Friday, April 23, 2010

Seeing Red Over White Poppies

Wall of RemembranceA Wellington peace group is facing incoming fire over pushing in on the RSA's red poppy appeal.
Peace Movement Aotearoa (PMA) sold white poppies last Thursday – the day immediately before the RSA Poppy Day (which was today)! Organiser Edwina Hughes says white poppies have a long history promoting peace and believes the two appeals can easily co-exist. Money raised by the white poppy appeal goes towards local peace scholarships, whereas red poppy revenue supports RSA welfare work for elderly veterans.
James Austin, CEO of the Fundraising Institute of NZ: "There are few things more sacred to New Zealanders than ANZAC Day and RSA members who represent those who've served our country. They deserve respect and space to arrange their own street appeal to support veterans and their families without potential conflict. A white poppy appeal the day before the red poppy appeal is confrontational." He says it’s intolerable that an organisation not registered with the Charities Commission can collect funds from the public in direct competition with a registered charity like the RSA.
Atomic cloud rising over Hiroshima, August 6, 1945Veterans' Affairs Minister Judith Collins criticised PMA for lacking respect for war veterans and trying to profit off the RSA appeal, saying they clearly pulled a stunt and should find another date for their appeal.
I personally feel it's far more appropriate to hold it on Hiroshima Day (August 6th.). Until 2008, this is exactly what they did, but deliberately moved it last year to coincide with Poppy Day. Selling white poppies on Hiroshima Day would both highlight the nuclear misery and be a more poignant association for PMA, however coinciding with the RSA's main fundraiser is nothing but cynical piggybacking.
PS: 24 April 2010 - Today's NZ Herald editorial sums things up well.

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