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Writing for Peace

Hundreds of pupils from state schools in Northern Ireland, Wales and England responded to the call for submissions to the Peace Pledge Union’s Writing for Peace Competition.

Pupils were asked to express, in no more than 500 words of prose or poetry, how a Conscientious Objector who refused to kill, or a man or woman opposed to the war, may have felt during the First World War, as they strove to make words of peace as resounding as those that were championing war.

The quality of the entries was very high so it was difficult for the judges, who included a playwright, who has written scripts for Brookside and Coronation Street, to determine the actual winners.

In the event, there were two joint first prize winners, Samira Idmessaoud from Ratton School in Eastbourne, East Sussex and Georgina Melia from Soham Community College in Soham, Cambridgeshire. Third prize went to Holly Thompson from Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg, Llangynwyd, Maesteg, Bridgend.

The three winning pieces, The Scarlet Price, The Toppling Pieces and Protest against the war can be read here, alongside some of the other, shortlisted, submissions.

Each of the winners received a framed certificate, with their achievement celebrated by the schools, when the Peace Pledge Union’s Peace Education Officer attended assemblies to make presentations and to hand over prize money, of up to £500, to the successful schools.



For more information about Writing for Peace contact us here


The Toppling Pieces

Where are they now?-
The children of the military
They’re buried deep in the mud,
Smiles sweet, flecked with blood

With their uniforms hung loose against their frames
And the false cologne of confidence overpowering the fear in their boots.
They’re launched onto the fields like fodder
For the machine guns to graze upon.

The boy to the right goes down, so does the left
The German in front, the Austrian to his right.
In their last breaths they all look at each other with a universal sorrow,
And they then too join the casualties of war.

Casualties of a war far less personal than it seems;
It’s a King’s war and the pawns are falling off the board.
They’re falling down fast on both sides and
Soon there will be no one else for the Kings to use.

The curve of death will soon enter my hands,
And that omen will be in my sights.
I’d rather meet with him willingly,
Than kill until I die.

So what are all really fighting for?
It’s just another man’s war.
On that field, I’ll be there, fighting for peace,
It will be my duty until my decease

Georgina Melia







The Scarlet Price

I want no man’s blood on my hands,
We are the same,
The languages we speak reflect many colours and hues,
But blood is only one colour and that is red,
I want no man’s blood on my hands.

The storm of war beguiles and deceives;
It is hard to fight against what is held to be just and true,
The storm is fierce and holds us all in tight embrace.

Peace is censored, silenced and condemned,
The piper calls and the young are entranced by the echoes of glory,
Oblivious to the scarlet price.

In the roar of war, I do not deny the courage to fight,
But it takes another kind of courage to hold high the hand of peace,
I will join the few that stand aside and lose my freedom.

I want no man’s blood on my hands.

Samira Idmessaoud




  Raton School





Protest against the war

Talking to anyone who’d listen
I’d wander the streets crying
There was no way to help
For too many people were dying.

Most just shrugged me off
ignoring my every word
None of them seemed to care
For a world that needs to be cured.

For too many are gone
It’s like a terrible curse
We need to stop the fighting
Before it gets a lot worse.

Holly Thompson





Writing for Peace




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