(Reposted from: Independent Catholic News. October 18, 2018)
War School, a provocative film launched this week, is set to challenge the British government’s attempt to entice children into support for war.
Timed to coincide with the centenary of the end of World War I, War School tells the story of another battle. This one for the hearts and minds of Britain’s children in an increasingly militarised society.
On the streets, on television, online, at sports events, in schools, advertising and in fashion, the military presence in UK’s civilian life is increasing daily. Public concern is growing too. War School records the efforts of Quakers in Britain, ForcesWatch and Veterans for Peace UK to challenge the government about militarism, particularly in classrooms.
This documentary feature by Mic Dixon uses archive, observation and veterans’ testimony from Britain’s century of conflict. It unpacks the government strategy to target the education system and to promote public support for its war machine.
Ellis Brooks works on peace education for Quakers in Britain. He says: “One hundred years after the end of WWI, Quakers are inspiring a new generation not only to prevent war, but to build peace.
“World War I was hailed ‘the war to end all wars’. Yet war has not stopped. Death and destruction continue to ravage war-torn communities, and Britain’s foreign policy and arms industry is part of that picture. For war to proceed the government needs ongoing public support. One way to get that support is to saturate the public space with militarism without any exploration of the morality of danger of war.”
While the government promotes military values to the public, Quakers work through peace education to ensure young people are equipped with the facts and critical thinking skills to evaluate for themselves what will make the world safer.
There are preview screenings around the country, including Oxford, central London, Chelmsford, Leicester, North and South Wales. The list is growing. The first screening and panel discussion is in London at 6.30pm on Friday 19 October, in Friends House, central office of Quakers in Britain (opposite Euston Station).