After months of silence, during which it seemed the idea had died quietly (like the much-derided “British Day”), the British government announced on 21 January that Armed Forces Day will after all be taking place – 27 June.
It now falls to the British peace movement to respond appropriately.
The central event of the first Armed Forces Day is to take place in the historic dockyard in Chatham, Kent. The five unsuccessful bidders – Cardiff, Blackpool, Plymouth, Southend and Southport – will all hold parades partly funded by the Ministry of Defence.
The government is hoping that the activities of the armed forces will be marked in hundreds of events around the country. The Ministry of Defence is allocating £400,000 towards the cost of Armed Forces Day. Unarmed force
Gandhi called for people to use “truth force” (satyagraha). Peace News will be hosting debates about how to respond to the government’s militaristic initiative.
For ourselves, we lean towards celebrating “Unarmed Forces Day”, making 27 June a day for being inspired by and learning from all those who have used nonviolence to challenge injustice and change the world.
All (anti-militarist) suggestions are most welcome.