As most of you are PROBABLY aware, 11th November is Remembrance Day. The idea being where we spend some time thinking about those who lost their lives in combat over the years (most notably, but not excluded to, those involved in World War I). Contrary to popular belief, WWI wasn’t started by the Nazis, Americans, Muslims or Saddam Hussein. The trigger was actually the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne by a Yugoslav activist. Everything spiraled from there with there already being a lot of political unrest in Eastern Europe. But I’m not really here to give a history lesson.
What has shocked me today has been people’s attitudes. Now, whether you are a pacifist or back up the military on every decision, you can’t fail to agree that the world would be a very different place today without certain conflicts having happened. Sadly, humans are a very primeval race at heart and violence will always be present. It’s biologically ingrained. Sadly the armed forces can’t be tamed by presenting them all with a copy of Black Ops along with a lifetime supply of booze and women. I may not agree with certain conflicts that have happened, but I do appreciate the sacrifices that were made for my freedom. Note: this does NOT mean I advocate the war in Iraq which I think is way past it’s end date and we should be allowing the country it’s own freedom.
It came to my attention that earlier today there was a certain conflict in London involving some Muslin extremists (note EXTREMISTS!) who decided to burn a poppy while spewing some hate towards the British armed forces.
Taken from Express.co.uk:
ISLAMIC protesters sparked fury when they burned a giant poppy, chanting “British soldiers burn in hell” during yesterday’s two-minute silence to honour war dead.
The hate-filled extremists screamed “British troops are murderers” and “There will be no security for Britain while troops remain in Muslim land”.
Calling themselves “Muslims against Crusaders”, they clashed with police while 50 members of the English Defence League staged a counter-protest near the Royal Albert Hall in central London.
Police kept the two sides apart, but as the two- minute silence started one Muslim yelled out, “British soldiers go to hell”. One of the group held up the poppy, set it alight and threw the burning symbol of remembrance to the ground, while others, some masked, chanted “British soldiers burn in hell” in front of horrified onlookers.Three men were arrested at the scene – two for public order offences and one for assaulting a police officer. One officer was taken to hospital with a head injury.
Onlookers were appalled by the ultimate insult to the war dead and soldiers still risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. One said: “It was a disgrace to be burning poppies on Remembrance Day. It should be a crime to chant things like that. Those people are despicable.” Another said: “It was outrageous.”
And parents of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan later branded the grotesque protest as “atrocious”.
Christine Bonner, whose son Darren was killed by a landmine in Helmand province in 2007, said she could not believe the incident.“I’m disgusted. There are people like myself that at 11am today were remembering the lives of our children, and then there are some people doing something so hurtful as that. I think it’s atrocious.
“We’re talking about individuals who have died for their country.”
Tony Philippson’s son James was the first British soldier to be killed in action in the Nato operation in Helmand province. He said: “I don’t see the logic of it. Why could they think that soldiers of any nationality shouldn’t be remembered?
“My son went to Iraq with the Marines fighting for Muslims to get rid of a tyrant so they could have some freedom.”The Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, said: “These protesters should be ashamed of themselves. People will be sickened. The lack of respect for people who have given up their lives for freedom is appalling.”
Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, of Birmingham Perry Bar, said: “It’s just absolute nonsense. These people have no regard or respect for the people who are prepared to give their lives for the country, and if they don’t like it they can hop it and leave. They have these rights to protest that are afforded to them because people have given their lives up for those rights.
“To have these people behave like this is absolutely ridiculous. It’s complete nonsense and despicable.”
A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “While these are a handful of people claiming to speak on behalf of Muslims, many more Muslims will join fellow Britons in remembering the sacrifice of our Armed Forces.” During the incident the protesters held banners which read “Islam will dominate” and “Our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell”.
Asad Ullah, of Muslims Against Crusades, said: “We find it disgusting that innocent people, innocent children, have been killed in an illegal and unjust war and we are demonstrating against that.
“We want the Government to pull the troops out from these countries and to stop interfering in our affairs.”
He added: “I have no respect for the silence as it represents the murder of millions of Muslims. By burning the poppy we wanted to upset people and we wanted them to hurt. If you hurt for two minutes you can understand the hurt we feel every day for our murdered Muslim brothers and sisters.”
Muslims Against Crusaders organiser Abu Rayah, from east London, said: “British soldiers are mass murderers and your politicians are oppressors. By wearing poppies, you condone mass murderers. This protest was for thousands of Muslims killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Amusingly, soon after reading this article, I found this article about a new Iraqi government.
I’m aware that the idea behind the armed forces staying in Iraq was to create some stability for this government to form. However, I do think that it’s something we (Britain) should have been much less involved in considering that we a) have a VERY large Muslim population compared to America and b) we didn’t instigate this war. That was the beloved Dubya who decided to drag Tony into it. Why the hell we persisted, I don’t know. Surely it’s obvious that there will be very little in gratitude on any front and all that will happen is unrest on home soil? Oh wait…
Thing is, this is what has happened in the mean time:
… 479 comments to be exact. Some of the things said truly shock me. People think it’s OK to be racist because of some extremists? That would indicate they know it’s not every Muslim but fuck it, they’re going to generalise anyway! Some people have tried to do the reasonable “Look kids, this is how it actually is…” and are just plain ignored. Of course, being the internet I’m not sure how much is just plain trolling. Something tells me not as much as I’d like.
For those who aren’t aware of the symbolism of the poppy:
Long before the Great War, the red poppy had become a symbol of death, renewal and life. The seeds of the flower can remain dormant in the earth for years, but will blossom spectacularly when the soil is churned. Beginning in late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders became the scene of stupendous disturbances. Red Poppys soon appeared.
In 1915, at a Canadian dressing station north of Ypres on the Essex Farm, an exhausted physician named Lt. Col. John McCrae would take in the view of the poppy strewn Salient and experience a moment of artistic inspiration. The veteran of the South African War was able to distill in a single vision the vitality of the red poppy symbol, his respect for the sacrifice made by his patients and dead comrades, and his intense feeling of obligation to them. McCrae would capture all of this in the most famous single poem of the First World War, In Flanders Fields.
The doctor’s work achieved immediate universal popularity which was subsequently reinforced by his own death in 1918 from pneumonia and meningitis. He was buried in a military cemetery near Calais on the English Channel, thus becoming one with those of whom he wrote in his famous poem. Probably by the time of his internment, John McCrae’s verse had forever bound the image of the Red Poppy to the memory of the Great War. The poppy was eventually adopted by the British and Canadian Legions as the symbol of remembrance of World War One and a means of raising funds for disabled veterans. An American war volunteer, Moina Michael, helped establish the symbol in the US where the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion also embraced the Red Poppy tradition.
In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row by row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard among the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If yea break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
So… the dude who said he burned the poppy because it symbolised mass murder… Yes, it did. The mass murder of those who lost their lives in WWI.
I’ve actually been to this place:
(This is Ypres in West Flanders where a lot of the bloodiest fighting took place in WWI. Heard of Passchendaele? That was the 3rd battle of Ypres.). Did it make me think? You bet. I went as part of an “extra” school trip back in ’00, before 9/11 even happened. I guess it’s part of what has given me the mindset that so much fighting these days is so futile. To see field upon field of graves and to know it was only a small number of those who died… It was truly breathtaking and one hell of a smack in the face.
Oh and the Armistice/Remembrance Day REAL reason?
Armistice Day (also known as Remembrance Day) is on 11 November and commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.
In many parts of the world, people take a two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. local time as a sign of respect for the roughly 20 million people who died in the war.
n the UK, beginning in 1939, the two-minute silence was moved to the Sunday nearest to 11 November in order not to interfere with wartime production should 11 November fall on a weekday. After the end of WWII, most Armistice Day events were moved to the nearest Sunday and began to commemorate both World Wars. The change was made in many Commonwealth countries, as well as the United Kingdom, and the new commemoration was named Remembrance Sunday or Remembrance Day. Both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday are now commemorated formally in the UK.
I seem to be a bit on my high horse about this but to me, 11/11 has nothing to do with Afghan, Iraq, Ireland or the like. It doesn’t really make me think about who the armed forces have dragged over to the Middle East now. Their fighting has nothing to do with the freedom of my country. The motives behind recent conflicts and those of the Great War are entirely different. Sure, it’s sad that people have lost their lives in conflicts since WWI&II BUT can I just point out one TINY thing here? National Service was abolished a long time ago. You don’t go into the army expecting everything to be dandy and for all your limbs to stay on. You KNOW there’s a high chance they won’t. It’s like driving along at 100mph in a car with your head out of the window. Sure, you might be ok and not hit anything, but the chances are that you probably will. I’m sorry if I don’t sound all bleeding heart and hate the awful nasty people who our brave young men are fighting and know that it’s OBVIOUSLY their fault for putting down landmines. I’m being realistic. You know what you’re signing up to. Back in the day, a lot of people didn’t know that they’d be gassed. They had no idea of what they were getting themselves into. These days people do unless they are severely mentally retarded (in which case, they won’t be allowed in the armed forces ¬_¬). The British Army even goes so far as to say that a person has to be clear of any physical and mental disabilities for 4 years before they will be accepted (well, that’s ME ruled out :P).
Anyway, tl;dr version:
Racism is retarded, people need to learn facts about things before opening mouths.