More bells for peace | Financial Times comment

John Woodhouse ringing at 8.12am on 27 July

Not everyone managed to get to the Millennium Bridge last Friday at 8.12am (just as well), but word is reaching the London Peace Network that a few brave souls rang their door and other bells in solidarity.

Here is musician John Woodhouse, who convenes Westminster Cathedral Inter Faith Group and who is a regular at London Borough Faiths Network meetings.  Go John!

A couple of pieces by Peter Aspden in the Financial Times have mentioned the Olympic Truce:  Missing: that elusive truce (which mentions the glorious Peace Camp) and Childish fun and games (which mentions All The Bells).

The Olympic Truce has undoubtedly suffered from a rock-bottom profile (it doesn’t even get a mention in the London 2012 Official Book).  Most of the peace-building activities we include here at the London Peace Network involve local community groups and are below the radar, but many of them wouldn’t be happening at all were it not for the Olympic Truce.

The International Olympic Truce Centre actively supports peace-making efforts world wide.  We are hoping to meet the team while they are in London.

What do you think?

Is there a role for local communities in peace-building?  Both here in the UK and overseas, they tend to be at the sharp end when it comes to violence.  If so, what?

Or should we leave it to national and world leaders?  Ban Ki-moon said at the Friday Olympic Truce event organised by the Foreign Office that, having visited Srebrenica (which he said was one of the most painful places for a UN Secretary General to visit), he didn’t want a future UN SG to have to visit Syria in 10 years’ time to apologise.

Are there ways to harness the experience and expertise of both?  If so, how?


Ringing bells for the Olympic Truce and giving one of them to Ban Ki-moon

Smiles, laughter, flags flying, a three-minute cacophony of tinkles, dings & dongs, ringtones, bicycle bells, woks, toy bells, silver bells, alarm clocks and egg-timers along with TV cameras, bemused sound engineers and commuters threading their way through (and joining in): we had a great time on the Millennium Bridge yesterday.

Thank you everyone for participating!

The London Evening Standard reported 150 people ringing bells for the Olympic Truce and Millennium Development Goals with the London Peace Network yesterday.  We were part of Martin Creed’s Work No 1197, All The Bells.

Hearing about the event through the Olympic Truce Facebook group (now 11 thousand strong with members across the globe), Kostas Hatzis came over from the Netherlands, wearing his national Greek costume.

Willi Lemke, UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, addressed and encouraged us and Toaha Qureshi MBE read inspiring salutations from the International Olympic Truce Centre.

We are honoured that Dr Constantinos Filis, the Director of the IOTC, has invited supporters of the Olympic Truce to meet him while he is in London.

Afterwards, we wondered if the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, would like a bell that was rung on the Bridge.  This would demonstrate the commitment of Londoners from many different communities to turning the ideal of the Olympic Truce into a living reality.

Geetha Maheshwaran kindly donated one of the bells which she and her son had rung on the bridge and which came from the Shree Ghanapathy Temple.

Watch the film and see what happened.

Did you make the director’s cut (thank you PL Robertson for filming us)?  Do you have your own photos to add?  Send them in.

Messages to London Peace Network

We have received many wonderful and inspiring messages of support today.

We will be sharing  them with everyone who comes to ring All The Bells on the Millennium Bridge this morning.

Dr Constantinos Filis, the Director of the International Olympic Truce Centre in Athens, begins his salutation,

“People of London!  Thank you all for coming here to cheer for Olympic Truce!”

Irfan Wani in New Delhi posted this on our Facebook event page

“I might not be there physically but my inspiration and true feelings will be there for the peace at “a ringing bells for the Olympic Truce and the Millennium Development Goals” as a Prayer for success of establishment on peace and the shape of my bell will be my heart which will ring the bell tone of peace and harmony…Inshahallah…”

Mr George Papandreou, Vice-President of the International Olympic Truce Centre, former Prime Minister of Greece, begins his salutation,

“Supporters of Truce, Supporters of Peace!  It is a great honour for us that you have gathered here today!”

We will post photos and news after the event.

Millennium Bridge on Friday 27 July 8.12am – once in a lifetime

The London Peace Network invites you to a very special event on the Millennium Bridge (across the River Thames between Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral) on Friday 27th July at 8.12am – for three minutes.

The Olympic Truce flag will be flying from the bridge from 7.30am – please aim to arrive before 8am!

It will be fun – and it will also raise awareness about the Olympic Truce, the Millennium Development Goals and all the London Peace Network activities this summer.

We’ll be part of a huge national event, All The Bells, and we will hear the sounds of the big London bells, including Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral, ringing all around us.  A once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The event will be filmed, so that everyone who participates will be able to download the video afterwards. We are reserving places for those who prefer not to be filmed.

Please pass this invitation on to your networks and let us know if you will be joining us – particularly if you are bringing a large group.

The flyer includes several links for further information, but please get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions and to let us know how many people you are bringing.

Don’t miss the torch!

Great ideas for bringing people together when the Torch Relay passes through our neighbourhoods from Rockingham Young People, supported by the Diocese of Southwark, Near Neighbours and Southwark Council.  On Thursday 26th July they will be offering

  • face painting
  • henna hands
  • placard making
  • multifaith pledges

to everyone who comes along!

And join in the football, drums, bouncy castle and much more when the Torch Relay arrives in Hackney this Saturday.  Download the flyer here.

Find out when the Torch Relay is coming to your borough here.   Local leaders resources are available here.

There’s also the Real Relay (no commercial sponsors, proceeds to charity) taking place and arriving in London tomorrow – see the schedule here.

And don’t forget Friday 27th All The Bells event all over London – if you’re not taking part locally, come & join us on the Millennium Bridge at 8.12am – and bring a bell to ring!

All the bells on the Millennium Bridge – for the MDGs – 27th July 08:12

Get down to the Millennium Bridge at 8.12am on 27th July for a once-only event.

In an amazing setting on the River Thames, with the bells of the City on one side and others at Bankside and Tate Modern on the other, we’ll be ringing bells fast and loud with all the others for three minutes.

Bring a bell – any bell

  • bicycle bells
  • hand bells
  • rickshaw bells
  • bear bells
  • mobile ringtones
  • ankle bells
  • baby bells
  • any bells

We’ll be ringing to promote the Millennium Development Goals and the Olympic Truce as the Olympic Games start in London.  Let us know you’re coming.