The Penarth Christian Campaign Against Arms Trade group held a prayer vigil outside the BAE Systems Weapons Factory at Glascoed to remember the children that have been killed by weapons and war. It was a moving and important event and Christians came from Bristol, South and West Wales to take part in it.
The vigil began with the reading of a powerful and fitting statement that was made by Pope Francis:
‘To be human means to care for one another. But when harmony is broken a metamorphosis occurs, the person who is to be cared for and loved becomes an adversary to fight, to kill. We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves. Violence and war are the language of death’.
Some of our prayers were for the victims of war, most of whom are civilians, many of them children. Others were for those who take the military and political decisions to wage war; those who benefit economically from the production and sale of weapons; and those who use them.
The Glascoed factory fills shell canisters with explosives and dispatches them to the many oppressive regimes with which BAE Systems has contracts. BAE Systems sells weapons to anyone who will pay for them and the reason they are able to do so is because of the support they enjoy from a government that is supposed to represent us and stand up for human rights.
The vigil took place outside the perimeter fence, and could hardly have been more different from what was happening inside the weapons factory. Despite the horrors of the weapons BAE was producing, activists were treated to a beautiful Spring day that lit up the grasses and trees as bird song was filling the air.
The most moving moment of the vigil came when the flowers that had been brought in memory of the children, women and men who have been killed or injured by weapons were placed in the fence around the Pax Christi PEACE Banner.