Shining a light on peace at the arms fair
Anne MacArthur travelled from Castle Douglas to London to join protests against the world's biggest arms fair, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) at the ExCel Centre.
I travelled to London to join Friends in protesting against the world's biggest arms fair, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) at the ExCel Centre. I found it moving to be sitting in a circle in silent worship in the midst of the noise and activity in the road in front of trucks that were being blocked from entering ExCel. It felt absolutely the right place to be.
As Britain sells arms to countries that use child soldiers and military equipment to countries with poor human rights records, I felt I had to add my voice to the many good people who have been protesting against this Arms Fair for many years. I wanted to be part of the Quaker Witness as I see it as an important way to follow the way of peace that Jesus showed.
I must confess to being a wee bit scared of the London police (I'm used to Scottish policemen who have a kinder reputation!) I felt safer with the Quakers because they are 'peace' people. However my fears were unfounded.
I stayed on to join the silent candlelit vigil organised by Quakers and Pax Christi at ExCel on the evening before the start of the Arms Fair. About 150 of us kept vigil in a circle for an hour as it grew dark. The wind kept blowing out the candles but they were immediately lit again. It made me think that even although so far we haven't been able to Stop the Arms Fair, it's important to shine a candle in the darkness and not let the light go out.