Remembrance Day is approaching and once again, I find myself conflicted about wearing a poppy.
To me, the poppy has always said, “Never Again,” and commemorated the fact that humanity had learned the lesson of the futility and fruitlessness of warfare on Armistice Day, 1918.
But now I ask myself, “did that war ever stop?”It seems the world has been at war pretty well every day ever since. I read that Canada has spent close to $1 billion moving our troops (who began as “peacekeepers,” but ended as warriors) back from one small section of the Mideast wars for oil and Israel, that of the Afghanistan
Theatre. What the cost was for that ill-advised adventure will likely never be admitted, but the pointlessness of sustaining this loss is obvious—the cost benefit ratio was about infinity to zip!
And now we’re at it again, meddling once more in the Middle East, solving problems into which we haven’t been invited, by readying to drop bombs on civilians the drivers of our multi-million dollar deliver platforms will never even see!
This puts me into conflict about wearing the poppy. I wear it every year but I fear that to many it says, “Yay, war!” The TV will show columns of gung-ho cadets, reservists, and regular troops parading about with much pomp and ceremony to stirring music, displaying their tools of war.
Having been a part of such celebrations, as a cadet and reservist, I wondered how my statement, poppy and all, was being interpreted. Was I rooting for more war, or attending a sad funeral, one both for the sucked-in uniformed victims of the fallacy that peace comes from the barrel of a gun (or from under the wing of a CF-18!) and for the proportionately, many more victims of this sick thinking; the millions of innocent civilians murdered in the name of “peace”?
So I was gratified to learn of the White Poppy Movement.The alternative, or complementary, white poppy is the symbol of a worldwide “project (which) challenges the beliefs, values and institutions that make war inevitable, and presents an alternative view of security and how to achieve it without violence.”
At last! A poppy I can fully believe in! This year, as last, they’re being offered in a few cafés and stores here in Grand Forks, but this year, I’m happy to say, there will be more available. I’d like to suggest to your readers that they consider a white poppy to convey the message of peace.
Pete Snidal, Grand Forks