Accepting Joanna Miller Peace Grant proposals—Deadline extended

The Saskatoon Peace Coalition is accepting proposals for the Joanna Miller Peace Grant, which this year is set at up to $1,000.

The deadline for applications has been extended to September 29th, 2017. Applications should be submitted by email to

Proposals are invited from individuals or groups in the Saskatoon area. They may focus on local, national or international peace issues. In seeking to honour Joanna Miller’s legacy, preference will be given to projects aimed at raising awareness regarding the importance of peace and justice.

Projects might include:

  • conferences,
  • school based projects at the primary, secondary or post-secondary level,
  • artistic expressions,
  • specific campaigns,
  • public lectures,
  • volunteer work, or
  • some other peace activism within the community.

The recipient will be announced on or close to the United Nations World Day of Peace, on September 21.

Learn more about Joanna Miller and the grant. 


Hiroshima – Nagasaki Commemoration 2016

Thank you to the organizing committee for giving me the opportunity to talk to you today. 
I’ve been to many Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemorations, and I have noticed how seldom there has been any mention of who dropped the bombs on those cities, and why. I want to address there two questions.

Who dropped the bombs? The bombs were dropped by the United States Air Force, as authorized by U.S. President Harry Truman.

Why were atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? I believe that there were four inter-related reasons:

1. To force Japan to surrender. Japan and the US had been engaged in a ferocious war for four years, mainly over whether the American Empire or the Japanese Empire would control the Pacific. Both sides had suffered huge military casualties. The civilian populations of the countries and colonies attacked and occupied by Japan, and the Japanese cities bombed and fire-bombed by the U.S., also suffered huge casualties and infrastructure damage. By 1945 the U.S. was in a position to attack mainland Japan, but U.S. casualties would have been huge if they had attempted to do so. So using the atomic bomb was intended to force Japan to surrender, which it did shortly after the bombs were dropped.

2. “Let’s see if it works.” The scientists and military who had built and tested the bomb at the Trinity site in New Mexico wanted to see what the effect would be of dropping an atomic bomb on a large city. Hiroshima and the other cities on the list of possible targets were chosen because their geographic location and composition would make it easier for the USAF to view and measure the impact of the bombs. The original list of cities included Kyoto, but Kyoto was spared because the U.S. Secretary for War had honeymooned in that beautiful city. Hiroshima and Kokura were selected as primary targets but Kokura was spared because of bad weather. The bomber pilot could not see his target and so the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki instead.

3. Racism. Two days after the Nagasaki bombing U.S. President Truman said “When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him like a beast.” Throughout the war, the U.S. government, military and media depicted the Japanese as a subhuman, murderous people. This image was used to rally U.S. support for the war, as well as justifying the firebombing of Japanese cities and the use of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

4. A warning to others. By using the bomb the U.S. was sending a strong message to the USSR that the U.S. had the ultimate weapon and would use it against the USSR, or any other enemy, if the U.S. so wished.

5. Because war is war. We have been conditioned to believe that military and civilian casualties, and the destruction of schools, hospitals and even entire cities are the consequences of war. This is not the case. The infliction of casualties and the destruction of property are the objectives of any war. War is all about winning and using whatever weapons are necessary to win.

To sum up: The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an escalation by the U.S. of the war with Japan, using new weapons of mass destruction. New wars produce new weapons, so in addition to saying “Never Again!” to the use of nuclear weapons, we must work to bring about an end to all wars, and build a truly peaceful world.

Thank you for your attention. Please see me afterwards if you would like to discuss this with me and perhaps with others who are interested.

      Michael Murphy

      Saskatoon Peace Coalition


Michael Murphy awarded Saskatoon’s Joanna Miller Peace Award on September 22, 2015

Michael was born in Eire and has spent his life trying to make the world a better place. For many years he was a worker for Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace that took him overseas to Africa and for many years in Saskatoon.
On retirement he continued to work hard to find where he could be of some use and discovered that there was no organization in Saskatoon that had as its only objective the pursuit and promotion of Peace. In 2000 he pulled together a group of people with similar interests and formed the Saskatoon Peace Coalition. It was soon joined by  Project Ploughshares Saskatoon and Veterans Against Nuclear Arms. In addition there are several individual members all of whom want to promote Peace in the Home, Peace in the Community and Peace in the World.

From its earliest days Michael has been its President and driving force.   He has chaired its meetings and managed to keep these deliberations mainly on track. He has been resourceful in bringing issues before its members and the Coalition has been able to mount educational workshops, sponsor lectures and make appropriate public demonstrations on issues when Peace has been destroyed or planned.

He is politically aware and very few dangerous and foolish acts by our leaders escape his attention that results in a large agenda for the Coalition to attend to.

He also represents the aura of Peace in his personal life by acts of kindness such as visiting people undergoing hard times and through various acts of friendship. Michael has recently been involved with Child Hunger and Education Program [CHEP} and he wrote a play ‘The Generals Take our Defence Minister Shopping’, which was  shown at the Fringe Festival in August, 2015.
Michael Murphy will continue to work for peace and justice. He is a worthy recipient of this award.

Betsy and John Bury




Joanna Miller Peace Award – Acceptance Speech

Well, it looks as if just about everyone I know in Saskatoon is here.  Just as well this is not being held in a pub or I’d never get home. ….but there’s an idea for next year.

Thank you all very much for being here. Thank you too for giving me a rare opportunity to wear my suit, usually dusted off for less joyful occasions. I’d like especially to welcome Greg Miller, Joanna Miller’s son, who is representing the Miller family. The Miller family funds this annual Award in memory of Joanna, whom many of us knew and who was a tireless activist for peace at the local, national and international levels. In fact, it was Joanna who suggested a Peace Conference for Saskatoon some years ago, and it was as a direct result of that successful conference that the Peace Coalition came into being.

I also welcome the very deserving winners of last year’s award, Betsy and John Bury.

I’d like to thank most sincerely the Selection Committee made up of Joanna’s daughter Leslie Loizides, who could not be here today, Linda Murphy and Sam Sambasivan.  Thanks too to the good people who provided letters of reference to the Committee. And special thanks to my wife Lorraine who has held the fort, so to speak, on the many occasions on which I have gone forth to save the world.

I would like to salute the past and present Stalwarts of the Saskatoon Peace Coalition, many of whom are with us today – would you please raise your hands – thank you. It has been a pleasure to work for more than ten years with these dedicated peace activists. I accept this honour as a recognition of the work done by this fine group of people, many of whom worked for peace long before the Peace Coalition came together in 2002 to protest the imminent invasion of Iraq by the U.S.

Now for the serious issues:  Knowing my passion for peace, the organizers have allowed me  30 minutes to talk to you about war and peace, but I’ll try to cut things short and do it in three.


Today our world desperately peace. There are many wars under way right now, each one a tragedy and each one bringing terror, death and injury to more civilians than combatants. Each one of these conflicts could have been prevented and could now be resolved through diplomacy, negotiations, sanctions and boycotts. I am going to talk about just one of those wars, as it is of special concern to me.

You are all familiar with the story of David and Goliath. David, a small but courageous warrior, defeated the giant Goliath. I‘m not going into the origins of that story, but I would like you to consider what would have happened if David, the underdog, had missed with his slingshot, and lost this encounter. What if Goliath’s army, far better equipped than David’s and supported by powerful allies, had then subjugated David’s people, taken away more and more of their land, hemmed them into enclaves, denied them their basic human rights and constantly humiliated them? What if Goliath’s army attacked David’s people frequently and ferociously, killing many of their women and children, when David’s people were driven by despair to rise up against their oppressors? And what if other more powerful countries provided Goliath’s armies with the latest in military technology to be used against David’s people, while other countries supported Goliath’s people by cheering them on, or by remaining silent when yet another assault was made on David’s people?

In relation to the struggle of native people to achieve justice in North America, Buffy St. Marie sings:

                                    That’s all in the past, you might say

                                    But it’s still going on here today.

And it’s still going on in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. This unequal conflict has been going on for over sixty years and needs to be brought to an end. A peaceful negotiated solution is possible, but only if Israel’s backers and military suppliers, especially the US, stop their unquestioning support for Israel, and only if countries like Canada, under our present Harper government, stop maintaining a one-sided position on the conflict, a position that unfailingly favours Israel.

By the way, as we are in the middle of an endless federal election campaign, you may be interested in the ranking of the parties as regards Palestine by the Montreal-based Committee for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME).

P.C.s: F;      NDP: C+ :     Liberals: F;   Greens: D   Bloc Quebecois  A-


So what can we do about this particular conflict?

  1. Read up – read up on this conflict on websites such as Monthly Review, The Guardian, and the Committee for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.
  2. Watch and listen up – what are the media saying about this? Contradict biased reports when you can.
  3. Stand up for a settlement of this conflict that will guarantee security for Israel and liberation for the Palestinians.
  4. Act Up: I know that everyone here wishes to live in a peaceful world, free of war and other forms of violence. If you want to be directly involved in peace work, at home or elsewhere, we invite you to join the Saskatoon Peace Coalition. We pay special attention to the need to abolish nuclear weapons, and to the situation in the Middle East, including the Israel-Palestine conflict. We are in urgent need of new members, preferably but not necessarily young people, and especially those who are skilled in social media, whatever that is.

Thank you so much for your attention, and thanks again to the Selection Committee for honouring me with this splendid award.



Hiroshima Day

While we remember those killed or maimed by  atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seventy years ago, very few of us have a real understanding of the effect of those weapons. Even at the time it was not the amount of destruction that occurred that impressed, for both sides had been killing fifty thousands in bombing raids, but that it was just one bomb in just one plane that had done all that terrible destruction.
The weapons that now would be used are between ten and a thousand times more powerful than Little Boy and Fat Man, the bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A standard current nuclear warhead delivered by a long range missile exploded above our heads here in Rotary Park would destroy all the buildings standing in the City of Saskatoon. Several thousand people would be vaporized and completely disappear, several thousand more would be burnt to death and many many, more would succumb to the effects of radiation. Last Thursday, the Mayor of Hiroshima said that by the end of 1945, 140,000 irreplaceable lives had been taken. By comparison, the irreplaceable 250,000 citizens of Saskatoon would be taken as well as many hundreds in outlying places such as Warman, Martensville and Delisle.


The world leaders in 1945 /46 had witnessed the destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and knew of the effects of new weapons being tested, usually in the homes of indigenous people. It was the realization of their destructive force and long time consequences that created the impetus for the creation of the United Nations to work for World Peace.


Children, I expect some of you have been told not to play with matches or the fire, perhaps after you nearly caused a fire I expect that now you do not play with matches anymore. Unfortunately the leaders of the USA , Russia, Great Britain, France and China having found out how dangerous nuclear weapons were, did not put them away and get rid of them but started to build more and more and make them better, so that they could kill more people.


In response Ireland led the non nuclear weapon nations to have the United Nations enact the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty of 1970 under which those nations that did not have nuclear weapons agreed not to obtain them and the five nuclear nations, USA, Russia, UK, France and China gave a solemn agreement to end the arms race and move to nuclear weapon disarmament.Despite this Treaty those Five Nations have continued to play with their matches so that by 1986 there were over 70.000 very large nuclear weapons in the world. Up to date they have not lit them but there have been several near accidents.


For many years USA and Russia kept their weapons knowing that their use in war would result in Mutually Assured Destruction commonly referred to as MAD. During this time Israel.India,Pakistan and North Korea built their own atomic weapons. In 1986 after the meeting of Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev of Russia as well as the other nuclear weapon states have reduced their armaments and the numbers have been coming down and now there are ONLY 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world. However, 1,600 of these are capable of being fired at twenty minutes notice if ordered to do so by the Presidents of the USA and Russia. If as few as 100 were fired the dust created would be sufficient to cut out the rays of the sun and so create Nuclear Winter resulting in the death of all living thing within six months with t he possible exception of bacteria. Cold War Red Button Blackberry


The NPT is reviewed by a United Nations Review Committee every five years. At the last meeting in New York in May the Nuclear Weapon states would not agree to change this practice. Furthermore they also could not agree to create a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Mediterranean.


The Nuclear weapon states have made it clear that they will keep and improve their nuclear armament. We therefore rely upon the training of the military personnel in Russia and the USA not to make a mistake in interpretation of the suspicious shadows they see on their monitors. If they do it will lead to ACCIDENTAL NUCLEAR WAR


There is always the risk of terrorist use of some sort of nuclear weapon as there is no agreement how to safely contain the vast amount of nuclear waste that could be the basis for an amateur bomb.

And finally any of our leaders who are prepared to live under MAD, the threat of mutually assured destruction, may under perceived or actual military threat decide to start a nuclear weapon exchange.


When the USA, the most powerful and partially well educated country, can have clowns like Donald Trump running for the Presidency, I personally don’t feel too secure.


The breakdown of the NPT discussions this year means that now the NON Nuclear Weapon States are on their own to create an effective treaty that would ban nuclear weapons for ever. There are already 107 nations that are committed to create such a Convention.


For this to happen the real effort will have to be made by citizens demanding that their leaders support those 107 until the Nuclear Weapon States are isolated and agree not to live with the possibility of blowing ourselves up.


The Abolition of Slavery, Independence for India, Civil Rights in America, the fall of the Berlin Wall and Apartheid in South Africa all came about because the people demanded that it should.


We must start at home. You will be shocked to learn that Canada was a joint mover with the USA and UK of the resolution to deny any progress in nuclear disarmament at the recent NPT conference.

Our young people have shown us the way to work for Peace by working to stop bullying in their schools.


The rest of us must persuade our government or obtain a government so that Canada can once again become a nation working for Peace and not one that pretends it is a significant military power.


When the Hibakusha, Setsoko Thurlow who many of us met here a few years ago spoke to the assembled nations at the recent NPT conference she reminded them of the memorial in the Peace Park in Hiroshima that reads,


”Rest in Peace, this error must not be repeated.”




Written by John Bury

The 2015 five-yearly review conference of the Non Proliferation Treaty

This conference is now over. Under Article 6 of the NPT the nuclear weapons states have an obligation to reduce and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons. This obligation was extended in 1995 at the Review Conference. Since then there has been no reduction in NWs and in fact the NW states have spent fast sums in modifying and improving their weapons under the guise of seeing that they remain safe.

The Review this year took place after three international conferences on the humanitarian effects of NWs ending in a pledge made in Vienna last December now supported by 107 nations and made international Peace organizations as well as the Secretary General of the UN to fill the legal gap in would make the NPT call for prohibition of NWs.

The discussions and debates that took place started with to [1] create a non Nuclear Weapon zone in the Mediterranean, which was opposed by Israel that attends these conferences under the fiction of being a Non-Nuclear Weapons state. [2] to discontinue the practice of “Launch on Warning” that was ruled out by the NW states.

The rest of the Conference was devoted to designing a statement to carry the process onwards. The final draft was not accepted by the Conference as it had been made by the NW states and had no mention of ultimate disarmament but rather suggested that the NPT gave NW states the right to continue to maintain an deploy these weapons of ultimate destruction. This statement was supported by Canada*

This may be seen as a defeat but many nations see that it gives the 107 nations the opportunity to pursue the implementation of the pledge to strengthen the prohibition of NWs.

For any of this to happen we have to have the support of Governments and at thje present time ours is not one of them. Governments will not change unless their people demand that they do. It remains up to us to make our voice heard. We succeeded once when the World Court Project [ the first international campaign based in the internet] mobilized enough strength at the United Nations and in the civil community to get action. Since then social media have multiplied and improved. All we have to do is make people pay attention!

*I believe this is the first time Canada has supported the NE states. In the past they have either opposed or abstained.

– John Bury

Canada at War in Syria – a Roundtable Discussion

This Sunday evening, April 12, at the Unitarian Centre (213 2nd Street East), 7:00 pm We’ve invited our local MPs and candidates in the upcoming election, along with academics who can educate us about the situation, and there will be plenty of time for discussion. This event is sponsored by the Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon along with the Saskatoon Peace Coalition. We hope you can make it.

When the movies go to war and seldom give peace a chance

Presentation at St. Thomas More College

Gerald Schmitz, 20 March 2015

Twelve years ago yesterday was an important anniversary. I was celebrating my mother Denise’s 90th birthday—she’s a still vibrant 102! But returning from her birthday dinner and turning on the television were the images of missiles raining down on Baghdad. The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq had begun with the so-called “shock and awe” campaign.

Here we are in March 2015 and Canada, which resisted being drawn into the 2003 quagmire, is technically at war in Iraq, dropping bombs on forces of the terroristic so-called “Islamic State” which controls significant parts of Iraq, Syria, and potentially Libya as well. Canada no longer has any military involvement in Afghanistan. But it’s hardly mission accomplished. Levels of violence against civilians in Afghanistan increased last year to over 10,500 casualties, the highest since 2009. Going on 14 years, the so-called “global war on terror” has had staggering costs in blood and treasure. On current evidence it has to be judged an enormous failure even if Western governments are loath to admit it.

What does this any of this have to do with the movies? More than you might think. From the beginning Hollywood, with its global cultural influence, has been in love with making war movies celebrating patriotic American virtues. As a form of mass entertainment par excellence, movies have long shaped popular attitudes towards war.   Yes “war is hell”, but being on the victorious right side of history in the world wars helped to make it justifiable. So we have WWII movies like Saving Private Ryan which memorialize an ideal of righteous heroic sacrifice as does Brad Pitt’s Fury released last year. Continue reading

SPC Supports: STOP the crISIS

We would like to invite you to the very important event titled “Stop the CrISIS” on Jan 21st at 6:00 p.m. to be held at the University Of Saskatchewan,

The purpose of the event is to create an awareness and to educate people that we need to work together in tackling and eradicating the growing threat of radicalization in our society.  Canada has witnessed its citizens, who are born and raised in Canada, become radicals and join extremist terrorist groups like ISIS.

This event is part of a nationwide campaign lead by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to educate the youth about radicalization and the dangerous impacts of extremist views in one’s life.


Remembrance Day Speech

By Michael Murphy, November 11th, Louis Loft, University of Saskatchewan

Yes, we will remember and honour them. But we will also remember why WW1 was fought and the appalling suffering and damage that it caused.

I’d like to thank the organizers of today’s event for the opportunity to talk to you, and afterwards to talk with you. I’m going to focus on that war and on its impact on Canada and on Ireland, where I grew up. I’ll wrap up in 10 minutes or so, with a few observations on war and resistance to war.

The Great War: For me the key question is why that war happened. We are usually led to believe that the war happened almost by accident, that Europe more or less drifted into war. I do not accept this. I believe that the war could have been launched just as readily before 1914, or in the decade that followed, by the hard-faced, arrogant men in London, Berlin and Paris. As an astute observer noted in 1914:

“The First World War is being waged for the division of colonies and the robbery of foreign territory; thieves have fallen out.”

And said later:
“The war of 1914-18 was imperialist on both sides; it was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies, and spheres of influence of finance capital.”

In 1914 Britain was the dominant imperial power, with colonies throughout the world. In the words of a poem written to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 1887 Jubilee, and which appeared on a 1892 Canadian stamp, “We hold a vaster empire than has been.” Germany was the up and coming superpower rival to Britain, while France was also a major economic force with colonies and dependencies in Africa and Asia. The United States was the emerging power, with serious ambitions to challenge the global status quo. The USA was, however, initially content to wait in the wings and allow the European powers to exhaust themselves in warfare, and to sell to Britain and France the materials and weapons they needed for the war.

It was the era of colonies. (By the way, in preparing for this presentation I realized for the first time that I have lived almost my entire life in former British colonies – Ireland, Canada, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania). Colonies were a source of wealth to the colonizers who relentlessly exploited the colonies for their natural resources – exotic materials such as ivory, gold, diamonds and even opium, plus more mundane exports such as grain and cotton and furs. The colonies also provided vast tracts of land that came to be “owned” by the aristocracy of the colonizing country, land that could be rented back to the original owners or sold to “middle men”.

Another valuable export from the colonies was manpower. This took the form of slavery, especially in Africa, and the export of slaves to the New World, which continued well into the 19th century. It also took the form of soldiers who were recruited in the colonies both to maintain order in the colonies, and to fight elsewhere in the armies of the colonizer. India, for example, “contributed” a large number of divisions and independent brigades to the European, Mediterranean and the Middle East theatres of war in World War 1. Over one million Indian troops served overseas in WW1, of whom 62,000 died and another 67,000 were wounded.

Now let’s have a look at Ireland and Canada. Ireland was partially under English rule for close to a thousand years and was a fully fledged colony for close to 500 years. In 1914 the vast majority of ordinary Irish people were either rural poor, eking out a subsistence existence on a small piece of rented land, or urban poor, living in slums and if lucky enough to be working, barely getting by on miserable wages.

When war broke out, thousands of Irish men signed up, both loyalists and Irish nationalists. But most joined the forces not for any great love of England but from economic necessity. Over 200,000 Irish served in the Great War, most of them foot soldiers in the trenches. Over 61,000 Irish soldiers and sailors and a small number of Irish women – mainly nurses – died in that war. But recruitment dropped off greatly after the Irish uprising of Easter 1916 and especially after the execution of the leaders of that rebellion against British rule. In 1918 Britain attempted to impose conscription in Ireland but this was widely resisted by the Irish and had to be abandoned.

In 1914 Canada was a British dominion, so when Britain declared war on Germany, Canada was also at war with Germany. Sir Wilfred Laurier, although French-Canadian, spoke for the majority of English-Canadians when he proclaimed: “It is our duty to let Great Britain know and to let the friends and foes of Great Britain know that there is in Canada but one mind and one heart and that all Canadians are behind the Mother Country.”

However, participation in the war was widely resisted in Quebec, as was the Canadian Military Service Act of 1917, which imposed conscription in Quebec and English Canada.

Beginning in 1914, a Canadian Expeditionary Force was organized for the war. 620,000 people were mobilized to serve as soldiers, nurses and chaplains. At the end of the war Canada’s total casualties stood at 67,000 killed and 250,000 wounded, so over a third of those mobilized became casualties.

But to put this carnage in perspective: You are probably familiar with the overall, staggering statistics for World War 1: 8.5 million dead, 7.7 million missing– in effect 16.2 million dead – 21 million wounded. The physical damage done in Europe, especially in Belgium and France, was astounding. A recent film shown by Saskatoon Public Library, called ‘Aftermath’ showed how even today a large crew works year round in France removing the shells and debris of WW1.

Before moving on, I must of course mention one remarkable phenomenon of WW1, and that is the Christmas Truces of 1914 (there were quite a few) and of 1915, when there were fewer due to orders from upper levels of the opposing armies. While these truces are widely recorded, what is not known as extensively is that Pope Benedict XV, on 7 December 1914, had begged for an official truce between the warring governments. He asked “that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang.” This attempt was officially rebuffed.

The Christmas truces were a series of widespread, unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western front. Through the week leading up to Christmas, groups of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day many soldiers from both sides—as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units—crossed into “no man’s land”, where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of soccer with one another.

I have with me a Christmas card produced this year by PeaceQuest, a national Canadian peace group, showing this scene of sanity and humanity. Please see me afterwards if you would like to buy a few.
Now, to wrap up: There are of course many lessons to be drawn from WW1, both from an examination of the causes of that war and from its failure to bring about a lasting peace in Europe – WW2 followed just 21 years later. Before I turn things over to you for your comments, I will suggest one lesson that is referred to by Jackson Browne in his fine song “Lives in the Balance”:

“You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you’ve seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war”:

In Chapter 11 of his excellent book “To End All Wars”, Adam Hochschild describes how one of the first steps taken by the British government following the outbreak of WW1 was to set up a War Propaganda Bureau within the cabinet. Yes, that was the official title of this innovation. Included in that propaganda unit were experienced journalists and some of Britain’s most prominent authors – Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, Arthur Conan Doyle and John Buchan – the latter became Director of Information for the Bureau. Their job, using newspapers, magazines, novels and films, was to sell the war to a public that was constantly fed mistruths about “the enemy” and was shielded from the brutal realities of a war that slaughtered so many people, most of them in the prime of life.

Today we know better than to accept without question what we are told by the media or by our governments. It is our responsibility to oppose war in any form, especially by speaking out for peace in any situation where violence is put forward as a solution. We must speak out in our families, in our churches and schools, and in our communities – in short, to anyone who will listen.

Thank you.