Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Remembering the futility of war.

No one in their right mind ever wants to go to war. However, the problem is that there are governments in power that see war as an inevitable outcome when their popularity with the public fades away. As the conservatives lose political point in the polls, they seek to get deeper embroiled in the Syrian conflict. War seems to bind the country together and opposition takes a step back. Thatcher and what became known as the "Falklands Factor" being a point in question. Before the invasion of the Falklands, Thatcher was the least popular prime minister in polling history. History was to repeat itself later with the so-called "Baghdad Bounce" during Tony Blair's premiership and the whole dodgy dossier fiasco. A million people marched to protest against the war and were ignored by the government.

I have never wanted to be in the armed services, I have never aspired to that sort of "Vocation", because that's how the armed services are sold to the young people as a job. Sold on a feeling of excitement. However, there is no mention of the reality of killing or being killed. Certainly nothing about the taboo subject of being maimed and certainly nothing about being dependant on state benefits when your service is no longer required. 
I do have members of my family who I never knew, that paid the the high price of war.
Increasingly more and more I find the act of remembrance has changed from a simple act that I remember as a kid. When we would all come to a standstill, wherever we were and observe a moments silence. When I became aware, I asked my mother why we did it. Being a child, her explanation only brought forth many other questions. She tried very hard to provide an explanation to my questions that would fulfil my curiosity. But it was a painful time for her as she had brothers that paid the price.

Later I read many accounts of WW2 fighter pilots, which had fascinated me as a natural follow on from "Biggles". I read much about the war conducted at sea and watched post war documentaries like "War in the air" and "The world at war". We were never taught anything of war in school. History lessons always seemed to revolve around memorising various kings and queens. Conflicts were touched upon in an almost matter of fact way - such as conflicts that marked a period in time, such as the English Civil War. No one talked about either the first or second world war. There was no detail and scant reference to what were the two biggest conflicts in recent history. It was as if it was too close in time and should be kept a dark secret. I learned much later in life, that the old saying - history is written by the victor - is very true.
But for the United kingdom, we also have the propensity to easily forget. We forgot about the Gurkha that have provided sterling service. Especially when they wanted to become British subjects.  We easily forgot the service of soldiers especially the Muslims who came to our aid from Pakistan and the Sikh from India 
Our government now seeks parliamentary approval to up the anti, in a whole new round of bombing. As the warmongering of Thatcher and Blair continues in Conservative government.  Billions of pounds to be spent on nuclear weapons. (But no money for the NHS) That could only be deployed against other nuclear armed nations and then only after the event. By then who would be left to care. But there is a lot of money to be made from armaments sales and we all know that used stocks of armaments will bring further sales.  Encouraging a new round of bombing will only lengthen and widen the conflicts. There is much lucre and political donations to be made on the suffering of others. Does the world need more people driven from their homelands to join in the flood of refugees coming to Europe. Or is it more arms sales and more oil for the rapacious countries to grab. Is war the choice of the people or the choice of big business.

Now what was a sombre remembrance of the war dead. Is being used a political propaganda tool by various newspapers. Whatever happened to returning to a "land fit for heroes" when today we see soldiers with all kinds of issues living forgotten on the streets. Supported only by those who really do care. 

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