Press report from our Vigil Last Night.
They were there to honour the fallen, but there were no brass bands, no 100-gun salutes, no nationalism and no xenophobia at the Cenotaph in Dunedin’s Queens Gardens last night.
Instead, the aim of a peace rally 100 years on from the declaration of a war that killed more than nine million people was to honour the dead of World War 1 by making efforts to ensure there are no more wars.
Led by University of Otago foundation chair of peace and conflict studies Prof Kevin Clements, the vigil, which drew about 120 people, left First Church on a candlelit walk to Queens Gardens.
There, Prof Clements called for a full 10 minutes’ silence, before speeches, followed by another three minutes of silent contemplation.
Prof Clements said the world needed to find ”totally different ways” to stop war occurring.
He said despite the call for no more wars, conflict was raging in areas like Gaza, Syria and Libya.
”We haven’t learned our lesson – slaughter generates slaughter.”
I also said that individual human beings all around the world need to stand in silence, need to light candles against the creeping darkness of our inhumanity to each other. That we needed to stand in solidarity with all those who were dying from preventable violence. There is no guarantee that the 21st century will be more peaceful than the 20th. We have to work hard to make it so…