Bexhill and Hastings pacifists mark International Day of Peace

Pacifists marked the United Nations International Day of Peace with a ceremony on Bexhill beach on Monday (September 21).

Thursday, 24th September 2015, 2:04 pm
Members of the Bexhill and Hastings United Nations Association gathered on Bexhill beach to mark the International Day of Peace.

Members of the Bexhill and Hastings branch of the United Nations Association (UNA) gathered to commemorate the day with prayers, chanting and singing.

The event was organised jointly by the UNA, Quakers and the Hastings and District Interfaith organisation.

UNA communications officer Maria Crees said it went well despite the wind and rain.

“It was cold but I think it went well,” she said.

“There would have been more people had the weather been better but we had about 30 people.”

Buddhist Lana-Ma gave a prayer calling for world peace, a Suffi Muslim gave a chant and the widow of peace activist George Fairbrother, Jean Fairbrother, also made a prayer.

Attendees all took a rock and wrote the name of a country in need of peace before placing them on the shoreline.

Ms Crees said many chose Syria because of all the unrest in the country which has caused many people to flee in search of refuge in Europe.

“The event was a local opportunity to spread the global message about peace,” she said.

“It was a local effort between different religions to flag up our concerns and that we would wish this world was a whole lot more peaceful.”

The UN secretarial-general Ban Ki-Moon’s statement was read aloud by Barbara Echlin.

Ms Crees described the statement calling for world peace as a ‘message of optimism in the face of pessimism’.

“This year’s International Day of Peace comes at a time of deadly violence and destabilising conflicts around the world. Rather than succumbing to despair, we have a collective responsibility to demand an end to the brutality and impunity that prevail,” Ms Echlin said.

“I call on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire. To them I say: stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace.

“Although it may seem hopelessly distant, the dream of peace pulses in the lives of people everywhere.

“There is no group more poised to help realize this dream than today’s young people.

“They are part of the largest generation of youth in history, more aware and connected than any before.”

Mr Ki-Moon’s statement urged all governments to invest more heavily in ‘peace builders’.

“On the International Day, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, let us seize the opportunity achieve the organisation’s founding purpose: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” Ms Echlin said.

The branch’s next event is a free meeting about ‘soil as community’ with a group discussion and a talk from Dr Edward Echlin.

Everyone is welcome to the meeting room at Parkhurst Hall in Bexhill at 11am tomorrow (Saturday).

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