Not in My Name

The ceremonies every year on November 11, to mark the anniversary of the end of the First World War in 1918, commemorate the dead but leave no reason for doubt that their deaths were justified. The red poppy, now compulsory dress code for the BBC, parliament and all other parts of the British establishment in the weeks running up to the anniversary, is produced by the British Legion and is promoted by the army.

The Cenotaph has long been connected with wars, not peace, its ceremonies of remembrance carried out on behalf of the military, not in opposition to it. The misery, futility, destruction of war is hidden from view behind the cheering, flag waving and pompous commentaries which mark the ceremonies.

“There is everything right about remembering the dead who die in futile wars. There is everything wrong about using the past dead to justify current wars.”

Read Lyndsey German on the History of the Cenotaph here.

Comments (10)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Morag Lennie says:

    As a wearer of a white poppy for peace, I have taken varied amounts of abuse over the years, for refusing to buy into the whole glorification of war, and for not supporting our “heroes.” Useless to point out that one’s definition of hero is a very personal thing.So today I want to mention MY heroes. My big gentle father who never hurt a living soul, and spent a great deal of his time as welfare officer of his union branch, helping other people, my social worker son and his partner, whose jobs are under threat from this abomination of a government, the musicians, and poets who lighten our days, the women and children who are always the greatest victims of war. These are just some of the heroes I’ll be thinking about today.

    1. Sannymqac says:

      Morag it is your choice to speak English and live in a reasonably democratic country and whether you like it or not this was given to you by these servicemen that you now denigrate.
      As an ex-serviceman I have no doubt where I would stick your white poppy.

      1. bellacaledonia says:

        Can we please be respectful of each others views – even on these emotive topics? Otherwise we will have to moderate comments to ensure a civil debate can be had.

      2. Morag Lennie says:

        Came across this by chance , though it’s from six years ago , but Sannymcquac , how do you know English is my first language? Would you have understood me if I had posted in Gaelic, or Norwegian , or Russian ?Now , for your information , both of my grandfathers, were sent off to WW1 , and neither came back , but while they still could , they made it very clear that they knew they had been conned. Likewise my five great uncles , three on one side , two on the other, wiping out all the male members of my family , apart from my father , who was a child. So Mr. Hero of 23 years service , you are still alive , or were then. How come. What glorious battles did you survive , and how ?
        As to knowing where you’d stick my white poppy , I’d love to see you try.

  2. seven says:

    I don’t and never will wear a poppy, it’s a family tradition started by my granda, a 20+ yr veteran of the black watch (wounded at the Somme).
    I’m just back from Dundee city centre and only saw 2 folks wearing one. An english student (in lidl, heard his accent and and a girl from the high school accompanied by a friend in cadet fatiges.

  3. sonlyme says:

    Sannymqac, As a 23 year service Veteran, I know exactly where to stick a White Poppy; on my lapel, with pride. War is futile..

  4. Diane Samuel says:

    I don’t feel that the ceremonies are used to justify current wars. I think there should be a point in the year where you reflect on the way service personnel put their lives and mental health on the line and to support the ones they left behind. There is plenty of time in the rest of the year to challenge the people in power who sit safely in their ivory towers send the soldiers out.

  5. Dave Watt says:

    As an ex-serviceman who lost one grandfather courtesy of WW1 and two uncles in in WW2 I think the whole red poppy remembrance idea has been hijacked by warmongers to justify our present illegal wars. If we’re sincere about caring for our ex-servicemen and women then why did this scumbag government just take away £100 from pensioner’s heating. Yes, the very pensioners who fought in WW2 are now the very ones who are being screwed.Talk about hypocrisy!
    Instead of the great and the good mincing around with a red poppies it would be more appropriate if oursociety treated the ones who actually came back from our wars a whole lot better. Britain treats its ex-service people worse than anywhere else in NW Europe.
    PS I was in the army in the 1970s and there just wasn’t this spurious this serviceman-worship then. It only seems to have surfaced since we started illegally invading other countries.

  6. Jennifer Farquharson says:

    Why is it that when we dont support a war it’s automatically assumed we dont support the soldiers, sailors and airmen who are sent to fight for the glory of politicians? People join the armed forces for a variety of reasons, not least of which is unemployment. They hope they will be taught a trade that will serve them when they come back into ‘civvy street’. Who can blame them. But those demented, arrogant, foolish politicians treat them like pawns in their games. Then they talk about our brave soldiers whilst at the same time, those self-same soldiers have to rely on charity (see a recent episode of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire for example) in many cases, after they’re chucked out and no longer required. I wont wear a poppy, but not because I dont support the lads and lassies, but because I wont allow myself to be tarred with the same brush as those useless politicians who hide behind the it.

  7. Johne328 says:

    I really enjoy the article post. Cool. cekdabcgkcad

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.