Tuesday, 11 November 2014

#War, #Peace, and #Poppies

Picture below from here
To-day is Remembrance Day in Australia. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the nation falls silent for two minutes. Red poppies are in lapels and in the laid wreaths at shrines, cenotaphs and memorials across the country. Red poppies are massed against the names of the war dead at the Australian War Memorial in the national capital, Canberra.

There are news reports to-day that the print media reporting on Remembrance Day is muted compared to that of previous years.  Why is this so?  Is this because Australia is immersing itself in military action at this time in the Middle East?

If we mute our response to Remembrance Day and its memory of "the war to end all wars", is it time to ask the penetrating questions?
  • Do we put the same financial, acquisitive, organisational, and human effort into waging peace as we do to waging war?  
  • Are we prepared to stand up and say to our government that we want it to pay as much attention to training for peace, preparedness for peace, arming for peace, strengthening the ramparts of peace as we do for training for war, preparing for war, arming for war, strengthening the ramparts of war?
One of the most interesting bodies of literary work in English in the 20th century is the "Testament" series by Vera Brittain - Testament of Youth, Testament of Friendship, Testament of Experience. The experience/s that impacted Brittain's life in World War 1 made her a lifelong pacifist and fighter for peace.  Between the two world wars, she was active in the establishment and the promotion of the League of Nations. She also became a member of the Peace Pledge Union and its offshoot, the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship. The secretary of the Australian chapter of the latter, is Bishop Philip Huggins.

The Peace Pledge Union is notable for its White Poppy campaign.  Many people in Britain wear two poppies - the red for remembrance, the white for peace.

Listen to the song in honour of Vera Brittain
written by Sue Gilmurray

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