Fictitious: WhatsApp chain letter for ringing bells in Ukraine

Bells are ringing for peace – but not as announced there

A chain letter about an alleged solidarity action for Ukraine is spreading in WhatsApp groups: But that is not the truth. “Today at 8 p.m.” you can’t count on a special ringing – but at a different time.

Bonn – 03.03.2022

There is in the church at present though many prayer calls and solidarity actions with Ukraine – An announcement of the solidarity bell ringing, which is distributed via WhatsApp chain letters, is not correct. At least since Wednesday, messages have been sent via the messenger service in which different versions, but always without a date, state that the church bells would ring “tonight at 8 p.m.”. At this point, the lights should also be turned off to “show Putin that we’d rather sit in the dark than buy his gas and oil.” The action is to take place simultaneously in Europe from London to Kyiv. The message ends with a request to forward it. Also the specialist service specialized in researching false reports and disinformation “Mimikama” was unable to verify the message or identify its origin.

Apart from this message, there are no announcements of the alleged solidarity action. It is not known where the WhatsApp chain letter came from and whether it was incorrectly passed information instead of a free invention. The call for comment on Russian energy policy linked to the message speaks against a church source. Ringing bells as a sign of peace is common, church bell and ringing regulations however, generally exclude ringing bells to express political opinions.

Even if the campaign spread via WhatsApp does not take place, church bells will ring out of solidarity with Ukraine, but not at 8 p.m. in the evening, but on Thursday at 12 p.m. On Wednesday, the European Association of Cathedral Builders, Munster Builders and Hüttenmeister announced a corresponding action. The bells will ring for a total of seven minutes. In Germany, the Essen Cathedral, the Mainz Cathedral and the Würzburg Kiliansdom want to take part in the campaign. “By ringing this bell, we declare our solidarity with the people who have to endure this war and fear for their lives, who have to organize resistance against overwhelming power, who have to flee from the war, who have the courage to fight the warmongers in their country to protest and who live in the countries directly affected by this war,” according to the association. (fxn)

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