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Review of 2013

2013 has been a year of growth for Veterans For Peace UK. We started the year with 28 members and an average of 4 turning up to monthly meetings. We end 2013 with 101 members across the UK and on average 15 members turning up to monthly meetings in London. Chase Sydnor, Ben Wright, Aly Renwick, Joe Lidster and  John Boulton have been writing articles for the website. John Bourton gave a talk to amnesty in Leeds and is now working on our schools project. Our aim is to further grow our organisation in the coming year and to become more effective in working towards World Peace. I have put together a few of the highlights of 2013. Click on the pictures for links to longer articles and related websites. Ben Griffin

 

2013

Mike Lyons

Our vigils for Chelsea Manning continued outside the US Embassy every time she was in court. We managed to drag the mobile amp down there to bounce the Collateral Murder audio off the embassy as we stood in silence. Our efforts culminated in a Rally for Manning in June, Mike Lyons and I spoke alongside activists from a broad spectrum.

Ben at The Oxford Union

In February I was invited to The Oxford Union to take part in the “I Will Not Fight For Queen and Country”  debate. Adnan Sarwar accompanied me and was great support. Click the picture above for video footage.

Shannon airport 9 Dec 2012 c

In March Barry Ladendorf (San Diego), Gene Marx (Bellingham) and I traveled to Shannon Airport to join the monthly protest there. The USA has been using the airport throughout the “War on Terror”  to transit troops to Iraq and Afghanistan in violation of Irish Neutrality. The airport has also been visited by planes used in the rendition of detainees. We were hosted bu Ed Horgan of Veterans For Peace Ireland and it was a good opportunity to catch up with him and the other VFP Ireland members.

VFP MW

In April we hosted our annual conference. This year it was called Modern Warfare Exposed. It was well attended by VFP members and the public. Julian Assange gave an oversight as to the current direction of warfare in the digital age. Ian Cobain spoke about UK involvement in the torture and murder of detainees in Iraq. Chris Cole gave us a briefing on drones. Mike Lyons and Adnan Sarwar both gave accounts of there own experience.

soldier box

May saw the launch of Joe Glenton’s book “Soldier Box”. I am a slow reader but got through this in one sitting. It is a great story of one man’s journey of resistance through the army and into military prison. Click the picture above to buy the book.

DSC_0366

In August Mike Lyons Les Gibbons and I headed out to the Mid West of the USA for the VFP National convention in Madison. Mike and I then went on a speaking tour taking in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri. The hospitality of the people we met and stayed with was second to none. Click the picture above for a full report.

Gitmo

On the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks we started our Fast on Friday campaign. Every Friday since we have fasted from 0600 to 1800 in solidarity with the men still held in Guantanamo Bay. On 3 Jan 2014 VFP members in the USA will start fasting every Friday. To join in click the picture above.

IMG_1537

In September John Boulton, Ben Wright, Mike Lyons and Joe Glenton headed to the Excel Centre in East London to join the Occupy the Arms Fair protest. Click the picture above for a report.

In 2014 we will be joining several protests including the GITMO protest (Trafalgar Sq) in January and the NATO protest (Newport) in November.

FLI

In October Joe Glenton headed out to Canada to take part in the Front Lines International project. He spoke on platforms with men and women from different sides of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Ryan Harvey Gig 5

Also in October Folk Singer and Anti War activist Ryan Harvey flew over from Baltimore for a European tour. Ryan is a long time collaborator with IVAW and set up the CivSol alliance. We put on a gig at Housmans Books in which Ryan sang and introduced veterans to speak about there experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. The evening finished with the band RAAST. It was fantastic to see John Boulton and Dan Taylor speak for the first time in public. Click the picture above for video.

Victoria, Jo & Ben

In October I travelled up to Edinburgh to speak on a platform with Jo Metson-Scott about the unreported side of war. We had spoke together in March at The Frontline Club to launch her book “The Grey Line”. It is a beautiful photographic study of soldiers who resisted the war in Iraq. Click the picture above to buy a copy.

militarygraveyard_72dpiIn October we publicly supported artist Darren Cullen and his work (Don’t) Join The Army. Joe Glenton and I attended the launch of the artwork and spoke to people there about how our own experiences related to the work. Click the picture above to visit Darren’s site.

David Buck

In November David Buck appeared in a film about Army Recruitment and the negative effects of Army Service. The film was released to coincide with a report in Mental Health outcomes called  The Last Ambush  by David Gee of Forces Watch. Click the picture above to see the film.

Cenotaph 2013 On Remembrance Sunday 18 VFP UK members gathered at the top of Whitehall. We were joined by around 80 supporters. We the walked to The Cenotaph and held ceremony in memory of all those killed in war. Our aim was to carry out an act of remembrance without the militarism of the official parade. Joe Glenton and Dan Taylor carried the banner NEVER AGAIN, Jim Radford sang 1916, John Boulton spoke Winter in the Trenches  and John Bouton laid the wreath. Special thanks goes to Mick Haggerty for playing a pitch perfect Last Post. After taking part Glenn Fitzpatrick was inspired to make the painting above. To see a video click the picture above.

vfpuk blue

For the start of 2014 we are launching a New Logo for VFP UK. We have used the outline of a WW1 British helmet. Please click the picture above for more information (link live from 1st Jan) .

 

  • Kerry Bird 31/12/2013, 18:04

    When no one else can understand you when everything they say you do is wrong.

    You give me hope and consolation you give all who believe in Peace the strength to carry on.

    You will always be the reason why eventually all veterans will love you like we do.

    Thats the wonder the wonder of you.

    Wishing you all a very happy healthy and prosperous new year.

    You turned the corner making 2013 a turning point in history.

    I love the new logo I will be mentioning you in my blog if that is ok with you.

    I created my blog birds4peace.com in memory of my Grandfather second world war far eastern POW hero Leslie Nowell POW that suffered with so many others on the death railways that was killed during the second world war.

    No grave stone for him or any other of his comrades that were on that ship just names on a board in Singapore war cemetery.

    The hell ship the Kachidoki Maru torpedoed by the Americans on the Kachidoki Maru.

    War is a tool that destroys lives.

  • Kerry Bird 31/12/2013, 20:48

    Wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year and hope you approve my support and mention of you all in my blog.

    Love and Peace Kerry XXX

    http://birds4peace.com/2013/12/31/as-2013-closes-a-new-2014-begins/

  • Jerry Genesio 01/01/2014, 01:58

    Congratulations! We began slowly in the U.S. as well, but word will spread and you’ll find a certain, fairly constant percentage of ex-services personnel in every city, town and village with the courage to stand up and be counted.

    Jerry Genesio
    VFP Founder