Luton International Carnival
Since 2017, the UNA-Luton has joined Luton International Carnival, the largest
one-day street festival in the UK, with a Muslim women's parade for peace.
In 2017, the Carnival took place less than a week after the atrocity at the Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017, and a week before the atrocity at London Bridge on 3 June. The women's parade was greeted with applause throughout the procession, as participants and spectators affirmed their determination that Britain will go about its normal business. The UNA-Luton parade was awarded the trophy for third best newcomer.
The Carnival is a flamboyant affirmation of life and Muslim women are part of mainstream British society. They continue to make a positive impact in the community, and UNA-Luton will continue to be a part of this vibrant event.
UNA Luton Eid Carnival 10 July 2021: Muslim Women for Peace
Although the UK was still in lockdown when the carnival would have taken place in May 2021, Sarah Salim designed some Muslim carnival costumes, based on Moroccan themes, and we held a gathering of Muslim Women at the UK Centre for Carnival Arts in Luton, to deliver a message of peace for the world. The video was issued on 20 July, to mark the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha.
UNA Luton was going
to commemorate VE Day with its annual women's peace march as part of Luton International
Carnival. With the arrival of Covid-19, the Carnival was cancelled, and so instead we sent a message of peace both for VE Day and the Holy Month of Ramadan.
World War II did not end on VE Day. It went on for three more months, to VJ Day on 15 August 1945, and this still did not mean the end of conflict. After the Nazi genocide, Europe again witnessed genocice in Srebrenica in 1995, and fighting has continued in different parts of the world ever since 1945. Even in peacetime there is violence in the lives of many people, especially those families suffering domestic abuse. But VE Day marks a special moment of hope and optimism for the future. In Britain it signalled the start of post-War reconstruction, with such great achievements as the creation of the NHS, the extension of the welfare state and the dismantling of colonialism.
We will need the same spirit to build a better, more humane and greener society when we emerge from the shadow of Covid-19 and the economy springs back into action. We should be inspired by the lessons of VE Day and carry forward into our individual and corporate lives the determination to maintain and extend liberty, equality, freedom, justice and peace.