During the Christmas of 1914, soldiers on multiple fronts of the First World War put their weapons down and made an unofficial and illegal truce. When the celebrations ended, many would not go back to war with each other. The popular story has been re-told many times as a Christmas miracle.
This December 18th, an organisation of veterans of the British military and Tom Morello’s new Firebrand Records release “Christmas Truce” a holiday single and video to promote the ideals behind that truce – soldier-led resistance against war and militarism.
Written by Firebrand Records co-founder, folk singer, and longtime anti-war activist Ryan Harvey, “Christmas Truce” is performed by Belgian-born, London-based singer Fenya, an active member of London’s Food Not Bombs. Accompanying the song is a video shot with members of Veterans For Peace UK, featuring former soldiers of conflicts stretching from the Second World War to the present interventions and occupations in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan.
“The Christmas Truce lives in the hearts of millions of people,” says Veterans For Peace UK coordinator Ben Griffin, who served in Northern Ireland, the former-Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Afghanistan with the Parachute Regiment and the Special Air Service. “However we need to move on from the idea of a truce being something that is only carried out at Christmas. Throughout history soldiers have formed truces with their supposed enemies; in fact soldiers often find that they have a lot more in common with the enemy than with their own governments.”
“I wrote this song to tell a simple story that reflects a much larger reality,” Harvey says. “Soldiers have spoken out, protested, and revolted in almost every war in history. We encourage and need this resistance, because historically, it is one of the single strongest factors in bringing wars to an end. At a time when a civil and proxy-war is ripping Syria apart and the world seems to be lingering on the brink of yet another global catastrophic conflict, this ever-relevant song references history to describe the present.”
“We hope to convince people that war is not the solution to the problems of the 21st century,” Griffin concludes.
Veterans For Peace UK is a voluntary ex-services organisation of over 300 men and women who have served in every war that Britain has fought since WW2.
Firebrand Records was launched in June, 2015 by Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Ryan Harvey (Riot-Folk Collective) to give a voice to socially-active, politically-conscious musicians globally.
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