Message of peace from war centenary

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From: The Clerks, On behalf of Sheffield Central Quaker Meeting.

WE write as Quakers who, since their foundation in the 17th century, have always believed that wars do not solve anything and that conflicts should be settled by nonviolent means.

As we approach August 4, exactly 100 years after the outbreak of the First World War, let us remember, while it is fitting that heroism should be recognised and commemorated, so too should the lives – and sometimes deaths in custody – of the peace activists who campaigned against war.

Let us remember, too, the courage of individual conscientious objectors, those in Germany as well as in Britain, who refused to kill.

That war gave rise to the mechanisation of mass murder – from machine guns and rockets to tanks and lethal gas.

A war supposed to be over by Christmas lasted four long years.

The “war to end all wars” saw great atrocities and caused long-lasting trauma because of the territorial ambitions of the European imperial powers.

The eventual peace treaty 
and the resentments engendered by it, sowed the seeds of a war that broke out just two decades later.

Let us celebrate too then 
those who worked so tirelessly for peace.

The Great War was a military disaster that saw the unnecessary slaughter of millions of people.

The centenary should be used to promote peace and international co-operation.

Deaths not deliberate

From: Martin D. Stern, Hanover Gardens, Salford.

ROBERT Cartlidge (The Yorkshire Post, July 26) claims that “the Israelis ... are now massacring the civilian population” of Gaza.

Last Wednesday evening Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of UK forces in Afghanistan said on the BBC’s Moral Maze programme that the (then) 600 Gazan fatalities were remarkably low and showed Israel’s extreme care in avoiding hitting civilians. In his opinion, if not for this care, the expected death toll would most likely be 6,000 or even 60,000.

If Israel were deliberately targeting civilians, then the figure would probably be nearer 600,000 so talk of “massacring the civilian population” is simply inflammatory rhetoric with no basis in reality.

This gives the lie to Barry Cundill’s claim that to oppose Israel’s response to the rockets falling on its civilians from Gaza “is not anti-Semitic, it is anti-bully” and suggests that Hilary Andrews is correct that those who hold such views should go to the “Israeli/Palestine border on the Israeli side and see how he feels when rockets are raining down on him at a rate greater than bombs in World War Two. Or, better still, he just shuts up.”

From: Terry Duncan, Greame Road, Bridlington.

WHAT hold does Israel have on the rest of the world?

Its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, continues to use sophisticated weapons to murder the innocents, young children and the elderly, destroy hospitals and schools.

Yet, he has not been arrested for war crimes and hauled off to the International Courts of Justice.

Accent that baffled Nazis

From: ME Wright, Grove Road, Harrogate.

RF Heys reminds us that Wilfred Pickles was the first person permitted to tarnish the sacred RP (received pronunciation) of BBC newscasts (The Yorkshire Post, July 26). According to my grandad, this was because his Yorkshire accent made it very difficult for the dissemination of convincing false information by the Nazis. However, his valedictory “goodnight listeners – goodneet” was too much for the BBC; Auntie had the vapours and sent him back to Halifax and the nation took its chance with potential Nazi hackers!

Region still riding high

From: Coun Elizabeth Nash, Leeds City Council.

many Yorkshire towns and villages on the route of the Tour de France have kept their decorative yellow bicycles which give the country roads an added interest and an air of celebration.

The village of Pool-in-Wharfedale, which is on the northern boundary of the Leeds City area, chose to display a number of black bicycles with handlebars and saddle bags full of flowers. These flowers have grown into a profusion and are an absolute delight for all to see.

Well done Pool-in-Wharfedale!

Vital habitats neglected

From: GB Mallison, Seaton.

YOUR farming page (The Yorkshire Post, July 26) raised embarrassing questions for the East Riding local authority.

Big government is calling for a united front to help establish more pollinators. Unfortunately the trend in the county council is to abandon its established insect-friendly habitats. Annual conservation on designated roadside verges has been discontinued.

Big government provides farmers with artificial nectar plots and beetle banks while, on the other side of the hedge, ERYC turns its back on established wildflower habitats.