re me mb er?

Posted by Daniela Elza on Nov 11 2008

I feel so ambivalent on this day. This strange duality. I completely understand the sentiments expressed on the No Media Kings website. And I like the symbolism of poppies as reminding of flanders fields, as red bullet holes, and poppies as part of the drug wars. I was also taken by the line:
Poppies induce forgetfulness, after all.

At the same time I have deep respect for those who ended up dead or damaged for life from taking part in the wars of our world. Also for their families.

What does a poppie mean to me? Actually, not wearing a poppie makes me think harder about this holiday that wearing one. So I did not wear a poppie today. And I thought hard about why. I just did not want to play this game. It is not about the symbol, or the soldiers, or the wars. It is a certain type of absolving ourselves from the responsibility we have to not being involved in wars. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that we are still fighting wars. And what it seems preventable wars.

We know we were cheated into the wars in Afganistan and Iraq. I suspect a lot of people who were shipped overseas to fight also feel cheated. Or if not at first it slowly dawned on them the lies they were putting their lives on the line for. And the physical and psychological wounds they have contracted.

Why do we have this glorifying notion that a soldier marches happily into war? They get drafted. They get ordered. They sign up to defend their country and end up sent to invade another. And we also know that the rules for disobeying or disagreeing are punishable in many cases by death. What does it take for a soldier who does not want to play this unimaginative game to get out? It must be pretty hard, if they have to seek refuge in another country. A recent case in Canada got turned over back to the US authorities.

Symbols and language are quite an opiate. We can easily be put to sleep, we can easily be talked into forgetfulness. So yes, I am glad the day is over. Here is a poem that I wrote when the war in Afganistan started and I am quite sad to see it is still relevant for me today. Here you can read it on the Poets Against War website.
an ivy for remembrance day in another year of war
and a few more poems from the poets against war department:
dear god
the bomb

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