White poppies for Remembrance Day? Why? Remembering
the Causes and Costs of War - Back in 1933, the Women's co-operative
Guild in England chose to wear white poppies to symbolize their commitment to
work for peace and to end their
complicity with militarism. The tradition is being adopted in many other communities now too. Many people are choosing to wear red poppies to remember veterans and whitepoppies to renew their commitment to work for peace and to remember the true
costs and causes of war: 1) The arms trade, in which Canada actively participates, flourishes at the cost of empty bellies and displaced peoples. 2) The late Eric Fawcett, Founding President of Science for Peace, supported the white poppy campaign, adding: Financial warfare, the deliberate undermining of regional economies, kills people and cripples even more lives than the hot wars that inevitably follow. The concept of 'financial warfare' refers to the grinding poverty in which up to half the human race lives in poor countries that are loaded with huge debts that can never be paid; and now with free market economies being forced on Asian countries, the former Soviet Union and East Europe, we see major nations like Russia and Indonesia falling into the same morass.
3) We need to remember that 95% of the vicitms of war are not soldiers but civilians. Bruna Nota, president of WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom), hopes that the white poppy tradition will help us arrive at a new way of viewing security. "We are like the people who created a whole science based on the false premise that the earth is flat. We are operating on the false premise that security is garanteed by military forces and preparedness. In fact only a just sharing of all resources, by the availability of education, food, shelter, sanitation, health care, by the full respect of human rights, by adopting practices that ensure the health of the earth, air, water and all its inhabitants, can provide the security in which we can care for each other in trusting and responsible communities." While it is possible to buy manufactured white poppies in Britain, many Canadians have been making their own. Homemade poppies are a way of honouring diversity. They have often been made of waste materials such as boxboard, so they are also a tribute to sustainability. People can contact Jan Slakov at Box 35, Weymouth, NS, B0W 3T0, (902) 837-4980, <email@example.com> if they would like more information or a sample homemade white poppy.
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Last update: 16 Oct 2000