British soldier ready to refuse Iraq deployment

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George Solomou (see picture left), a 38-year-old soldier with the British Territorial Army, announced on 19 January 2005 that he will refuse to deploy to Iraq if called up to do so. Prior to his press conference, Solomou, who had completed his military service in Cyprus for the Greek Army before moving to Britain, talked to Peace News:

"I would encourage soldiers not to join up ... [and] those soldiers who have deep reservations about the war to contact Military Families Against the War and we can give you support. legal advice, just someone to talk to. If you're on the sidelines and thinking this [war] is wrong, or you're thinking you want to know more, then get in touch".

Mr Solomou has been attached to the London TA regiment for five years, two years as an infantryman, followed by three in the Royal Army Medical Corps, the latter role one which he says felt more comfortable with as a technical non-combatant. Speaking about his army career in both Cyprus and Britain, he said "I enjoyed being in the army, it is an exciting environment. You get up every morning, you do adventurous things. But the idea that I would have to kill another human being was nagging in my head so [in Britain] I joined the Royal Army Medical Corps."

In an article published in The Independent, George Solomou writes: "I wanted to leave the TA in the public way I have because, although so many solders are against this war, they don't have a rallying point. There has to be someone who is the first to go. After that, there will be another and another and another. They're out there, the soldiers who want to make plain their refusal to part of this illegal war - I know, I've talked to them."

Source: Peace News No 2458, February 2005 (thanks also for the picture) - check out their website soon, as it is hot of the press, and not yet online.

The Independent, 21 January 2005

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