Lest we forget

An exchange on an Open University forum.

Fast Forward

 ‘Named, unnamed. Remembered, forgotten. They all did that trick the dead do. Whether they died immediately, more or less immediately or later, they all did that trick. From living human being to corpse – the fastest transition in the world.’
(Robert Mc Liam Wilson, Eureka Street)

As I lie here
crimson rivers stream by
painting obscene pictures on my brain.

Beside me
half a young man’s face, open minded, sanguine
looks on. He was smiling

when he ceased to exist.
That girl has something recognisably human about her meat,
others have been blown entirely to bits,

soft unresisting flesh to be scraped up and shovelled
into plastic bags. Cajun dust settles on carnage.
Does a meld of politics ordnance and circumstance

explain all this? In the aeons after the blast
in the ringing piercing silence
in my head, I hear distant white coated voices,

‘Treat only those you think you can save,’
as the last sigh of life escapes my torn lips
unheard; the fastest transition in the world.

Sheena Bradley, 2012

Me: Lest we forget.

Sheena: Do you think there might ever be a time, a decade or a century when there is even a slight chance we could forget? I doubt it.

Me: There’s always hope.

I’m aware “Lest we forget” has different meanings to different people and in different contexts.  With hindsight, it was an inappropriate response to your post, Sheena, and I’m sorry I made it.  I was thinking of the Great War, not the Troubles.

For me, “Lest we forget” means “never forget the suffering we bring upon ourselves by blindly following orders to subject others to violence”.

For others it seems to mean “Never forget what sacrifices others have made for you, so be prepared to make sacrifices for them”.  There “Lest we forget” is used to promote what was Veterans’ Day and is now Armed Forces Day – but why don’t we also celebrate Peace Day with parades and banners?  There’s money and street closures made available to celebrate the military, but why not the Fire Brigade too, for example – they also put their lives on the line for us and they do it more often – what makes the military so different?  I’m coming round to the way of thinking of Forces Watch, that such events are the marketing activities of the arms industry, making killing palatable and something to be proud of.  And that way of thinking leads to “Lest we forget” meaning a demand for patriotism, nationalism and bigotry, where expressing a preference for peaceful solutions gets one called a coward or a “terrorist sympathiser”.

Then there’s the version of “Lest we forget” that seems to me to be the underling problem to finding peace in Northern Ireland, the perpetuation on both sides of “Never forget what those b~~~~~~s did to us”.  The perpetual generation of hatred, especially as indoctrination of the young.  Earlier this year we witnessed in Glasgow an Orange parade – bands and marching and banners and crowds coming out to watch the spectacle.  All I could see were bitter old men and angry middle-aged men wearing orange sashes, and lots of small boys dressed in military uniforms looking all proud to be maintaining the tradition.  The atmosphere was just anger and hate; it was appalling and pathetic to see.  It is nothing like a Scouts’ St George’s Day parade and poles apart from the likes of Warrington’s Walking Day.

As well as talking, listening and reconciling, there’s an awful lot of forgetting needs to be done in and around Northern Ireland: forgetting to maintain the tradition of instilling children and young adults with blind hate.  It makes us sick when Moslem extremists like IS do it, and when Christian extremists like the Lord’s Resistance Army recruit child soldiers in Africa.  So why is it OK for religious extremists in the British Isles to recruit children to propagate and perpetuate their militaristic tradition of violence and hatred against their fellow people?  And it would help if we quietly dropped Armed Forces Day in Northern Ireland too – it is counter-productive having the British Army setting an example of militaristic street marches.

For the love of God, as a society, can we please just stop passing on a tradition of hate and instead learn to forget?

 

PS: Airstrikes kill civilians.

Dinosaur poets

A fellow Open University student wrote in Dinosaur poets TM:

what is/are Poets

Can they die and emerge again

like Dinosaurians

?

which made me think of some of the First World War poets and haiku in response.

Brooke.  Grenfell.  Munro.
Owen.  Rosenberg.  Sorley.
Thomas.  Wilson.  Wyn. 

The Great War is history, and the poets above did not survive it.  But fragments of their work live on, typically preserved in stone, like the fossils of creatures who lived at a time before ours when great beasts roared across the earth, ripping gentler souls limb from limb in the quest for blood to spill and flesh to consume.

Which got me thinking about the metaphor of Hollywood B-movie dinosaurs as great monsters, roaring and killing like the great guns of the artillery blasting away at the soldiers in the trenches.

Children love to see reconstructed dinosaurs and stomp about roaring and pretending to be a T-Rex, chomping great chunks out of authority figures like parents and teachers and elder siblings.  Being so big and powerful that they can do as they like, ruling the earth.

Is this the childish, base desire that prompts people to like to watch war being made on the news?  Gore-porn as entertainment?  How advertisers are clamouring to get their products promoted alongside clips of people being beheaded, blown up, burning alive, shot and gently rotting in the sun?  The advertisers and media know what we like.

Civilisation is a transparently thin veneer.

What’s in a name?

Google searches for “No New Wars Foundation” and “No New Wars Organisation” only came up with links to web sites I have created.

Phew!  I’ve come up with a globally novel name.

I really should have checked that eight months ago.

Eight months since I thought of the 11/11/2018 campaign – where did that time go?

Manipulation is at stake

I attended a couple of very good lectures on personal and business marketing yesterday by Jonathan Horlock of Home Finder People and sausages were given as an example: “Don’t sell the sausage, sell the sizzle!” — a variation on Elmer Wheeler’s original example which used steak.

An attendee said how he can turn these pink tubes of processed animal off-cuts into a delicious casserole using a Jamie Oliver recipe and in so doing gave an excellent example of marketing: by associating the jamieoliver.com© brand with bangers he magically turned them into a feast.

Like a fully-grown Harry Potter, he cast a spell on us with the invocation Jamie Oliver!

And that is what marketing does: change what we think and feel and modify our behaviour by manipulation using images, associations, tokens and special words of power. We innocent mortals are influenced by these agents of change, the wizards and witches of marketing. They bend us to their will by the power of their minds, by showing us images and by whispering messages to us whenever and wherever we go.

In medieval times, such people with the power to turn milk sour, would themselves be tied to the steak and made to sizzle!

Why you should register other domains

On looking up information on the No2ID campaign to see how they started up, I came across the web site www.no2id.co.uk which is entitled “History of NO2ID campaigning organisation. This is a informational website about No2ID campaigning organisation.”

“Oh, wow,” I thought. “Everything I need to know.”

Nope. It is not what it says. It has been set up to advertise web sites selling id cards, digital access control, search engine optimisation services, web hosting, army recruitment, and biometric services. That’s right, selling exactly what the No2ID campaign is opposed to. But they have done it by taking text from the No2ID campaign and knocking up a fake site to do it.

What cynical buggers. (A WHOIS lookup will tell you who the cynical bugger is. The same cynical bugger it links to as a SEO Consultant.  As he says: “He is a member of Nominet, a TAG holder and well known and respected in the UK domain industry.”  Not well-respected by me!)

Conclusion: always register the alternative domain names – if you don’t some toe-rag parasite will and may even use them to actively campaign against you and make money as they do it, using your marketing effort in the process.

Amazing.