Eleven Eleven

To the nameless millions who lie in mass graves,
From the forest of Katyn to the killing fields of Cambodia,
From Treblinka to Shatila:
We will remember you.

To the prisoners of conscience caged for their beliefs,
The peace protestors shot by their own side
The secretly imprisoned and the illegally tortured:
We will remember you.

To the desperate refugees fleeing persecution,
Tutsi and Hutu,
Rohingya and Yazidi:
We will remember you.

To the ones who didn’t choose to die for their country
To Jane Doe and Seamus McEnroe,
From the Twin Towers to the Twin Rivers:
We will remember you.

To the innocent bystanders, the collateral damage,
From the ghetto to Aleppo,
From Sana’a to Raqqa:
We will remember you.

To the guests struck by drones on their way to the wedding,
The shoppers shot by snipers in the market square,
To the children killed by landmines as they played in the street:
We will remember you.

To the lions led by donkeys,
Tommy Atkins and GI Joe.
To the unknown sailors, air men and women, 
Brown, black and white:
We will remember you.

From the flowers of the forest
To the fallen men of Flanders field,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning:
We will remember you.

It’s 6 years since I became the first humanist to participate in an official government Remembrance Day service and this is the poem I wrote at the time. The tragedy is that it is even more relevant now than ever and that’s why I now wear a white poppy rather than a red one.

As the writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah says, “I love wearing my white poppy… We have to remember all victims of war, not just the select few. And we have to work towards a world where there is no war.”

I’ll be speaking at the at ‘United Against Hate’ event organised by Edinburgh Interfaith at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral on Palmerston Place on Monday evening – if you want to come you can get a (free) ticket here ticketsource.co.uk/edinburgh-interfaith-association

And I’ll be doing the same twice on Tuesday; the first event will be at Fettes College, so unless you’ve got kids there, it’s not for you, but you might want to come along to their Interfaith Celebration Week event at Edinburgh College at 5.30 pm, where there will be vegan chilli – as if you needed encouragement… You can get free tickets for that one here https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=bflz3qGOgEumolFlv9SU21rl-TEZGGZGlYPnidh73X9UM1NXNVBFV04zUDc0Wk1KTzdMNkVJR1RUMi4u&fbclid=IwAR126HHEJrUKsW2ZccU-dv4_soydtOY3T3hVwGwsZqX66VcDeAjTGhWC9ck

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