Template letter to send to City of Edinburgh Councillors.
Include your name and Address so they know you are a constituent.
I am writing to ask your support for the proposal for a Conscientious Objectors’ Memorial which will come before the Transport and Environment Committee this week.
Britain was the first country to recognise a legal right to conscientious objection to military service. Opposition to war and conscientious objection is a significant part of Scotland’s history, yet is barely recognised in public space, while memorials to those who have died in past wars abound.
There are at least 37 memorials in Edinburgh to those who have fought and died in wars, with eight in Princes St Gardens alone. Yet the fact that tens of thousands of British men and women have refused to kill is largely invisible. By virtue of its proximity to these monuments, a memorial to COs will suggest another way to resolve conflicts than through war.
The Memorial will honour conscientious objectors and the role of those who seek another way, the way of peace, and invite reflection on alternatives to war. It will invite visitors to one of Scotland’s most visited sites to reflect on values of liberty, humanism, tolerance and diversity.
The appearance of the memorial is to coincide with the centenary of the end of the First World War for Conscientious Objectors (who were imprisoned until August 1919). It is fitting that the Memorial should appear now, as the right to conscientious objection is being eroded. Conscription is returning in half a dozen countries and more than fifty armed conflicts are taking place around the world.
The Memorial has significant public support. A competition for the design ensured stakeholders’ involvement in development of the concept. Shortlisted artists met with people with knowledge of conscientious objection, academics and descendants of First World War conscientious objectors.
A website and events will explore the history of conscientious objection, include resources for reflection and set the exploration of conscientious objection in the context of struggles to reduce violence and discrimination at a time when differences in belief are increasingly seen as threats.
I hope you will support this proposal when it comes before the Committee. A full brochure with photos and sketches is available at: www.opposingwar.scot.
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