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Rochdale and Oldham

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ROAR attend International Peace Day celebrations

peace group

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Many local progressive councils have linked this to the creation of a climate emergency.

Rochdale Council showcased this event in front of their amazing gothic designed town hall.

Aysha Bibi (Education, Training and Employment Advisor), Ruth Murphy (Recovery Coordinator) Julian Cohen (Community Development Worker) attended the event to witness the great passion and energy that those involved had put into the event. Bells, whistles, tambourines and small drums were handed out to enhance the atmosphere whilst the flag of peace was being raised.

aysha Julian and ruth picture

This year’s Peace Day, the theme for which was “The Right to Peace”, celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.”

Rochdale Mayor Mohammed Zaman quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. He went on: “Today we are giving our message to the whole world that Peace is the only way forward.”

aysha julian and the mayor

Before the flag was raised, Steve Cooke said: “From 2006 to 2010 as Peace Parade UK, John Katsoulieri, formerly known as Farrington, and myself were instrumental in marking the United Nations International Day of Peace in Rochdale. As you know we recently lost John and all that he still had to give. It’s fitting that we’re here to mark UN Peace Day 2018, a cause for which John gave much of his considerable energy and talent.”

“The UN Secretary General António Guterres says, ‘It is time for all nations and all people to live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognises the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race.’ A peaceful society is one where there is justice and equality for everyone.”

“John firmly believed we can all be part of the solution by taking small steps. For example, by preventing an injustice in school, in the workplace or in our communities. By adopting a non-violent approach to all our problem solving and by reporting potential crimes, including online bullying and making sure that together as a community we support each other by creating a more peaceful world from within. As John showed we can all be leaders in creating a peaceful world and recognising that we are all ‘Human First’.”


The Peace Flag was raised to a round of applause. Hot drinks and Danish pastries were served in the Town Hall after the flag was raised. Slides of images from the Peace Parades were shown while people networked and enjoyed the refreshments which had been provided by Steve Cooke.

The Mayor had invited people to write down their own messages of Peace, which they readily did.
A few examples:
“Peace begins with each one of us”
“Peace is present in all our hearts, don’t let this world tear it apart”
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of love”
“We are all of one kind. Humankind. We all need Peace in our lives, now and for all.”

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