Sunday, 10 November 2013

#RemembranceSunday: There is NOTHING honourable about war!

WW1 was not a time when people gave their lives for our freedoms. It was a time when the ruling classes of many countries slaughtered a generation of men. And in that atrocity the conditions were created that led to WW2. The war was not a war to end all wars it was a war that spawned war. We are currently engaged in wars. We have not learned from our remembrance. We don't call our wars world wars now because they don't involve the civilian population (of our country, not in the countries that receive our troops and our drones.) 

The brave and not brave men and the women and children who also struggled through these atrocities should not be forgotten. And part of that remembrance is the responsibility for us to remember things accurately and in context. 

The wars have never been an abstract thing for me. My father was in the army during WW2 and whilst he had an incredibly lucky war many of his friends did not. He has always talked about it. I am proud that my Grandfather was a conscientious objector in both world wars (luckily his hypocratic oath meant he wasn't imprisoned or murdered for this principled position the way many "free" men were.) And I know many people who have or had grandparents who fought in the Wars. The sympathy and empathy we feel for these people we know is the same we should feel for those who are at war now.

Also our "freedom" is not unconditional nor universal. The men and women who fight our wars don't do so to give future generations freedom. They do it because they are ordered and paid to do it. They do it because they have little or no choice. 

Peace offers freedom and we don't have peace. Some of us, the lucky and privileged ones, have the illusion of peace. The illusions of freedom and choice. But that is not the case either globally or nationally. 

Remember the dead, grieve for them. I can understand donating to the veterans  although since it was the state that harmed them arguably it should be the state that gives them reparations. 

There are principled and reasonable POV's in terms of wearing or not wearing a red or white poppy, donating to or not donating to the poppy appeal, observing or not observing the silence. But patriotism and mythologising are not a part of that. 

Don't use Remembrance Sunday to lie to yourself. Teenagers crying in the dirt, covered in blood and full of fear. That's who those poor people in the trenches were. And all over the world we still have teenagers in the same horrible position. They are there because of the intensions and interests not of themselves but of the people running the wars. 

There is NOTHING honourable about war. 

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