Looking back at the years of fury and carnage, Colonel Angelo Gatti, staff officer of the Italian Army (Austrian front), wrote in his diary: “This whole war has been a pile of lies. We came into war because a few men in authority, the dreamers, flung us into it.”
No, Gatti, caro mio, those few men are not dreamers; they are schemers. They perch above us. See how their armament contracts are turned into private fortunes—while the young men are turned into dust: more blood, more money; good for business this war. Continue reading →
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
— From In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, May 1915
It was that time of year again, when sellers of poppies knock at the door and veterans line the streets of the local town with collecting tins and trays of fake red flowers sold in aid of the Royal British Legion; a time when, if you don’t buy or wear a poppy you would be made to feel ‘unpatriotic’. But times they are a-changing.
Any student of history knows that many of the problems the Middle East and Africa are now experiencing stem from the Great Powers having parcelled up the land, drawn borders where none had existed and put into power various friendly leaders in the aftermath of World War I. That includes the failures of Western actions in Iraq and Libya, and the ongoing failure of Syria, the West’s refusal to accept a popular President in Bashar al Assad and its efforts to undermine him, resulting in a horrific humanitarian mess.
“Did you really believe, when they told you the cause,
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
The killing and dying it was all done in vain
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again –
And again, and again, and again, and again.” — (The Green Fields of France, William Bogle, 1944 – )*
Across the world the fanfare commemorating the “day the guns fell silent” has been trumpeted (literally, in many places) as having special resonance: 11.11.11: a once in a century event.
Let’s go back to the beginning of Veterans Day. It used to be Armistice Day, because at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I came to an end.
We must not forget that conflict. It revealed the essence of war, of all wars, because however “just” or “humanitarian” may be the claims, at the irreducible core of all war is the slaughter of the innocent, organized by national leaders, accompanied by lies. Continue reading →