Earlier this month Hastings witnessed the centenary of the armistice that ended the First World War, but, as noted in last issue’s Community section, we don’t seem to have taken the message of universal peace and prosperity to heart.

Remembrance activities generally remain absorbed in unthinking tradition and, if they don’t glorify military service, they certainly honour the loyalty of soldiers to a cause. What cause that is, we don’t really know. What we do know, however, is that it involves dead young boys and “God Save the Queen”. I still wonder what those lyrics are supposed to mean…God save the leader from damnation for their crimes? Maybe they get an automatic pardon from St Peter for being appointed by the divine.

Anyway, Hastings Against War is a local group committed to showing the human cost of war. They joined Hastings’ Remembrance proceedings to commemorate the deaths of all involved in war: fighters on any side, military personnel and civilians. They noted in an article for Hastings Online Times that their “white poppy wreath has been treated with respect by those conducting the formal ceremony on Remembrance Sunday and remains on show with the wreaths of red poppies.” While the red can sometimes be confused with themes of laudable sacrifice, the white poppy is unashamed in its commitment to the end of conflict. Not only does it remember the past: it makes a commitment to a better future.

A better future isn’t achieved with white poppies alone though. Plenty of people in our town are taking on the broader tasks: social and economic development; the protection of basic rights; guaranteeing a viable food source to those on low incomes; giving advice and aid to the homeless. Transition Town Hastings, Jericho Road, and Hastings Quakers, Education Futures Trust are just a few examples of local organisations working towards co-operation and happier co-existence. These are the people trying to curate a better future for us all, and so they deserve a spotlight.

Therefore, HIP’s online Community section is now setting up an information page on local action groups, to update you with the latest of their brilliant activities. We will also cover local charities and community centres. The set up should be completed by the middle of December, helping to give you some decent reading for the festive season, and find worthy causes for your free time. 

From now on it’ll be remembrance but also active efforts to make memorable things happen, in a good way, all year round.

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