Tuesday, 11 November 2014

We will remember them

History’s most disastrous, most tragic, most pointless mass slaughter finally ground to a halt on the 11th hour of the 11th month of the Year of Destruction 1918.

“Utterly incredible,” confided Arthur Ponsonby to his diary on 13 August 1914 …

The long expected European war has come. A dozen or so diplomats, a score of ministers, and two or three monarchs have been offending one another, so to make things straight they have ordered out millions of peaceful citizens to go and get massacred. The Government have been telling us lies and we believed them. We were committed and we did not know it, so without being attacked or our own interests in any way threatened we joined in. It is an end of Liberalism, of social reform, of progress itself for the moment. And no one can see what the future has in store.1

This year the Tower of London put on an extraordinary display to commemorate just some of those slaughtered millions: 888,246 ceramic poppies, one for each Commonwealth soldier killed in World War I, filling the moat surrounding the Tower. And each evening, during the weeks leading up to Britain’s Remembrance Sunday, someone would read a list of some of the World War I dead. The picture above shows what the Tower looks like now.

Each one of them representing a human life snuffed out.

If there had been a poppy for all the sixteen million souls snuffed out during the mass slaughter,2 and another 100 million more for the souls taken in the following influenza epidemic3, the ceramic poppies would have buried the tower and the reading would have taken not just a few weeks, but more than thirty years – around the time it took for the forces this war unleashed  to embark on another Great War that unleashed many more destructive forces, killing many millions more.

Those dozen or so diplomats, score of ministers, and two or three monarchs still have an awful lot to answer for.


1. Quoted in Hell-Bent: Australia's leap into the Great War, by Douglas Newton
2. Ref: ‘World War I casualties’ – Princeton.Edu
3. Ref: “1918 flu pandemic” – Wikipedia

3 comments:

  1. My Grandad amazingly survived several years in the trenches but died in Germany in Feb 1919 as part of the army of occupation when he got the flu. Bad luck or whatever you want to call it is always stalking about and his death impacted on my dad in many subtle ways that you can see looking back. Just one story of millions.

    3:16

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  2. As I have said many times before - what can ever be so bad both parties cannot sit down with a cup of tea and smooth it over?

    In my experience, and observation, when it comes to the crunch most people are basically tarts (flick them a few quid and they are as happy as Larry).
    Consequently I think "buying someone off" has a lot of merit; those who think that is unprincipled should look at the sea of poppies, and the war memorials all over the country, and see what being 'principled' gets you....

    Buying off an aggressor is far better than going to war.

    A modern day example would be Putin - he wants to be a 'World Leader', so...make him one haha!

    Just create some meaningless title, give it to him, and he will be happy as Larry (it probably is that simple when dealing with megalomania and egomania).
    Or we can be very 'principled' and childish and spend the second half of this decade going to War with Putin over Ukraine - which both sides will lose in a stalemate similar to the Somme.

    Just a thought....


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  3. Linberry

    Putin IS a world leader. Strange you didn't recognise this fact. He can't be "bought off" by your peculiar type of venality. Strange you didn't recognise this fact either.

    Putin made his position, in regards to the situation in the Ukraine and elsewhere, quite clear in a speech and Q&A discussions at the Valdai Summit recently. You ought to read what he actually said (there are several reliable translations into English available) and think carefully about it.

    Those involved in stirring up war in the Ukraine would appear to be governments in the "free" West (USA, UK etc.). War is not in the interests of Putin, the Russian government or the people who live in Russia. It is not in the interests of Ukrainians either. Do take note that what occurred in Ukraine was a coup d'etat of a democratically elected government by violent terrorists financed and trained by Western governments. This was followed up by a ruthless campaign of ethnic cleansing undertaken by the same actors funded and trained by the same agencies.

    What would make Putin as happy as could be would be uninterrupted and unimpeded trade with Europe. Of course that would not be in the best interests of certain Western interests. Follow the money and see. For a start you ought to look into the situation in regards to South Pipe. Once you understand what is occurring there you'll be well on the way to understanding what is happening in Ukraine and why (as well as who caused it).

    Amit



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