tHe christmas truce
Remember the Christmas Truce of 1914
Five months after the start of World War I, along the Western Front, where already hundreds of thousands of soldiers from throughout Europe, India, Australia, and Canada had lost their lives, so-called enemies ventured from their trenches to talk with each other, retrieve corpses, share gifts from home, tell jokes, sing songs, and kick around make-shift footballs.
Artist's illustration from Illustrated London News, 9th January, 1915
Celebrate Resistance to Fighting for the Sake of Profiteers and Generals
Naturally, the army command, under orders from their respective governments, would not allow this period of peace to continue-- let alone see it as a chance for a permanent truce. But it was increasingly clear to those given the task of defending empires and capitalism that they had more in common with the soldiers they were being pitted against than with those in power: both civilian and military.
Honour Those Who Refuse to Kill
On the home front, thousands of those called to take their place as cannon fodder could not and did not comply. Not only were they subjected to savage ridicule, but many were jailed in conditions that damaged their health. Our thanks go out to them for their bravery and dedication to their principles-- and to their insight into the workings of capitalism and imperialism which should continue to educate and inspire us.
Resist Militarism in All Its Forms
World War III has not been declared, but it might as well have been. Througout the world, wars on terrorism (in the name of patriotism and religion) are engulfing us. And the battle fields cross every border, and include our neighbourhoods. Modern technology allows the intelligence agencies and the police to constantly maintain surveillance of all of us. Meanwhile, recruitment of mostly working class youth, with inferior education and no job prospects, goes on apace.
The Future Depends on What We Allow the Past and Present to Teach Us
The period of peace that the soldiers on the Western Front initiated was both an act of extreme personal courage and an example of the deep striving for friendship, cooperation, respect, and equality: the basis for a new global society which is ours to create. As long as nationalism and capitalism prevail, our positive qualities and goals will be manipulated to perpetuate the status quo. We know from instances like the Christmas truce what we are capable of.
Scottish Peace Network, 24 December, 2014