Having seen a major article in the Surrey Advertiser of 17th March, 2017 that Guildford Borough Council had taken upon itself – without reference to the people of the area – to give the local army training centre at Pirbright the “freedom of the Borough”, Guildford Peace Party activist wrote the following letter to the Editor:
“I see this action as all part of the Government’s Armed Forces Covenant in which the nation is being quietly persuaded to love the military; to accept that, by preparing some of our young men and women to believe that our country can only be defended by training them to kill our fellow human beings.”
“That already-planned ceremonial parade through the centre of Guildford in June is supposed to instil pride into the watchers, especially the young, at the stirring music, the ring of the marching boots on the cobbles, the smart uniforms and those horrific weapons being exhibited for all to see.”
“The older among us remember the terrors of being a civilian in war-time. We were not aware then of the millions in the armed forces being slaughtered and doing the slaughtering. We were not aware of the tens of thousands of our countrymen and women and children, let alone the millions overseas, being killed and injured. That was all in the name of defence, we were told.”
““Defence” by a military is not a viable option anymore – it is too awful to contemplate. It is time to create security, safety and protection of the population in ways other than by using – and preparing to use – violence.”
“We all say we care for our neighbours, yet how can we really care if we prepare to kill some of them in the event that we can’t solve conflict non-violently. Children learn to respect others by treating them as they wish to be treated themselves. This respect must be unlimited across the whole of humanity and never allowed to relax when we fail to resolve our differences with patience and with justice.”
The letter was not published.