Remembrance Day is a time not to celebrate war, but our desire for peace, to remember never to repeat those horrors war has brought, especially the two world wars of the 20th Century.
It hasn’t worked. The world seems to be falling into the trap George Santayana warned of: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
It’s been a century since the end of the First World War and more than six decades since the end of the second, but in the intervening years, the world has rarely been without conflict, including genocides mirroring the Nazi Holocaust: Somalia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and the ongoing slow genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar, to name just a few.
It’s easy to say these are far away, not here. But the populism that is driving modern politics, in the US, Europe, Brazil, and yes, in Canada, draws on the same methods — the racist rhetoric, the lies, the division, the “us versus them” — that were employed by Hitler, Mussolini, the Khmer Rouge and others in their drive for power.
Rather than remembering the past, we are beginning to repeat it.
We pause at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 to remember the brave Canadians, men and women, who gave their lives to prevent just this kind of evil, to enforce the peace, trying and failing to prevent atrocities from happening.
After you pause to remember our fallen, take another moment to remember that we, too, have a responsibility to continue that struggle against hatred and fear. We are the soldiers in this ongoing war.