A Remembrance Day roundup


I’ve already pretty much given my own take as to what this day means to me, so I’m gonna shut up about me and just point you to some others’ thoughts instead…

TorontoEmerg has a nurse’s take on another nurse’s letter home at war’s end in 1918. November 11 of that year gave us the date not only of the war’s end, but of a day for the remembrance of war’s costs. This letter is particularly sobering as its author has no time to rejoice about peace; she is already nursing the casualties of the “Spanish” influenza epidemic that followed on the heels of the war. A reminder that wars bring famine and pestilence in their wake. And that’s as good a reason as any to work for peace. Be sure to read the last paragraph and take it to heart.

Uruknet, meanwhile, has a stark reminder that war is NOT over, and some don’t want it to be. Of course, they’re not the ones being killed. The extremely asymmetric casualty counts in the Israeli assault on Gaza should give us all a lot of pause. It’s easy for the Israeli soldiers in the video to laugh; they’re not the ones facing the terror of daily bombing. They’re the ones doing it. And they seem to think it’s some fantastically large fucking video game.

A Creative Revolution points out something else interesting: those who want wars most, aren’t the ones fighting them. And their motives have fuck-all to do with freedom. (I’ll just squeak up to add that we thank those who fought for our freedoms the best not by mouthing platitudes once a year, but by exercising those freedoms, daily, and putting the boots to apathy. In this way, we ALL become veteran freedom-fighters.)

Your Heart’s on the Left has some forgotten history that deserves to be remembered: the connection between those who refused to fight imperialist wars, and the democratic revolutions of the immediate post-WWI era. There was a League Against War and Fascism operating during the 1930s, which made an active connection between the causes of freedom and democracy.

Also worth noting: the mealy-mouthed lip service of so-called antifascism during World War II. Those same mushmouths could have saved themselves a much bigger war if they’d supported the democratic, leftist-anarchist-Republican side in Spain, back when it counted. Had they done so, they could have thwarted Hitler and Mussolini before they started gobbling up turf. Instead, they actively criminalized the effort to aid the Spanish democrats, and let the fascists aid Franco unopposed. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade and its Canadian sibling, the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, had to do their recruiting underground. A shameful, much-glossed-over chapter of our North American history.

Kirbycairo has a short, to-the-point bit on why we should all read Frantz Fanon, the great psychiatrist who diagnosed the pathology of the neocolonial mind. The last war fought on Canadian soil was that of 1812; every war we’ve been in since then has been either imperial or neocolonial. It’s time to stop that insanity!

Ms. Magazine has a short but comprehensive piece on the other casualties of war: the homefolks, particularly wives and children of soldiers. Is it any wonder women are at the forefront of the struggle for peace? They have the most to lose, on every front.

And finally, the Wikipedia entry for the white peace poppy offers up some interesting nuggets: “The Royal British Legion has no official opinion on the wearing of white poppies, stating that it ‘is a matter of choice, the Legion doesn’t have a problem whether you wear a red one or a white one, both or none at all’.” Quite the contrast to the Royal Canadian Legion’s harsh anti-peace-poppy stance. But the last line alone is the best: “In 1986 British prime minister Margaret Thatcher expressed her ‘deep distaste’ for the symbol.” Considering that the Milk Snatcher preferred war over negotiations when it came to the Malvinas, that’s no surprise. Talking sensibly would have done nothing for her “Iron Lady” image. She just had to out-macho (and out-fascist) those hateful generals of the Argentine Junta, by gawd, and she did. More meaningless death ensued. And since to be damned by the devil is to be truly blessed, I think that’s all the more reason for me to crave a white peace poppy to wear on this date next year.

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