The Royal Mint has chosen to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war with a £2 coin featuring Horatio Kitchener (the Secretary for War in 1914) and his recruiting slogan "Your country needs you".
The coin does nothing to commeorate the millions of people who died in the war, or the millions more who were wounded, traumatised, displaced, impoverished, imprisoned or bereaved. Instead, the coin glorifies war by featuring the message of Kitchener, who as both a general and a politician played a key role in policies that contributed to a senseless waste of life. Kitchener was complicit in atrocities in Sudan and South Africa prior to world war one, including the Omdurman massacre of 1898.
The coin has already been criticised by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (England). Other groups, both religious and secular, are likely to add their voices soon.
We can mark the 100th anniversary of the first world war by remembering the dead and working to prevent war. We call on the Royal Mint to withdraw this coin design and replace it with one that truly commemorates those who died and suffered in the first world war.
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