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Naming The Dead Of Afghanistan

On 7 October 2008, Voices in the Wilderness and Justice Not Vengeance held a remembrance ceremony opposite Downing Street for the dead of Afghanistan. For seven hours we stood near the Cenotaph, reading the names of British soldiers who had died in the war, and the names of some of the Afghan civilians who have died in the war.

We used a loudhailer, in order to be heard in Downing Street, and a Tibetan bell. Before reading each name we rang the bell once. We read one Afghan name every minute, followed thirty seconds later by the name of a British soldier. We had an hour of name-reading followed by an hour of silent vigil, meaning that we had four hours of naming the dead. (We had a separate space for people to speak to each other.)

Despite the fact that the ceremony was unauthorised (we had notified the police in advance, but not sought their permission to hold the ceremony), and the use of loudhailers in Whitehall is prohibited, no one was arrested, though the police did take one organizer's name and address. An attempted prosecution under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005) collapsed. See here for some photographs of the event.

The Names

If you would like to carry out the ceremony, JNV has created printable lists of names: 219 British soldiers' names (as of 1 October 2009) and all the Afghan civilians' names available from Professor Marc Herold's Afghan Victims' Memorial Project.

British military deaths: rtf Word html

Afghan civilian deaths: rtf Word html

If you use these lists for an event, please do notify us. You may also wish to thank Professor Marc Herold for compiling the Afghan Victims' Memorial site.