Friday, 31 May 2013

What we ought to do Better in an Independent Scotland - Number Two

I have scratched my very small brain and I cannot get my head around the idea that we should celebrate the start of a War.

It seems obscene that the Cenotaph will be covered in, what, memorials to the dead?

Perhaps not. This seems like an obscenity to me.

In a new mode that  suggests that WW1 was a glorious endevour rather that what it really was, slaughter of us at the behest of Royalty across Europe. As a sort of sparring game between cousins. Deaths to be totted up for a laugh and a joke. The War itself was an obscenity, a last hurrah! for royalty.

 But what is planned, is not around the Cenotaph where one might imagine a complete generation of idiotic rulers committing seppuku, but our betters don't do that, do they?

Oh! No!

Glasgow, is to lead this merry dance of celebration of the Start of a World War.

I know why they are asking us to host this.  Did you ask for it? No, neither did I.


Here is what a soldier had to say about it:

Siegfried Sassoon (1919)
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Have you forgotten yet?...
For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.

But the past is just the same-and War’s a bloody game...
Have you forgotten yet?...
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz–
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench-
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack–
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads—those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?...
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.

It isn't really worth celebrating the start of that, is it? The end of it, perhaps, but the consequences of it, do we lie about that too?

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