One hundred years ago, four years of brutal war ended. Millions of young men from all corners of the earth had been trooped to the killing fields of Europe to slaughter each other. A devastated world, and countless human lives, had been laid waste – sacrificed at the altars of imperialism, greed, power politics and lies. But from the start, there were men and women of courage who opposed and resisted war. Opposition to military conscription provided a focus for those who claimed their right of conscientious objection to violence and armed conflict, calling instead for a just and lasting peace.

After that ‘war to end all wars’, the world is still awash with the blood and tears of endless violent conflicts, driven by rampant profiteering militarism. It’s more important than ever to highlight and commemorate the witness of conscientious objectors and peacebuilders – both past and present. There are war memorials everywhere –  37 in Edinburgh. Yet those who have opposed wars, and continue to do so, are largely invisible in public space. Conscription is returning in many countries and thousands are imprisoned around the world today for refusing to do military service. 

The Iona Community is one of a number of partners working on a project  to create a memorial and space for reflection on conscientious objection, opposing war and working for peace in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh. The project is coordinated by the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, and supported by the City Council, and the memorial, designed by Edinburgh-based artist Kate Ives, is a beautiful bronze peace tree, with “bracts” cast from handkerchiefs embroidered with the names of COs or emblems of organisations that work for peace.

£149,000 is needed to to turn the dream into a beautiful garden space for learning and thanksgiving; a place for reflection, gathering and commitment to peace building, of which it is hope to raise £59,000 by donations with the rest coming from grants. The Crowdfunder has already raised over £30,000, but the the deadline is drawing close.

You can see more information about the project here

Help Create an Opposing War Memorial in Edinburgh

Please make a donation at: https://chuffed.org/project/opposing-war-memorial and help create a memorial to Conscientious Objectors (COs) – and all who oppose wars – in Princes St Gardens, a site visited by millions. There are lots of war Memorials. Time for an Opposing War Memorial.Kate Ive's design for a bronze peace tree sculpture will create a space for reflection on alternatives to war in the midst of eight war memorials. Share the video to spread the word.

Posted by Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre on Monday, 15 October 2018

and also at the project website where you can also make a donation to the appeal.

£20 will pay for each of 30 granite “seeds” (Representing Dyce Quarry where the first CO died doing forced labour)

£50 per letter for the Inscription

£100 for each of 237 leaves representing local COs

£200 for Tree ring or engraved website link

£500 – One of 30 bronzed “Bracts” engraved with the name of a CO or emblem of an organisation that works for peace

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2 Responses to Edinburgh Memorial to Those Who Oppose War

  1. My name is Peter Matheson. I now live in retirement in New Zealand. Many years ago now I was among the group who founded your Peace and Justice Centre. So you can imagine how magical it is for me to stumble tonight, through the Iona Community web page, on your marvellous new initiative. (I was a member of the Iona Community as well, and worked closely with Kathy Galloway on the foundation of the Centre)
    I would like to make a small donation to the memorial. Here in Dunedin, where I now live, we are currently planning a memorial to Archibald Baxter, New Zealand’s best known conscientious objector in WW1. A nice coincidence, Dunedin being of course the Gaelic name for Edinburgh.

    • Pat Bennett says:

      Hi Peter – how lovely to hear from you and so glad that you happened across the post about the Memorial. I’ve passed your message on to Kathy too.

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