Open Letter

No Glory in War readings at Siegfried Sassoon House 22 May 2013

Readings at Siegfried Sassoon's house, 22.05.13

siegfried sassoon plaqueOn 22 May 2013, signatories of the No Glory in War open letter met outside the London home of war poet Siegfied Sassoon  to launch a campaign to use the first world war centenary in 2014 to promote peace and international understanding, rather than the nationalistic commemoration "like the Diamond Jubilee celebrations" that David Cameron says he wants.

This video is a recording of the readings at the campaign launch, by Lindsey German, from Stop the War Coalition, actor Janie Dee, author Michael Morpurgo and musician Brian Eno.

The readings were filmed by Roelof Bakker.

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Open Letter: How should we remember the first world war?

2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Far from being a "war to end all wars" or a "victory for democracy", this was a military disaster and a human catastrophe.

We are disturbed, therefore, to hear that David Cameron plans to spend £55,000,000 on "truly national commemorations" to mark this anniversary. Mr. Cameron has quite inappropriately compared these to the "Diamond Jubilee celebrations" and stated that their aim will be to stress our "national spirit".

That they will be run at least in part by former generals and ex-defence secretaries reveals just how misconceived these plans are.

Instead we believe it is important to remember that this was a war that was driven by big powers' competition for influence around the globe, and caused a degree of suffering all too clear in the statistical record of 16 million people dead and 20 million wounded.

In 2014, we and others across the world will be organising cultural, political and educational activities to mark the courage of many involved in the war but also to remember the almost unimaginable devastation caused.

In a time of international tension we call on everyone - including writers, actors, musicians, teachers and campaigners - to join with us to ensure that this anniversary is used to promote peace and international co-operation.

SIGNED BY: Jude Law, Carol Ann Duffy, Alan Rickman, Roger Lloyd Pack, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Flynn MP, Brian Eno, Ken Loach, Vanessa Redgrave, Tony Benn, Simon Callow, many more (full list of original signatories on right)