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Submitted by AWL on Tue, 20/11/2012 - 10:19

The following is a joint statement from members of the History department, who teach and research, at Royal Holloway University respect to the national debate about my decision to decline the invitation to lay a wreath on Remembrance Day.


We, the undersigned, are historians who research and teach history at Royal Holloway, University of London. We are writing to you in response to the debate over ULU Vice-President Daniel Cooper declining an invitation to lay a wreath at the University of London’s remembrance service.

We note that ULU has no policy on Remembrance Day events, and that Mr Cooper was under no formal or professional obligation to personally attend.

We are especially concerned that freedom of expression is undermined by insisting that all must engage in remembrance services as they are currently constituted in Britain. We believe that part of our democratic tradition is respect for acts of conscience and dissent. This includes the right to freedom of expression that is so highly valued by the majority of British people. The attacks being made on Mr Cooper are not in that tradition.

We do not engage in what has become a national media debate lightly and we ask others to exercise thought before using the war dead as justification for intolerance. The signatories to this letter hold a variety of political views, but we are united in our defence of Mr Cooper’s right to express his opinion and for him to follow his conscience.

Professor Humayun Ansari
Dr Sarah Ansari
Dr Akil N. Awan
Dr Bruce Baker
Dr Daniel Beer
Dr Evrim Binbas
Dr Clive Burgess
Professor Sandra Cavallo
Professor Greg Claeys
Dr Charalambos Dendrinos
Dr Marcus Daechsel
Dr Daniel Haines
Professor Jonathan Harris
Dr Jane Hamlett
Dr Zoe Laidlaw
Dr Chi-Kwan Mark
Dr Rudolf Muhs
Professor Francis Robinson
Dr Florian Schui
Dr Graham Smith
Professor Dan Stone
Dr Emmett Sullivan
Dr Weipin Tsai
Dr Anna Whitelock

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