Pics from 18th July, Northwood HQ

av Maja

From Katys blog: At the end of the conference we decided to do an action at Northwood Military Base, the UK’s headquarters for conducting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We marched single file, holding signs of peace, to the base.  As soon as we arrived beneath the sign, we began a liturgy of peace while the security guards closed and locked the grid iron gates to the base.  We prayed for all involved in the conflict, for the conflict to end, and for the forgiveness of our complicit involvement in the violence.  We then read the names of both British soldiers and the Afghan people who have died in the war.  After each name we said presente, meaning present–signifying that the dead are with us.  As we began implementing ashes on each other, a sign that we are repentant for this societal sin, the police arrived.  It was a stark contrast to our peacemaking–the arrival of 4 officers, completely clad in their black, bulletproof vests and with guns.  I nearly wanted to cry just thinking that it had come to this–that we, who came peacefully to protest the killing of innocent lives (both British and Afghan), were being treated as though we were criminal.  The contrast was overwhelming.  Maria talked to them as we sang a hymn of peace.  When we finished the liturgy with the ”Our Father,” one of the officers thanked us for leaving.  Maria replied, ”We aren’t leaving because of you.  We’re merely finished.”