Jeremy Corbyn reads anti-war poem at Islington Remembrance ceremony
- Credit: PA
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn recited an anti-war poem at an Islington memorial to the war dead on Remembrance Sunday.
The Islington North MP and life-long pacifist read Futility, a poem by the First World War poet and soldier Wilfred Owen, which is about a fallen soldier, before laying a wreath in remembrance of soldiers who have died for their country. Fewer than 50 people – many of them journalists - listened to him in silence as he stood in front of the War Memorial Arch in Royal Northern Gardens, Holloway, on Sunday.
In the past, the MP has questioned the commemoration of the First World War. On Sunday, however, he was wearing a red poppy rather than the white one that has been adopted by pacifists.
Addressing the small gathering in Manor Gardens, Mr Corbyn said: “Let us mourn all those who have fallen, but genuinely resolve to build a world of peace. The world is not at peace. The world is insecure; there are dangers, there are threats and there are sadly millions of people who are displaced and desperately seeking refuge.
“Some of our services are doing a fantastic job dealing with the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and helping migrants in the Mediterranean to survive. We have to reach out the hand of friendship and humanity to bring about that world of peace. That is what this community did when it built that war memorial.”
You may also want to watch:
Speaking about his choice of poem before the reading, Mr Corbyn added: “Much of war is encompassed in the memory of the description of poets who vividly see things because they are going through that trauma.”
Earlier on Sunday, the Labour leader laid a wreath at the Cenotaph ceremony in Whitehall. Afterwards, he faced criticism for being the only politician who did not bow when he laid a poppy wreath.
- 1 'Extreme' noise complaint as 150 gather for Islington party
- 2 Statue of Philip Noel-Baker replaced in Islington after 35 years
- 3 Meet the owner of the Camden Passage shop window where nothing is for sale
- 4 What do smoking and People Friendly Streets have in common?
- 5 New Lidl to open in Finsbury Park's Arts Building next week
- 6 Islington and Camden police chief to leave Met after 29 years
- 7 Two Tube lines closed after 10pm as TfL staff isolate due to Covid
- 8 Elderly woman robbed of precious watch in daylight Finsbury Park incident
- 9 Almost 5,000 Islington people pinged by Covid app in one week
- 10 'We can do better': Islington Society calls for rethink on Barnard Park plans
Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds,—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved—still warm—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?
Wilfred Owen, 1918