At Christmas during World War I, soldiers spontaneously laid down their arms during the historic Christmas Truce, causing the deadly Western Front to fall suddenly silent. Troops emerged from their freezing trenches, exchanged cigarettes and chocolate, played impromptu soccer games and buried their dead.
It was an extraordinary event—a truce created by soldiers and opposed by generals – and so hostilities soon resumed. By the end of World War, there were over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded; military and civilian casualties totaled over 37 million.
The Great War, the war to end wars, turned out to be only the first world war, ushering in a century of new wars, hot and cold, local and global, colonial and imperial, conducted with the latest and most profitable machinery of death.
We in Veterans For Peace demand government leaders stop this madness of war! We call out to our sisters and brothers in uniform: stand down! drop your weapons; stop the killing in Ukraine, on the West Bank, in Gaza, Israel, Sudan, Haiti and worldwide.
We call upon all governments and civil society groups to support and welcome war resisters who refuse to kill; for governments to grant refugee status and humanitarian entry to them; and for civil society networks to offer them sanctuary and support.