Banners against the Bomb



    Following the Pokhran to Sarnath peace march last year, there have been many ideas tossed up about mass mobilisations against the nuclear bomb. One such is to invite participation and reaffirmation from as many of you as possible for this idea and to link it with the Cloth Banner Campaign, which is outlined below. This would mean that some individuals and or groups would have to take responsibility for co-ordination at the state or district levels. This would also need some nodal person within the organising committee in MIND (Delhi) to plan for a public demonstration and display of the banners, made up of the cloth pieces, as well as public exhibition and display of all local materials collected from around India and in other neighbouring countries, during the November convention of MIND. We would also need to inform and involve friends from outside of this region for their support and solidarity.

    What is the cloth banner campaign?

    a) Use ordinary white cloth. Divide the white cloth into one meter by one meter square pieces.

    b) Write a one-liner main message for peace (‘Bread not bombs’, etc.) with a bold marker in the middle.

    c) Ask people to write their messages for peace (or against nuclear weapons), names, signatures and date around the main message.

    d) If possible, please use bold pens of various colours (some of the pieces of cloth were signed by ballpoint pen and they were not readable) and the messages should be spread out on the piece of cloth.

    e) By August 1, 2000, those pieces of cloth should be stitched together and after every three-four pieces, extra cloth should be added to create space for a bamboo stick.

    Once all the cloth pieces are stitched together, insert 7 feet long (half-inch diameter) bamboo sticks just before the demonstration. These sticks will hold the banner.

    3) Overseas friends can mail the banners to groups in India and Pakistan. If that’s not feasible then they can send e-mail messages and we can paste e-mail printouts on our banners.

    What Do We Do With These Banners?

    I would suggest we should use them as a vote of no confidence against nuclear weapons by the subcontinent’s silent majority. We should organise a huge press publicity campaign to spread the message of these banners across to the decision–makers and warmongers in India and Pakistan. There are two options:

    1) Peace groups in India and Pakistan can march to Wagha border and demonstrate these hundreds of metres long banner with signatures for peace on both sides of the border.

    2) If that’s not a feasible option and people want to consider a more local way to display these signatures, then we can go and symbolically wrap an important government building in each city with these long banners.

    For example, if we get enough signatures in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar to make a banner in each city, we can then walk to the President’s House in Islamabad and the governor’s houses in the respective provinces to mark the day. Indian groups can do the same in their cities.

    Please write your responses to: Lalitha (Lolly) Ramdas, Ramu Farm, LARA, Village Bhaimala, P.O.Kamarle, ALIBAG – 402201, Raigad Dist, Maharashtra, India.

    Archived from Communalism Combat, July 2000. Year 7,  No. 60, Breaking Barriers 3