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The Peace Tax Seven


15th July - International
Conscientious Objectors Day
how it was remembered in 2005

Cardiff Peace Park
The first ever Welsh monument to Conscientious Objection was unveiled in the National Garden of Peace in Cardiff on 15 May 2005.

The event was covered by local media, with short speeches from diverse peace campaigners:

Joe Jenkins, the director of the short film 'Contempt of Conscience';

Sian Cwper, a member of the Peace Tax Seven - a group with a conscientious objection to contributing to military expenditure through the tax system;

Georgio Giandomenici of Payday, an international network campaigning for the money now spent on military budgets to be invested instead in caring not killing;

And Ray Davies of CND Cymru – campaigning to rid the world of all weapons of mass destruction, for peace and human and environmental justice.

Joe Jenkins recorded the whole event, interviewing those present to include in his next short documentary

Côr Cochion were also present singing peace songs in the midday sun to mark the event.
The stone was unveiled by George Crabb of Cynefin y Werin. It carries the bilingual inscription: If the right to life is the first
of all human rights,
being the one on which all
other rights depend,
the right to refuse to kill
must be the second.

MANCHESTER PEACE PARK - in front of the peace statue
This was the inaugural rememberance day, organised by Manchester Quakers. A healthy crowd gathered in Manchester's peace garden in St Peter's Square, in front of the peace statue.
Manchester Community Choir sang two songs for us, Steven Waling (in the red jacket) and Carol Batton read poems to us.
Bob Oliver spoke about his experiences as a conscientious objector to National Service. He began his service in the army but became increasingly uncomfortable in this role. When the Berlin airlift happened there was considerable anxiety that this could lead to nuclear war and this became a catalyst for Bob. He suffered considerable hardship and a year in army prison, much of it in solitary confinement before being released.
Robin Brookes of Peace Tax Seven spoke about the campaign and the important role CO's play in disturbing the conscience of government and the state.
The event rounded off with a laying of white carnations, one for each of 56 COs from different countries from around the world and one for the PT7

London - Tavistock Square
The Right to Refuse to Kill group hosted the commemoration at the memorial to conscientious objectors in Tavistock Square, London. There were brief addresses from world war two CO Angela Sinclair; Simon Heywood from the PT7; and a speaker from Amnesty International on the ongoing campaign for the rights of conscientious objectors in Greece. In a moving silent ceremony, white roses were laid on the stone of commemoration of individual objectors and a minute's silence was observed.
Pictures of the event are at:
http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2005/05/may15-01.htm