Happy 2019!

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Some officers of a Scottish Division on New Year’s Day (c. 1918)

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’ve been feeling thoughtful…

Round about one hundred years ago, this cheerful bunch of Scotsmen (abovenote the kilts!) would have been celebrating what was probably the last Hogmanay of World War One. They seem to have found what looks like a fairly comfortable billet, and, judging from the bottles at their feet, have undoubtedly indulged in a few beers and a chorus or two of Auld Lang Syne.

A century later, and the world is still fighting. And as this year finally draws to a close, I hope more than ever that we can eventually come to terms with the increasingly glaring truth that monetized hatred, bigotry and violence are slowly destroying us and our planet.

But it is also important to remember that kindness costs nothing. Thoughtfulness costs nothing. We need more of both in 2019, all over the world. We’re not broken – not yet – but we have to take all the chances we can still get as individuals, communities, governments to help rather than hinder peace.

There are lessons to be learned from World War One and its aftermath, as well as from the rise of fascism during the interwar years. We still haven’t learned them, and that needs to change. Going down that road should never be a feasible option again, anywhere.

For me, 2018 can do one, it’s been a particularly brutal year on a personal level all round. However, I hope your New Year is happy, bright and peaceful – and, as ever, I send a huge thank you to you all. I say this every year, but it remains true. I couldn’t do this without my readers.

Happy 2019!

Reclaim Love 2013: Release the Peace

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It’s hard to believe that this year’s Reclaim Love was the tenth of these annual events in London. My first was in 2010, and that seems like a mere five minutes ago… (you can find photos from previous Reclaim Love events here, here and here).

After last year’s downpour, the weather gods were kind to us – and old friends came from near and far to celebrate ten years of bringing peace and love to the streets of London. Here’s a few pics from Saturday’s gathering at Piccadilly Circus…

May all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace…

Reclaim Love 2012

It’s February, which means it’s Reclaim Love time again. With my camera in tow, and despite the pouring rain in London yesterday, I headed off to Piccadilly Circus in order to bring you a taste of this annual pavement party, which is dedicated to bringing real love back to the whole world.

You can see some of my photos from previous Reclaim Love events here and here.

May all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace…

Reclaim Love 2011

Readers with long memories will recall the fun I had at the Reclaim Love pavement party in 2010. You won’t be surprised to hear, then, that I had to return for more hugs, drumming, music and dancing in central London at the eighth of these enjoyable gatherings, held last weekend on a beautiful and surprisingly warm winter’s day. Here’s a few photos of the fun and games:

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Election day at the Democracy Village in Parliament Square

It seemed like exactly the right place to be on election day. Having seen the Democracy Village setting up after the May Day celebrations the previous weekend I was curious to see how far things had progressed, so, with a group of activist friends and my trusty camera, I went to have a look around. Here are some of my favourite pictures of the day….

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Reclaim Love 7, or (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?

“If peace on earth was declared today, what would you have to do to keep it that way?”

On Saturday 13th February, a group of like-minded people gathered under the statue of Eros in London’s Piccadilly Circus to dance and drum and eat and hug and celebrate the idea of universal love and peace (photos below). Reclaim Love, the organisers of this, the seventh of these annual ‘pavement parties’, printed up flyers explaining why it was both important and necessary:

“We have called this gathering in response to the fear and confusion in the World at this time. We have decided to send LOVE and HEALING to all the Beings in all the Worlds in an effort to restore peace and harmony throughout infinity”

Now, I am aware that my approval of all that makes the usual cynical lefty me sound like a sad old hippy who has taken too much LSD in her time (um, actually…) and probably says ‘groovy’ far too often for her own good (guilty as charged), but I like the idea of universal love and peace.

In this damaged world where everything has become a commodity, love and peace have become rare and precious artefacts while so many people are suffering because of hatred and war.

Continue reading “Reclaim Love 7, or (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?”

The Nobel War and Peace Prize

I nearly choked on my coffee when I heard. I checked the date. Nope, it’s not April 1st. Really? Did I misread that? Nope, they really have given the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama. Really?? Once I had finally absorbed this strange bit of information, I sat and thought for a while. It was quite a lot to take in.

I checked the BBC website again, just to make sure. Yes, Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m not imagining things again. Or am I? This isn’t one of trickygirl’s ‘funny turns’, is it? Perhaps I should sit down and have a nice cup of hot sweet tea. That’s good for shock.

In the midst of all this confusion, two small but perfectly formed and highly pertinent thoughts managed to crystalize in my poor old politically-addled brain.

Why?

What for?

I mean, it’s beyond obvious that Obama is a hell of a lot saner, a hell of a lot more sensible, and a hell of a lot more intelligent than the previous resident of the White House, but I had no idea they were giving out Nobel Peace Prizes for simply Not Being George W Bush these days, as destructive as the Shrubby One’s eight-year reign over America clearly was.

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