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Poppy hypocrisy

 
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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 06 Nov 2009 8:57    Onderwerp: Poppy hypocrisy Reageer met quote

Poppy hypocrisy

It's that time of year when the wearing of a poppy becomes de rigeur on TV, where any public figure or, indeed private individual not wearing one is subject to questioning, often of an insulting or bullying nature, and where the news media are full of stories of perceived or actual slights to the Poppy.

The British Legion was founded in 1921, following the First World War. That war was a watershed in modern warfare. From a British perspective, it was the first in modern times where so many men were conscripted (without choice). It was also notable for the large numbers killed - many leaving widows and dependent children - and seriously injured, many too seriously to earn a decent living, hence the need for a charity to support the destitute and needy. The Poppy became the symbol of their annual appeal, remembering the poppies that grew in the fields on the Western Front.

The First World War gave rise to a thought - a hope - that it mustn't happen again, it was 'the war to end all wars'. But as we know, the Armistice was only an Armistice, and hostilities resumed within 21 years - barely a generation later. And again, ordinary men (and women) were called up to serve in the army, having little choice unless they were in a reserved occupation (or physically unfit).

Conscription - or National Service - carried on after the Second World War until it was abolished in 1960, and the British Army/Navy /Air Force became volunteer forces. Highly trained, with a professional officer corps and highly skilled tradesmen and women. No one is conscripted into the British Forces, all are there by choice.

The reasons for the two world wars are complex, but I think we all know the 'headline' reasons. The First World War was started by disastrous macho posturing by the men in charge; in the Second World War it was to counter the disastrous effects of the Nazis, who had risen partly (largely?) as a result of the macho posturing in the Treaty of Versailles.

The Poppy Appeal, and the Remembrance Festival, had been set up to remember those who had died so pointlessly in World War I, and was extended to include the dead of World War II - it is often said that they gave their lives so we could be free.

One characteristic that appals me most whenever I read about World War I is the jingoistic fervour whipped up by the British population, egged on in no small way by the media, labelling anyone who didn't wish to fight as a coward or traitor. The reaction to that included poems by writers such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, which I think are pretty much compulsory reading at school.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we have our volunteer forces fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Regardless of the fine point of International Law, it is at best doubtful whether they have any moral right to be there.

In Afghanistan, for example, the war aims are unclear - and seem to alter whenever the wind changes. The civilian deaths and casualties are covered up - how often do you read about them in the broadsheet let alone the tabloid press. Those who take up arms to defend their country - as every good Englishman should do, apparently - against a foreign invader are labelled as 'insurgents', guerrilas or Taliban.

Meanwhile, every year the British Legion, nowadays with a Royal prefix, holds a Festival of Remembrance at the Albert Hall, which is televised. I watch it most years, for reasons that need not detain us now, and each year I am appalled by the lies and propaganda that are peddled. Small children, too young to read Owen and Sassoon, are fed lines about the soldiers (etc) fighting in Iraq/Afghanistan 'to protect our freedoms' or 'so that we can be free'.It is so wrong, wrong that these lies are being put out on national TV, and wrong that children are being brainwashed with inaccurate information.

We have come a long away from the legacy of the First World War, where people vowed never again to be fooled by jingoistic propaganda started by the Press and spread by their unthinking readers.

Most of us have little difficulty in understanding how the Second World War was about fighting for our freedom (even if we may debate the detailed causes and sequence of events).

I simply see no justification for the hysteria being whipped up now, the snide hints that anyone not wearing a poppy is somehow not 'patriotic', or the crazy situation where a shop that enforces its general policy of no charity badges becomes national news. We are forced to accept that the Poppy Appeal is different from any other charity.

And yet, what is it mainly about?

Providing support, probably much needed support - to former volunteer soldiers (etc). If people wish to donate, and display the emblem of giving, that's great. But I can think of no other charity - or their supporters - who are so strident and so insisting that every body joins in.

A far more fitting memorial to those slaughtered and maimed in 1914 -1918 would be to vow never to go to war except in self-defence, never to get caught up in jingoistic bullying.

This is why I shall never again donate money to the British Legion nor shall I ever wear a poppy - if I did wear a poppy nowadays, it would be with shame.

http://gertsamtkunstwerk.typepad.co.uk/weblog/2009/11/poppy-hypocrisy.html



Poe, stevige woorden..
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Woonplaats: westouter

BerichtGeplaatst: 06 Nov 2009 12:39    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Klopt Yvonne. Ik noem het zelfs harde woorden.
En ergens kan ik het begrijpen...
Maar blijkbaar wordt niet altijd begrepen, dat de veiligheid van een bepaald land, kan afhangen van de toestand in een ander land. Mij klinkt hierover de frustratie het luidst; het niet akkoord gaan met de aanpak van een probleem in een ander land.
Toch vind ik dat hij de Poppy appeal misbruikt om hierover een punt te maken.
Deze organisatie heeft, naar mijn inzien, trouw hun doel voor ogen blijven houden; de slachtoffers en nabestaanden helpen. Zonder te oordelen of de slachtoffers politiek of moreel gerechtvaardigd zijn of niet. Met het dragen van een Poppy maak je geen politiek statement, punt.
McRae moest het horen....
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3de Linie, 2de Linie en het 22ste Linie Regiment (27 mei 1913 - 11 november 1919)
http://blog.seniorennet.be/bmb_oeren/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Nov 2009 16:29    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Daarom een ander geluid Schiptje:

Its that time of year again when the inevitable debate arises about the poppy and whether it should be worn in Ireland. The debate is usually led by Kevin Myers who believes that all Irish should wear it proudly to honor the Irish who fell fighting in the British Army during World War One. I'm going to be blunt here. I don't even understand why this is a controversial issue. To me, a historian and a passionately proud Irishman wearing the poppy seems entirely natural. Although it is difficult to be precise the generally accepted figure Of Irish killed in the great war is 49,000. Yet for some reason the Irish people still do not feel comfortable honoring the dead more than 90 years on. Only in recent years have the Irish government officially recognised the 1914-1918 war dead and although this was a positive step there is still a reluctance to do something as simple as wearing a poppy. This Armistice Day, no member of the political establishment will wear a poppy.

Conventional thinking on the matter is that it is wrong to honor the men who fought for a country that Ireland would later be at war with. Furthermore the poppy is a British symbol and no Irish politician would risk such an unnecessary self inflicted wound by wearing it. First things first, the Irish state did not even exist during the great war years so I don't see how anyone can be accused of betraying it. In fact opponents of the poppy conveniently ignore that many prominent Irish leaders of the war of Independence including hard liners like Tom Barry had served in the British Army during the war. Is anyone going to argue that Tom Barry was a traitor. But this isn't even the issue. I don't care who they fought with or why. The poppy is merely a symbol of remembrance. 49,000 dead is a massive number. Nothing in our modern history compares. Not to trivialise these events but if you add the number of fatalities from the 1916 rising, the war of Independence and the Civil War the combined total killed is about 7000. Those killed in the political violence of 1916-1923 which resulted in an independent state are rightly remembered and honored. Yet the 49,000 killed barely get a mention.

I am a sentimental type. I have read many books on the Irish that have fought in foreign wars and often get a lump in my throat when reading about young men who left their native land to go to war. The reality is that in most cases they only did so for an adventure and a change of scene. Sometimes they got it, sometimes they did not. In the great war they were killed in droves at the Somme, Verdun, Ypres, Galipolli and Mesopotamia. Refuing to remember them because it doesn't sit well with a nations interpretation of its history stinks of ignorance and a lack of confidence. Its just a flower. 49,000 Irish people died. Just wear it !

http://gubu-world.blogspot.com/2009/10/whats-big-deal-just-wear-poppy.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Nov 2009 18:36    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Yep. Dat is wat ik bedoelde.
Ook hij raakt de enge grens...
Maar vormt naar mijn idee, een mooi besluit.
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Mijn grootvader Sergeant-Majoor Ryckeboer Richard (1895-1981).
3de Linie, 2de Linie en het 22ste Linie Regiment (27 mei 1913 - 11 november 1919)
http://blog.seniorennet.be/bmb_oeren/
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