Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The seeds of change

Nine days ago Quakers in Bakewell held a one hour silent peace vigil by the pedestrian bridge over the river Wye. 

We were remembering Hiroshima, and our placards were a mixture of pacifist slogans such as 'People need bread not bombs' and 'Arms are for hugging.' But we also had broader mottos, such as  'Build bridges not walls' and 'Love trumps hate.' 

We've been holding occasional vigils for some time in Bakewell, and passers-by, mostly tourists, show various reactions. Some avert their eyes and hurry past, some stand a distance away and stare, read the placards and wonder if we're going to chant, or burst into song. Some walk close to us and read every placard and smile. Children are interested and ask their parents what it's all about: some parents explain, some pull their kids away and say nothing. 

This last time, we all agreed it felt different, and this was quite apart from the fact that two children came to join us. We felt a warmth and interest we've never felt before, and I've been wondering why. Was it because everyone is sick to the back teeth of vicious arguments over Brexit? They've seen so many demonstrators on the news, chanting or shouting, some of them trying to intimidate their opponents, and they've heard politicians hurling insults and lying. Whatever the reason for the warm reception of our silent vigil, I came home feeling more positive about the future of this country than I have for  years despite the bitter turmoil we see everyday in the media.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sue-It is edifying to see positive response to peaceful protest. Keep up the work.
YOur protesting friend in the USA,
Donna-AKA Gizzy

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks, Donna. It's nice to hear from you.