Sunday, 8 November 2015

Lest, We Forgot

With today being Remembrance Sunday, it is the right time to ponder on what Remembrance Day was originally intended for, to reflect upon the madness and futility of war and remember the dead from all sides, both military and civilian.
Over time, as we have become embroiled in conflicts that our leaders have found hard to justify, the sacrifices of the past have been used not to deter us from war, but to lend legitimacy to new wars, using the image of the fallen to encourage new recruits to their armies and to try and silence dissenters by lionising the young men and women who will be sent to fight and possibly die on foreign battlefields.
This serves the interests of those who, for political reasons, want to encourage our involvement in foreign wars by tossing out the usual cliches such as 'defending our freedom' and 'keeping us safe'.
It's been 70 years since we fought a war which had anything to do with defending our freedom, our freedom or safety was not at stake in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya or Kosovo and nobody can argue otherwise, although the politicians and useful idiots did at the time.
Given the dubious and dangerous nature of the West's (mainly Britain and America's) foreign policy, the best thing we could do to help our military is by not disengaging our brains whenever the government tells us we have to invade a country who are not threatening us, preventing the sad and pathetic scenes of young men and women in flag draped coffins being repatriated. 
By automatically labelling anyone who puts on a uniform and holds a gun as a hero serves to promote worship of soldiers and glorifies and feeds the fantasy that military service is honourable and those that engage in it are unquestionably heroes.
If the requirement for heroism was to grab a weapon and fight a war then the term could be applied to the Islamic State fighters or the Taliban, even Hitlers troops would fall under the category of 'heroes'.
Far be it the Western soldiers being in danger, it is the unarmed civilians who are most at risk, the military are trained for war and are heavily protected while civilians have to do whatever they can to survive while the military with advanced weaponry and in recent cases of drone attacks are thousands of miles away, destroy all around them.
Heroes are people who bring around change against all odds, those who refuse to be browbeaten or forced away from their ideals, those who have helped change the consciousness of thinking on topics such as racism, homophobia, women's rights, slavery and tyranny and did so at at great personal risk.
For the past 70 years our soldiers have not been defending their land or their homes, they have been defending Western ‘interests' as defined by their Governments who hold the power to decide whether to send other people's sons, husbands, wives and daughters to kill and die.
All the talk of these men and women being 'heroes' just obscures the fact that the soldiers are just pawns in political games and perpetuates the cycle of death and destruction and clears the way for the next war.
'Lest we forget' may be the oft spoken slogan at ceremonies to remember the fallen but the message has changed far too much from the original meaning to make Remembrance Day just another attempt to try and sway the public into supporting the recent and future wars our politicians decide on and i don't want to be any part of that.

2 comments:

Keep Life Simple said...

Well stated. I don't usually like your approach on this topic but you did a perfect job this time questioning the role of government, noting the people willing to challenge society which is tough, yet not trashing what the troops have put at risk.

Falling on a bruise said...

You surprise me, i didn't think you would.