Sunday, November 11, 2007

it's only about our wars and our soldiers

OK, Sunny just posted about Veterans Day/Poppy Day/Armistice Day/Remembrance Day/probably some other names that I don't know. Apologies for another one in the same vein.

While I don't personally know anybody affected by war right now, various wars wiped out most of my family in the past. My family members weren't soldiers and most had no connection to the conflict. I wouldn't feel so crappy about this if anyone actually learned a lesson from it, but, as Sunny has already pointed out, war is out there, everywhere, right now. Humans don't learn.

I think this day should be a time when we all take a moment and think about the consequences of large-scale human conflict. Why do we keep doing this?

Every year on November 11, I go to a memorial, hoping to find like-minded people who are asking themselves the same question. Every year I'm so horribly disappointed. I look around and everyone is old and white, and the memorial is always the same:

1. it's replete with Bible readings, hymns and references to a Christian God.
Argh. The last time I checked, I didn't live in a Christian country, and Christians weren't the only victims of war. This seems obvious to me.

2. references are made only to the wars in which our country has been involved, and in which our citizens have died, and the ceremony is always about soldiers who have fallen and soldiers only.
Nobody feels the need to even mention the other conflicts that have ravaged other parts of the world (parts that are the native land of many people who've immigrated to this city) or about the average citizens who die all over the world as a by-product of war.

3. representatives of countries instigating war and conflict in the world are permitted to place a wreath at the cenotaph.
Call me a hardass (especially when I've just said that I want the memorials to be more inclusive) but I feel that if your country goes out and invades other ones, your consulate or embassy or whatever shouldn't be able to just stroll up with some stupid flowers and pretend your country's on the side of peace.

I was out-of-town this weekend and decided to go to a ceremony in a small town, hoping that maybe it would be different. It wasn't. One of these years I'll just stop going.


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