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Report on the Quaker Vigil
Our press release, published in full on the front page of the Wanganui Chronicle read:
Wanganui Quakers are to hold a silent vigil for peace for 24 hours from 4pm on Tuesday September 10.
"We will be remembering those who died in the United States a year ago, and also those who have died in Afghanistan as a result of retaliatory military action" said local Quaker spokesperson, Peter Watson.
In addition we are remembering those who have died as a result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq following the Gulf War. In particular, we remember the thousands of children who have died and are still dying a preventable death as a result of the shortage of medicine due to the sanctions. "At a time when the drums of war are being beaten loudly, we call for peace with Iraq" the spokesperson said.
"In our 350th year, Quakers say again what we have said many times before; war is not the answer to problems between people, and only creates untold human suffering and other problems." [ends]
The age of our participants was from 2 months to 89!
We made use of some historic placards with individual letters that were made and first used for the Springbok protests in 1981, simply spelling out P E A C E. Those who did respond (tooting, waves, thumbs-up, as well as conversations) were overwhelmingly positive, to a greater degree than I can recall from similar events in the past, and markedly more so than our vigils before the Afghanistan bombing last year. Even in the small hours, we had conversations, including a small group of 7th form students who turned up at 1am with a video camera, and interviewed us in a professional manner as part of a school project.