Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Remembering Peace

Every year, around Remembrance Day, I usually write a piece about peace.

When I learnt about Remembrance Day, as a child, there were always two important lessons.

The first is that a lot of people - millions, in fact - had sacrificed their lives or had their lives sacrificed, in the name of protecting the freedoms we have today. We have a duty to remember those people. While there is a debate as to which wars were really fought for noble causes, this does not detract from the sacrifice these people intended to make.

The second lesson always was this: never again. This is a lesson we can learn whatever it is that we believe about the real causes of the World Wars and all the wars since. This is a lesson taught directly from the butchery of all those sacrificed on all of the false altars that lead us to war. Whether that altar is called the "Fatherland" or the "Queen" or "democracy", we are supposed to have learnt by now that any resort to war is a failure on our part. It is failure on the part of us, the human beings living on this planet, to properly honour and remember those who have suffered the horrors of all previous wars.

We've been slaughtering each other for millennia. With the advent of civilization, we were supposed to smarten up and stop this nonsense. Somehow, though, we fail. We let every manner of thing steer us to violence against one other.

Sometimes it's religion. Sometimes it's a crucial resource. Sometimes it's patriotism. It's almost always someone with a lot of power wanting more, whether that person be priest, nationalist or power baron.

We the people, however, have an obligation to see through the lies. The people of Germany had an obligation to realize that Poland wasn't amassing an army to attack them, and certainly an obligation to realize the lie afterwards when it took but three days to conquer that country. The people of Israel and Palestine have an obligation to realize that four thousand year old bloody histories don't entitle them to each other's land. The people of Canada and the United States have an obligation to realize when their patriotism is being manipulated to seize the oil, land and cheap labour of other nations.

That, to me, is the meaning of Remembrance Day: the obligation to remember the horror of war and to see through the lies that caused it in the past so as to prevent them in the future.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

No comments: