Remembrance Day

I haven’t managed to maintain posts here (in Spain) since leaving Portugal but now I’m back in London for a while I’m prompted to catch up a bit by an email received from the American Quaker Blog ‘Among Friends‘ with a new post from ‘Thy Friend John’.

It’s ‘Remembrance Day‘ in Britain (at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month since 1919 one year after the end of ‘the war to end all wars’) and there was an interesting and reflective ‘Thought for the day‘ on BBC Radio 4 this morning.

The Quaker ‘Peace Testimony‘ is perhaps the most difficult for me to fully accept.  Whilst there may be no such thing as a ‘just war’, it does seem to me that sometimes evil cannot be re-buffed by ‘non-violence’ and that there are times when co-ercion, therefore force and therefore violence are not only justified but required for the ‘greater peace’, of the many or the threatened or oppressed, at least in the short-term to protect lives, the ‘innocent’ and so on.

I believe even Ghandi who sought always to use non-violence or ‘ahimsa’ in political struggles, did support Britain in the Second World War because he felt that Hitler’s evil had to be resisted by military means.  War crimes may have been committed by the ‘Allies’ in that war and it would be difficult to defend the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  ‘Dresden’ might have been a ‘war crime’ and/or it may have saved lives.  But would the world really have been a better place if Hitler had not been resisted or the war fought?

Another example might be the pre-Iraq war intervention by Britain in Sierra Leone – a military operation involving death but which appears to have benefitted (and saved the lives and sufferings) of many in that country with a significant contribution to ending the civil war.

On the ‘domestic front’, I did manage to maintain an hour for silent worship each Sunday on a sunny rock in Spain for the last 4 weeks and look forward to returning to my London meeting next Sunday

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