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Anzac Day Peace Vigil a Quaker tradition. Gaza was on our minds

Each year on Anzac Day Quakers and others gather on the Church Steps in Nelson in vigil for peace. (A vigil is a stationary, peaceful demonstration in support of a cause, typically without speeches). Our vigils bear witness to the horrors of war for combatants and non-combatants alike, as well as the desecration of homes, schools, hospitals, infrastructure, land, the environment, and the climate.

Sadly, there have been 81 interstate wars since WWII, such as Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Syria, Libya, The Ukraine, Gaza . . . . And then, many civil wars.

Quakers have been rallying alongside others every Saturday in Nelson in support of the Palestinian people, and at this year’s vigil in Nelson we were joined by Palestinians and supporters. There can be no peace without justice – the daily reports from Gaza testify to the unspeakable injustice of life for the people in Gaza; moreover, war cannot achieve lasting peace. Unless and until those funding and arming Israel, those profiting from war, those waging war, cease and begin genuinely to listen, negotiate, and work towards settlement, this conflict will simply generate the traumatised warriors of tomorrow.

In Motueka, for the second year, we few gathered to display our call for peace, to honour the war dead by ending war. We were heartened by the acknowledgement of those in the endless stream of cars, with even a toot or two.

We hope you will join us at the rallies for the people of Gaza (FB: Te Tau Ihu Palestine Solidarity) and next year at our peace vigils on Anzac Day.