The White Poppy: Peace Pledge Union raises awareness on Remembrance Day

A group advocating white poppies for peace urge people to remember all victims of war including both civilians and members of the armed forces. 

The group’s aim is to spread awareness of the atrocities of war, urging people and the government to think of alternatives for such conflict.

The organisation was started by the cooperative women’s guild after the First World War and was initially a movement aiming to avoid a Second World War following the tragic number of deaths after 1918.

Sandra, an advocate for peace said: “The white poppy is to remember all killed including children and civilians and of course that is the majority of victims nowadays in modern warfare.

“I think it’s an important thing to remember that war kills indiscriminately.”

Peace Pledge Union (PPU) organisation state: “White poppies symbolise a commitment to peace and to finding non-violent solutions to conflicts. In this way they reassert the original message of remembrance, ‘never again’.”

The organisation campaign each year around Remembrance Day. A recent poll shows that 83% of UK adults believe victims of war of all nationalities should be included in remembrance, whilst 86% believe civilians should be included according to PPU.

Malcom, member of the group, said: “We as a country maintain the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, there are so many more things we could do with our slenderly sources of money.” 

Some of the beliefs from the group include government spending to be focused away from war and conflict and veered towards helping global warming and the aid budget which would in turn help ‘the steps to world peace’. 

They argued that money spent on war and conflict in the past year could have gone towards the help to end the global pandemic of 2020.

Sandra added: “The initial ‘war to end all wars’ was a matter of fact only the start.”

Is the white poppy controversial? 

Despite the white poppy rising in popularity, some people still feel its representation is disrespectful. 

Symon Hill, a campaign manager at PPU, admits the abuse he receives on social media has increased as white poppies become more noticeable. 

“There’s always a lot of criticism, particularly with the high media coverage over the last few years. 

“I’ve had death threats from far-right types and also people who just misunderstand what the poppy represents. 

“Most people don’t get abuse in person though. I’ve never had anything other than a polite question when wearing a poppy outside in my 27 years of doing so.” 

Some people claim the wearing of a white poppy is disrespectful to those who are former soldiers and armed forces personnel. 

However, Hill, who has been wearing a white poppy since the age of 17, feels the criticism is mainly down to a misunderstanding. 

“We’re more than happy to engage in dialogue if people disagree with us. That’s fundamental to our values. 

“If we get questions we respond, if they disagree we have a discussion with them. 

“But if someone just sends us a tweet giving us stupid abuse, there isn’t a lot of point in responding to them.” 

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