“Are you not guilty of gross hypocrisy, being a pacifist sheltering behind the defence of the British Army?”
No, I don’t think so. I was born here, I live here. I have not been called up, and do not live in the age of mass citizen armies anyway. Military forces are highly trained professionals, not cannon fodder. I could go to the Republic of Ireland, which is neutral and has small forces. It is more hypocritical to call for war without personally paying the price of it.
It is easier to be pacifist now than in 1939, when people were imprisoned for it. Pacifists in the Friends Ambulance Unit took risks on the front lines, to save lives.
Rather, I am sheltering behind the EU, where ties of trade and common interest make war unthinkable, for thousands of miles to the East and South of me. William Penn, a Quaker, first proposed a European Parliament in the 17th century.
Pacifism could be called brave, in supporting unpopular positions. Public opinion is divided on bombing Syria, on which people have strongly held, definite opinions.
For me, pacifism is about how I live my life: though I continually fail to live up to my ideals I grow towards them. And it is who I am, the foundation of my character, my desire for reconciliation and closeness.