Here we go again ‘wear your poppy with pride, remember, lest we forget’ and other such jingoistic entreaties. Out trot the masses to chuck a few coins in a tin, pin on the poppy replica and walk away thinking ‘I’ve done my bit’ when actually they are just another sheep running with the flock. The Remembrance Sunday do in London will be carried out with all solemnity and pageantry choreographed to perfection as it is every year and few will notice that it represents in microcosm the conducts of the wars they pretend to remember. The massed ranks of military personnel, past and present (& don’t miss the Chelsea Pensioners,”Arh bless ’em” brought in for a bit of colour and to tug at the patriotic heartstrings) who will stand for hours, perform their attentions and marching on cue whether they are freezing cold or soaking wet before finally getting get a mug of hot tea and making their journey back in the following hours. Meanwhile the royals, the politicians, the military top brass will arrive just in time to perform their wreath laying with sad solemn faces before walking stiffly away to their clubs, offices, pubs, for a double Scotch and a warm up to discuss the Sunday papers or, in the case of the royals to wave briefly at the adoring crowds from a balcony at Buckingham Palace.
So it is with all wars, rich men sending young men out to die protecting their wealth.
If we’re going to remember let us remember what we know from history, not the myth of our lads going bravely over the top for king and country but that the choice they had was go over when the whistle blew to take a chance on survival or the certainty that if they didn’t obey their own officers would shoot them there and then or have them taken away for a perfunctory court martial and shot at dawn by their mates who, if they didn’t, would be shot themselves. I would argue the really brave ones were those said they will not kill, the conscientious objectors, who suffered terribly for their stand. Let us recall too that the UK, France and the USA following the end of WW1 stole the resources of Germany, the iron, steel and coal leaving the German people destitute and starving that soon paved the way for the rise of Hitler, Nazism and WW2.
Coming more up to date let us remember the war against Iraq to seize back control of the oil fields to feed the greed of the richest in the West. Let us remember the war in Afghanistan yet another war for greed and a natural gas pipeline running from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and so bypassing Russia. Can’t have a pipeline that the Taliban would be likely to blow up!
Let us also be aware that we are one of the evil nations of the World that supply weapons for others to kill millions just for the rich man’s profit.
Whenever there is a war there is no problem finding Billions of Pounds to fight it, there is no problem finding Billions to prepare for the next war, because there always is one, war is profitable, so there should be no problem in finding the money to care for those who are damaged in fighting those wars. The only problem is that the rich men, the faceless corporations who benefit, want the people to fight for them, to die for them on the cheap.
I remember but I don’t wear that damned poppy.