for peace.
Also very much included in today’s ceremony was the environment, or Mother Earth, another innocent victim of war and recognized as such with her own wreath.
“The white poppy serves to recognize the victims of conflict and war that largely remain unrecognized, civilians, refugees, child soldiers, medical and aid workers. The list is endless, also because the harm frequently is intergenerational. Finally the white poppy is an expression of hope to promote and to create a culture of peace,” said Kathrin Winkler, speaking on behalf of the organizing Voice of Women.
Maria José Yax-Fraser, an activist on behalf of refugees, spoke movingly about all these vulnerable and innocent victims of war.
“A culture of peace can only be built by recognizing all the human suffering and losses, as well as the social, cultural and environmental devastation created by war in its many forms,” said Yax-Fraser.
“In the so-called struggles of good against evil it is always the people who get killed. Each time a new war is started in the name of the fight of good against evil, those who get killed are the poor. Each time a war is started in the name of good against evil, it is the bodies of women and girls, and sometimes the bodies of men and boys that pay the price,” she said.
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