Over 100 people from all walks of life came together in Manchester on Thursday of last week to mark the seventh anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan.
Each person taking part wrote down the names of ten people killed in the Afghanistan war.
These names were added to a display in Manchester’s Market Street commemorating the deaths of Afghan people, as well as those of British and US soldiers killed in the war.
“When I wrote out ten names I just cracked up and burst into tears,” said Simon from Chorlton, south Manchester.
“On my list were four children from one family who were all killed.
“I have four children of my own. It just came home to me – the casualties are real people.”
Lily Walker from Tameside, whose son has just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, met other military families to help with the naming.
“We want an end to this war,” she said. “The sooner our boys are back home safe, the better.”
Labour councillor Afsal Khan, one of Manchester’s leading anti-racist campaigners, visited the display. Representatives of the local Green Party also lent their support.
People from churches and mosques, offices and homes, from trade unions and political parties all helped with the naming.
Four churches in Chorlton took part in a special evening of remembrance. In Salford, officers from the Unison union met to write out names.
Ray Walker, branch secretary of Salford City Unison, said, “We call on Gordon Brown and on the US president-elect Barack Obama to bring an end to seven years of failed military policies that have cost hundreds of billions of pounds and tens of thousands of human lives.”
Nahella Ashraf, chair of Manchester Stop the War, said, “We speak for the majority of people in this country when we say we want no more deaths in Afghanistan. Bring the troops home now.”
Vigils were held across Britain to mark the seventh anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Some 80 students from the University of Essex held a flash protest which highlighted how the Afghanistan war was spreading into Pakistan.
They also campaigned against the continuing military threats against Iran.
In York around 20 people held a lively vigil. Chris Fuller from York Against the War said, “We unfurled a huge banner and gave out hundreds of leaflets.
“We also continuously read out the names of victims of the war – both Afghans and British.”
Other protests took place in Milton Keynes and in the London boroughs of Lewisham, Hackney and Haringey.
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There was a sense of solidarity and hope