Today is Remembrance Sunday, the day we remember the soldiers who died for their country in the many wars that have been fought. In the case of the Second World War there is no doubt that the soldiers were genuinely fighting for our freedom and against a dangerous enemy with a disgusting ideology that threatened all of Europe and devastated much of it and killed so many. As for the other wars, well I’m not so sure. This in no way is meant to disrespect the brave soldiers who fought and died in these wars and who rightly deserve to be honoured, just criticism of the politicians who started these wars. What I hate most about Remembrance Sunday is how politicised it is, particularly now with the Iraq war still raging. I can’t describe this any better than Quarsan over at Blairwatch who summed up my feelings perfectly:
On Sunday, wearing his ‘special serious statesman face’ Tony Blair will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph. The man who sent soldiers out to die for a tissue of lies, the man who has never attended a funeral of a soldier killed by following his orders, the man who has never visited the wounded, the maimed, the disfigured.
The man who just can’t face seeing the consequences of his actions, his errors. The man who doesn’t want us to remember.
I can think of nothing more sickening, more offensive to the dead.
Nearly a century after The First World War the brutality, the lies, the greed, the imperialism and the racism continues only with even more sophisticated means. The utter hypocrisy of Blair pretending to honour those who gave their lives for our freedoms when he is removing those very freedoms as fast as he can beggars belief.
Over the last week there was the annual discussion of the wearing of poppies particularly for news presenters and politicians who are obliged to wear them when they go on air. One presenter, Jon Snow of Channel 4 news refused to succumb to “poppy fascism” as he called it. You can read his reasons here. Others happily wore their poppies.
There was also a debate about white poppies and red poppies. The point I’m trying to get to is this, if all these brave people fought and died to defend our freedom, surely we have the freedom to wear white poppies, red poppies or no poppies at all without all this fuss. The argument that the money raised from red poppies goes to a good cause (looking after veterans) is all very well, but if the nation is so grateful to these heroes, then they shouldn’t have to rely on a charity financed by the selling of paper flowers once a year.