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[personal profile] razornet
I haven't ever really reconciled myself with this. Those of you who have heard me talk about the first world war in particular know the depth of dismay I experience even thinking about the stupid, pointless sacrifices made in the name of the 11th hour. Wilfred Owen is a clear example of the talent wasted, more poignant though is the 21 year old lad, 2nd Lt James Kirk VC buried next to him in the Ors communal cemetery who knowingly sacrificed himself  to try and achieve their goal. A goal set in the name of prosecuting war until the last second.

I have not bought a poppy, I don't feel greatly either way about those who wear one of any colour. I do donate to charities involved in helping those who's lives are damaged by war. If I observe this day it is for me a specific memorial to those who died in wars prosecuted in the name of freedom but ultimately for the profit of the powerful. It's a bitter remberance, the knowledge that the heroism is cynically lauded by Them What Has. The forelock tugging do-or-die is something emotively powerful to me but falls flat when I analyse. The knowledge that each time the need to prosecute war has overlasted its useful function disgusts me. How many lives must be destroyed to "Send a message"?

I can find solace that heroism has an immediate, lasting and justifiable impact on those there who were saved. I can appreciate the small comfort it must offer those left behind. I can be inspired to defend my principles and offer protection at any cost to those I love and what I believe in. Ultimately the words of the survivors ring true.
"I guess we missed our chance to be heros"

Heros are by default the dead folk and no amount of praise brings them back.
To return to Wilfred Owen. if there is a poem I would read on this day it would be "Dulce et Decorum Est". The bitter, aware, cynicism of that verse speaks volumes as to the motivation behind the suffering of those caught in The Great War.
But I'm not about to cry at work.

OML says it very much in his own way here, starting off my own train of thought: http://omlongden.blogspot.com/2011/11/poppy-season.html

Note I don't argue about the necessity for conflict, that is a different debate and far more complicated.

Date: 2011-11-11 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] feanelwa.livejournal.com
I don't buy poppies, I stop to give more than a disapproving look to mad drunk homeless men with long standing battle-related PTSD. That's it.

Date: 2011-11-12 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] razornet.livejournal.com
Its enough, more than.

Date: 2011-11-11 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kimbleshi.livejournal.com
Well said. Dulce et Decorum Est never fails to evoke a response in me, be it tears or otherwise.

Date: 2011-11-12 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] razornet.livejournal.com
Thank you, what guts me most is the "lest we forget", they have already forgotten, or never known.

Date: 2011-11-12 12:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radroach.livejournal.com
Well said.

I do buy poppies, but I think of it more as a remembrance of the horror of the events and the lessons that we must remember from it.

For me, there are so many such lessons, and so intertwined, that it's difficult to lay them out, but three are forefront in my mind right now:

1. The worship of heroism has a dark and ignoble purpose. I think, and I'm sure Wilfred Owen would agree, that anyone who tells others to be heroes should be made to look into the eyes of one who is dying. If somebody else has to tell you to be a hero then you almost certainly do not want to be that kind of hero.

2. Nationalism is a dangerous thing. For a region or an ethnic group to have an identity and a culture of its own, and to defend the best aspects of that culture, is a noble thing; but there is such a fine line between that and the ugly, paranoid, greedy tribalism that devastated Europe twice last century and continues to devastate much of the rest of the world.

3. You should never let the lunatics run the asylum. Oops.

Date: 2011-11-12 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] razornet.livejournal.com
Thank you. I'd expected something more dry, but you have a set of points I'll feel obliged, if not happy, to consider.

Date: 2011-11-12 10:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radroach.livejournal.com
Well, I think there are certainly dry discussions to be had about the deep issues... The worship of heroism must be nearly as old as language, and considering its origins would surely mean talking about "group selection" and the origins of altruism, as well as the capacity of social animals to manipulate each other for selfish reasons. (And from that one can go even deeper, to stable minority traits...)

That's a deep, deep well though, and I don't think I could get straight to that from Armistice Day in the space of a short reply on LJ. In any case it's difficult to [attempt to] grasp the enormity of historical events like WWI without talking about the larger scale and context, and without some kind of emotional involvement.

Date: 2011-11-12 10:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radroach.livejournal.com
Also, I'd just like to point out that I'm not as pretentious as I sound from the above post! This is just tricky stuff to wrap language around without going astray...

Date: 2011-11-12 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psycleslut.livejournal.com
Nicely said dear. I never buy a poppy because I thin it promotes the wrong sentimental reaction. and 'Ducle et Decorum est' remains the most touching and appropriate poem, whatever the conflict imo.

Date: 2011-11-14 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] belak-krin.livejournal.com
I've been quite suprised this year to hear a number of people concerned about what Armistice day and the Poppy represents. I've never considered 11th Nov to be a celebration or glorification of war and have never thought of those named as 'heroes' to be synonomous with war itself being heroic.

There has never been any doubt in my mind, or education passed to me that the promises of glory and adventure that marked the start of the wars were propoganda.

The Poppy Appeal is for me very simple. It is to say 'Never Forget'. Its not about remembering 'victory' or 'past glory', it is about remembering the millions of people who lost their lives, it is about remembering the mistakes that brought us to that point so that it should never have to be repeated.

By contrast, I find the likes of Call of Duty to be very unpleasant in their glorification of war, to press for increasing realism and turning what was and is something where people tragically lose their lives on a daily basis into a game.

Date: 2011-11-18 12:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] razornet.livejournal.com
This deserves an answer. Sorry it's been a while coming.

I'm not complaining about Armistice day, I'm complaining about its malapropriation for the purpouses of politicians and political groups. Of course I undertand that this sort of shit is going to happen regardless, but I don't have to like it.

"The Poppy Appeal is for me very simple. It is to say 'Never Forget'. Its not about remembering 'victory' or 'past glory', it is about remembering the millions of people who lost their lives, it is about remembering the mistakes that brought us to that point so that it should never have to be repeated."

I'm not sure where I said this wasn't the case. I can't argue with the correct observation of a very deserving cause and memorial. My focus is on what is being made of it now outside that worthy goal.

I wished to offer the concept that the observance of the 11th hour of the 11th day carries with a further burden that is often forgotten. That the very time and date mark the prosecution of a war that could have been reovled much earlier and that some of the finest soldiers of the time recognised it, and some paid with thier lives for doing thier duty regardless.

Your point about COD/BF etc is valid but I'm with Chrlie Brooker on this one, the violence is ridiculous the people aren't real, even the situations portrayed are generally completely fictious even when they claim to be authentic. If I am to feel bad about playing this I am to feel bad about watching Inglorious Bastards. I don't, I enjoy both. You want something that I find a tragic transport of real war and death into a game try Kuma War.

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