160 miles in I come to Cundall and Norton-le-Clay. These two villages, less than two miles apart, are two of just 24 villages in Britain to be known as ‘Thankful Villages’ meaning that all their men and women came home safely from World War One.
In this, the centenary of the Great War, it seems all the more poignant that I should include as many thankful villages in my route as possible. Especially since my opinion of war has changed so much over the last few years.
Before I was arrested the idea was actually to join the army. Soon after coming to prison I lost all faith in the military machine as I watched troops march into Iraq. When I saw retaliatory attacks reach our shores my fears were confirmed and I began to see armies and soldiers less as peacekeepers and more as the obstacles to true peace that they are. The hypocrisy of it all struck me hard when our intervention in Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Palestine was so biased towards Government interests rather than humanitarian ones. And today, as we mark the one hundred years anniversary of the start of World War One, I wonder if there has ever been a war fought on truly just grounds. Let us be thankful for those who survived and lament the humanity that died with those we lost.