May 2012

Dear Supporter,

Just a few days before Remembrance Day last year when many of us laid white poppies and a wreath at the conscientious objectors memorial stone in London, the 100th anniversary of the first dropping of a bomb from an aeroplane passed unnoticed. That same day NATO ceased its bombing operations in Libya - the very place where that first bomb was dropped. Technologically, but equally importantly mentally, we have travelled a long way in those 100 years. Then campaigning produced international treaties, which outlawed such actions, though these were largely ignored. Today, despite much cant about protecting civilians in war, anything goes when it suits the powerful and we are left to campaign against whatever new weapon that comes along. War, the profligate expenditure on preparation for it and the widespread distribution of ever more powerful weapons continue to be widely seen as essential features of a modern society.

Another 100th anniversary is on its way – the start of the 1914-18 war; the mythologising, commercialising and sentimentalising of that war is already underway. This will be a depressing time but it also provides us with an opportunity to present ‘something different’

We are planning for a major countrywide project beginning in 1914. Our aim is to foreground the activities of the opponents of war in the years before and during WW1, not only as a counterbalance to the jolly tales of heroic action that will fill the bookshops and television programes, but more importantly to use the opportunity presented to promote contemporary anti war values. We will engage pupils and schools as well as people interested in unearthing the ’alternative’ history in their locality through a variety of activities that are designed to question the institution of war past and present.

This is an ambitious programme, which we can take forward in a significant way only if we can raise sufficient funding. We have applied for grants and have already been promised a substantial donation to start the project. I hope that you will also be able to help with a generous donation to this appeal and look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you

Jan Melichar

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