Moved by faith to stop global arms fair
This week the global arms trade comes to London. At DSEI, arms companies sell weapons of death and destruction, repression and injustice, to military delegations. Thousands of protestors, including hundreds of Quakers, will be there, to stop the arms fair.
The protestors aim to hinder the set up of DSEI which runs from Monday 9 to Thursday 12 September.
One of the world's largest arms fairs, the Defence and Security Equipment International is at the massive ExCeL Centre, in East London. DSEI is organised by a private company called Clarion Events, with the full support of the UK government's Defence and Security Organisation (DSO).
The arms trade thrives in the dark, but when you shine a light on it you can see it for what it is ─ an industry that profits from death.- Hannah Brock Womack
Quakers have formed a community called Roots of Resistance On Tuesday, 3 September, many will be protesting in their town squares; others will be coming from across the country to take part in the No Faith in War day of action outside ExCeL Centre. The full day of action here brings together people moved by their faith to sing, dance, lay wreaths and more. Quakers will hold silent meetings for worship at 9.00am and 2.00pm.
Quakers shared their reasons for resisting the arms fair:
Hannah Brock Womack, a Quaker from Sheffield
"I'm taking part in trying to stop the arms fair because my conscience doesn't allow me to let this deadly event to go unnoticed. The arms trade thrives in the dark, but when you shine a light on it you can see it for what it is ─ an industry that profits from death. I believe that every human life is sacred, and we need to say that loud and clear in this time of political and environmental crisis."
Fred Ashmore, a Quaker from London
"As a Quaker I believe that the making and selling of weapons is deeply wrong. We are called to bear witness against such work."
My faith does not allow me to let this pass unnoticed.- Maya Metheven
Sam Donaldson, a Quaker from Hull
"This is a way for me to act in solidarity with all those suffering and dying across the world as a result of arms deals, and a way for me to embody out in our world something of the peace that I encounter in the silence of our worship."
Maya Metheven, a Quaker from Bradford
"Thousands of people around the world will be killed and maimed by the arms deals that will be happening in London next week. My faith does not allow me to let this pass unnoticed. Quakers have a long history of challenging unjust practices, and the arms trade is one of the biggest injustices in the world today. This is why I am taking action to disrupt the arms fair in London."
Art the Arms Fair is an ambitious art project to coincide with the protest. Some Quakers, in Minehead, Swindon, Cambridge and more have been stirred to stitch tapestries for peace.
A week of action is planned. Follow #StopDSEI and see CAAT
Monday 2 September: Stop Arming Israel
Tuesday 3 September: No Faith in War
Wednesday 4 September: No Nuclear
Thursday 5 September: Conference at the Gates
Friday 6 September: Climate Justice
Saturday 7 September: Festival of Resistance: Issues of local democracy & international solidarity
Sunday 8 September: Borders & Migration
Finally, 6pm Monday 9 September Quakers hold silent meeting for worship at ExCeL