Launch of Marrickville Peace Park

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The Solidarity Choir

The official launch of Richardson’s Lookout – Marrickville Peace Park took place on Sunday November 8. The event attracted around 80 people.

Speakers included John Butcher (GCPC Convenor), Allan Barnes (Marrickville Aboriginal Consultative Committee), Clr Sam Iskandar (Mayor, Marrickville Council), Clr Sylvie Ellsmore (Marrickville Council), Linda Burney MP and Jo Haylen MP.

The Solidarity Choir sang a number of songs during the launch.

John Butcher thanked Marrickville Council for the support it had given to GCPC and local residents in establishing the Peace Park, including the historical signage it had installed in the park on September 18.

One of the most evocative parts of the launch was the poetry reading. The poem ‘Talk in the Dark’ by Denise Levertov was movingly read by Moneisha McKenzie. Following the reading, a commentary on the poet and the fears and dangers engendered by nuclear weapons was presented by Jo Blackman.

In many respects, Denise Levertov’s poem captures the essence of the Peace Park. While various elements of the movement for peace started with a concern for the safety of individuals, the movement’s ultimate goal is the peaceful welfare of humanity. This includes the renouncement of war and the replacement of ‘arm-to-survive’ defence strategies with a commitment to peacemaking and peacekeeping in zones of conflict around the world.

Contrary to both the Coalition’s and Labor Party’s defence policies, a necessary condition of Australia’s future security will depend upon a rejection of the so-called American “nuclear umbrella” and support for the international movement to ban and eliminate all nuclear weapons.

The renouncement of war is not only linked to the ending of the “nuclear umbrella” and the elimination of nuclear weapons. It also involves opposition to the world’s hegemonic power and its declared right to wage war at will under the doctrine called “anticipatory self defence” without any stated limits. For Australia to be a leading advocate for world peace, it must give up being an enthusiastic spear carrier for Pax Americana. It means having an independent foreign policy opposed to all forms of military aggression no matter who is the perpetrator, together with a resolute allegiance to international law.

Refer to Denise Levertov’s poem ‘Talk in the Dark’ below:

We live in history, says one.
We’re flies on the hide of Leviathan, says another.

Either way, says one,
fears and losses.

And among losses, says another,
the special places our own roads were to lead to.

Our deaths, says one.
That’s right, says another,
Now it’s to be a mass death.

Mass graves, says one, are nothing new.
No, says another, but this time there’ll be no graves,
all the dead will lie where they fall.

Except, says one, those that burn to ash.
And are blown in the fiery wind, says another.

How can we live in this fear? Says one.
From day to day, says another.

I still want to see, says one,
where my own road’s going.

I want to live, says another,
but where can I live if the world is gone?

Marickville Peace Park is adjacent to the corner of Holt Crescent and Richards Avenue in South Marrickville.

Notes

More information about Denise Levertov’s poem can be found here.
Photos of the launch can be viewed here.

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