We’ve just suffered through another interminably dull and boring series of hypocritical antics involving pious prayers, poppies, and pomposity, from the so-called politicals and pundits, pontificating ever more profoundly and perversely than is their usual pleasure.
Yes, it was Remembrance Day, or Veteran’s Day, depending on whether you’re buried to the east or west of the pond, and it’s always good to put on a show for the dead.
In Britain, at the Cenotaph, parliament assembled as it does every year, all draped in the same black raincoat, with the same bedraggled nylon poppy propped into the buttonhole with safety pins and the odd spot of old chewing gum.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown led the prayer of remembrance, solemnly swearing to sheath the sacrificial knives, before repairing to his office and a quick check of how many British soldiers in Afghanistan had been killed or maimed that day. After all, the figures effect his ratings, and the election’s not that far away.
In America, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a similar group of pathetic butchers perform the same grotesque ceremony. They offer similarly hollow pledges to the relatives and friends of those whose only remaining link to life is a name carved in a wall – along with a few million other fellow’s names – before slipping away for a quick Scotch and soda, or two, before luncheon.
I suppose we must thank God for their pomposity. After all, without it how could they live with themselves? The pomposity makes them feel useful, strong, capable of playing their war games, of condemning men and women to die for their whims, for their fancies. Without the pomposity, they could never find the audacity.
“Veteran’s Day” is a somewhat silly name, but then, it was chosen by politicians. After all, November 11th is the anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. They’re all dead. There’s no WW1 veterans left to have a “day” for.
“Remembrance Day” is much better, except that we’re expected to remember the wrong things. It’s a day to remember those who fell in the two great wars, is what we’re told. What on earth for? I’m sixty-two years old and knew nobody who fell in Flanders Fields, so what chance those much younger than I?
Here’s what I’d tell the young of today, both in Europe and America: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is a time to remember. It’s a day to recollect just how fucking stupid the human race has been, how cold-blooded, uncaring, murderous, and so unfeeling of our fellow beings that time and time again we’ve sunk to the greatest depths of depravity it’s possible for living creatures to attain. And we’ve done it because some low-life, petty, pompous, peer or president or politician decreed it.
If the young of today take the time to remember exactly that, every 11th of November, maybe, just maybe, when the politicians of tomorrow sound the fanfare to pack up the kitbags and shoulder the rifles, they’ll be told:
“Piss off and do your own dirty work.”
Filed under: Poppy Days