In August, Bristol CND and XR Peace Bristol organised their fourth four-day Peace Gathering in the Peace Glade in Castle Park, Bristol, with over 20 talks, workshops and discussions – and die-ins to mark the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945.
Included in the Gathering was part of an International Fast to Commemorate Hiroshima-Nagasaki.
Fasters in Bristol included Matthias Engelke from Germany (a Lutheran pastor who has vowed to fast one additional day each year until all nuclear weapons are removed from German soil) and Etienne Godinot from France (vice-president of the Institut de Recherche sur la Resolution non-Violente des Conflits).
Elsewhere, there were at least five separate fasts in France, one of them at a major gathering of campaigners on a range of anti-nuclear, climate change, and anti-militaristic issues held in the Larzac, Southern France. There were also fasts in Togo and in New Zealand/Aotearoa.
In Bristol, the fasters had a particularly moving encounter with a young Japanese man whose mother and grandmother were from Nagasaki.
The Bristol Peace Gathering ‘pop-up’ venue used six gazebos (which coped well with rain) which took two hours to put up and an hour to take down each day. They provided a good space for stalls, a snacks/water table, and a generous-sized meeting space.
There was also space to finish each day with entertainment from local musicians including Bristol XR’s own Bayou Tapestry, Rita Lynch, and a lovely drummer called Kuntaceesay who just happened to be passing!
The Peace Gathering finished with a mini-march around Broadmead shopping centre, led by a giant peace dove. There was also a useful ‘debrief’ workshop plus a very enjoyable ‘Celebration/De-stress’ workshop.
This was just one of dozens of commemorations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki around the UK in August.