Friday, 4 August 2017

people power at the imperial war museum

On Saturday 29th July Bethan and I went to a paying exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, People Power: Fighting For Peace. It was okay.

There was probably less to it than we expected; and although there were quite a few original documents like letters, in general you couldn't read the handwritten stuff. It was interesting to hear recordings of Paul Eddington talking about being a conscientious objector in WWII (I had known he was a Quaker, but if I knew he was a c.o. I'd forgotten it). One of his former teachers gave him good advice about going before the panel (or however it was done): you don't have to persuade them that you are right, but that you believe you are right.

It had four sections, broadly: conscientious objection in WWI, in WWII, Cold War anti-nuclear, and modern anti-war protests. I had varying degrees of sympathy with these. Conscientious objection is hard to sustain when others are fighting and dying on your behalf. Anti-nuclear is a specific thing to object to; anti-war is a wooly and vague luxury. There is progressively less cost and responsibility involved in these four kinds of protest, I think. And I don't like the general attitude that if you are not 'anti-war' (in their terms) then you are 'anti-peace'. Everyone is pro-peace and anti-war, but most people understand that sometimes war is necessary for peace and freedom and justice. And rather like referenda, a single yes/no question has many other issues bundled in with it and isn't always about what it appears to be about and isn't about the same thing for everybody.

Here's the flyer and ticket:

Here are some photos from one particular section:

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