The memetics and semiotics of the Poppy Part II

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oldgoat
The memetics and semiotics of the Poppy Part II

 

oldgoat

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=006876]Co... from here.[/url]

I post this every year as a counter balance to Flanders Fields

Suicide in the Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

by Siegfried Sassoon

RosaL

[url=http://members.shaw.ca/womeninblackedm/]Edmonton "Women in Black"[/url] have sold white poppies in the past and it looks like they're doing it again.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[img]http://i36.tinypic.com/28usao6.jpg[/img]

quote:

The white poppy campaign began in Europe after World War II and was initiated by the Co-operative Women's Guild. But it's better known for having sparked controversy here in Canada, when, back in 2006, ex-soldiers from the Royal Canadian Legion in Alberta publicly demanded for peace activists to halt their distribution of white peace poppies.

But the symbol, say activists, isn't meant to act as competition, but as an alternative effort to mark Remembrance Day - a symbolic gesture to remember fallen soldiers and an opportunity to send an anti-war message.

While thousands of Canadian troops maintain military bases in southern Afghanistan, Canadian opinion polls confirm the commitment to the war is waning, especially after recent reports revealed the Government vastly underestimated the true cost of the war, and the military death toll in the country continues to rise.

This week, a grassroots effort in Canada has spread the white poppy across the country, including here [b]in Montreal, where local anti-war activists are distributing the "alt" poppy.[/b]

"For many people the red poppy has become a symbol that is being used to justify and promote war," explains Claire Hurtig, a local activist and union organizer in Montreal. "The white poppy is an alternative way to remember war, but also to protest war as an institution in our society, [especially] as the Conservative government is putting more and more money into the military and not into social programs, leading to hugely detrimental impacts on our society."


[url=http://www.hour.ca/news/news.aspx?iIDArticle=15987]Source[/url]

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

genstrike

I made my own today out of a piece of paper and an old pin. I was working with a group that was planning to order and distribute a bunch at the university, but that kinda fell through.

Interestingly, I stopped at the student union office today and saw a bunch of red ones. I jokingly asked if they had any white ones, and apparently a lot of people have been asking that...

RosaL

quote:


Originally posted by genstrike:
[b]I made my own today out of a piece of paper and an old pin. I was working with a group that was planning to order and distribute a bunch at the university, but that kinda fell through.

Interestingly, I stopped at the student union office today and saw a bunch of red ones. I jokingly asked if they had any white ones, and apparently a lot of people have been asking that...[/b]


I may get a red poppy and paint it, even though I'm not a pacifist and even though I don't think wars result, for the most part, from failure to find better ways of resolving conflict between human beings.

Jerry West

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
The two concepts are [b]not[/b] "usually opposed to one another." In fact, [b]the two concepts are "usually" deliberately muddled together in order to manufacture consent for the war.[/b]

The fact that concepts can be muddled together does not mean that they can not in reality be opposed to one another. Supporting the troops certainly means standing up for them and not supporting any wars that have nothing to do with defense of one's territory or whatever reason one might think justifies a war. That of course presumes that defending one's territory or whatever is a valid reason to fight a war.

Some would argue that expanding a country's power and influence or protecting economic interests is a valid reason for fighting a war, and for them, then, in those cases supporting troops and the war might be in accordance with each other.

Lots of scenarios, some of which I may agree with, which is why the word usually is in the editorial.

The message here is that supporting troops and supporting wars are two separate things. They may or may not coincide. From my experience they usually do not.

[ 07 November 2008: Message edited by: Jerry West ]

Jerry West

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
Your experience may be very different from mine.

No doubt. And you make good points, but they still do not contradict my statement that support for troops and support for war are necessarily the same thing, even more often than not not the same thing.

In addition, I would argue that your neighbours in Ontario who support both the war and the troops in Afghanistan are really not supporting the troops at all unless they define needless maiming and killing of the troops as support.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Right. And that's exactly why the official "support the troops" meme is a phony cover for supporting the war.

genstrike

On this subject, one thing that really frustrates me with the peace movement sometimes is the insistence on "supporting the troops" and arguing that we support them more because we oppose the war. This kind of meaningless bullshit is the sort of thing we should be challenging, not trying to twist around to our side. Instead of "support the troops" in their immoral imperialist adventures, we should be saying "Not in my name"

And I realize that the situation is different for everyone and there is a lot of indoctrination and screwing with people's heads, not to mention how some poor people see the army as a way out of poverty, but are "the troops" the sort of people we should be supporting? Should we be "supporting" the foot soldiers of imperialism, including people like those responsible for the Somalia Affair?

Jerry West

quote:


Originally posted by genstrike:
[b]On this subject, one thing that really frustrates me with the peace movement sometimes is the insistence on "supporting the troops" and arguing that we support them more because we oppose the war. This kind of meaningless bullshit is....[/b]

It is only meaningless bullshit to those who either lack the intelligence to understand it or are so blind that they don't want to. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

quote:

Instead of "support the troops" in their immoral imperialist adventures, we should be saying "Not in my name"

An example of failing to separate the troops from what they are ordered to do. "Not in my name" is a good slogan, but so is "Support the Troops, Quit the War."

quote:

are "the troops" the sort of people we should be supporting?

Most of the troops are ordinary Canadians with families trying to survive. You think that a Canadian serving his or her country should be discriminated against? You really want to exclude an entire class of people from our society?

Leaders, not the troops, are the problem. Separate the troops from the war mongering leaders, don't push them together.

quote:

Should we be "supporting" the foot soldiers of imperialism, including people like those responsible for the Somalia Affair?

You really shouldn't be equating all soldiers to a few bad apples unless you want to do the same for all social and ethnic groups. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Jerry, your problem is that there is no real content to your support-the-troops-but-not-the-war meme. What does this "support" consist of? It's not material support, obviously.

Is it "moral support"? Assuming one can give moral support to someone engaged in immoral activity, what form does this moral support take?

How exactly do we obey your injunction to support the troops without supporting the war? Call for the troops to be brought home? In other words, support the troops by opposing the war?

Why not just say oppose the war - bring the troops home now and leave Afghanistan alone? What does "supporting the troops" add to that? Nothing, that I can see. It just muddies the issue and opens it up to ambiguity because Stephen Harper "supports the troops" too!

genstrike

quote:


Originally posted by Jerry West:
[b]
It is only meaningless bullshit to those who either lack the intelligence to understand it or are so blind that they don't want to.
[/b]

I hope that wasn't a shot at me, but I would argue that the whole "support the troops" and yellow ribbon (and these days, partly the red poppy stuff) is meaningless bullshit. But this meaningless bullshit does serve three purposes:

1. Distracting people from asking tough questions about the war
2. By equating it with supporting the war, promoting war and occupation
3. Smearing critics of the war as against the troops, which is as meaningless and bullshit as "support the troops"

quote:

Originally posted by Jerry West:
[b]
An example of failing to separate the troops from what they are ordered to do. "Not in my name" is a good slogan, but so is "Support the Troops, Quit the War."
[/b]

We can't completely separate the troops from what they are ordered to do. They are the ones doing it. That would be like trying to separate, say, assassinating Lincoln from John Wilkes Booth. And last time I checked, "just following orders" wasn't an excuse at Nuremburg either.

How about just "Quit the War"? We don't have to be challenging the right in a silly contest of who supports the troops more.

quote:

Originally posted by Jerry West:
[b]
Most of the troops are ordinary Canadians with families trying to survive. You think that a Canadian serving his or her country should be discriminated against? You really want to exclude an entire class of people from our society?

Leaders, not the troops, are the problem. Separate the troops from the war mongering leaders, don't push them together.
[/b]


Well, I would argue that their participation in an immoral, imperialist war is immoral, but as I alluded to in the last post, there are mitigating factors such as indoctrination both inside and outside the military, and the people who feel that they have no other option to make a living under capitalism. That is why things like counter-recruitment are so important.

Although, I have to say that most of the troops seem to be pretty gung-ho about following their leaders into war.

And your use of the words "discriminated against" is really putting words in my mouth. I don't think that that is the right word, especially with the association of that word with things like racism.

quote:

Originally posted by Jerry West:
[b]
You really shouldn't be equating all soldiers to a few bad apples unless you want to do the same for all social and ethnic groups.
[/b]

I am not quite equating them to the people responsible for what is probably the most public and shocking act by the Canadian Forces in a long time. But these troops are committing immoral acts. Do you support the troops responsible for the Somalia Affair? Do you support the troops who kill innocent people in Afghanistan? Do you support the ones who only hurt innocent people and do property damage? Do you support the ones who are in support roles for those who do the above but don't personally have blood on their hands? Do you draw the line somewhere, and if so, where?

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Jerry West:
[b]
In addition, I would argue that your neighbours in Ontario who support both the war and the troops in Afghanistan are really not supporting the troops at all unless they define needless maiming and killing of the troops as support.[/b]

Exactly, Jerry. I think for very many staunch old line party supporters in the large minority of Canadians, war in the stan is just another second-hand U.S.-style policy they must either endorse or overlook for the sake of tradition and slavish support of a political party and flag. The yellow ribbons should have proper [b]LPC or CPC[/b] stamped on "made in China or Taiwan" labels attached. The soldiers just go where our fearful followers in Ottawa send them. Canada's soldiers and lowest of the low "grunts" are several times the goodwill ambassadors that our political stooges would like to claim to be.

Jerry West

Supporting the troops means looking out after their welfare, decent pay, decent medical care, decent working conditions as much as possible given circumstances, support for their families, and so on. It means not alienating from the bigger society.

It also means not supporting putting them in harm's way when it is not truly necessary for the defense of the country or to save human lives.

By defining the meaning of support the troops we can deny the war monger's unconditional control of it, and turn it to our own purpose.

Supporting the troops should have nothing to do with Afghanistan except reinforcing the position that our country is actually not supporting them by sending them there in the first place under the conditions that they were sent.

quote:

Originally posted by genstrike:
But this meaningless bullshit does serve three purposes:

1. Distracting people from asking tough questions about the war
2. By equating it with supporting the war, promoting war and occupation
3. Smearing critics of the war as against the troops, which is as meaningless and bullshit as "support the troops"


[LIST][*]1. Or facing the with tough questions about the war[*]2. It can also be used to impeach the war[*]3. Not if we redefine its meaning
[/LIST]

quote:

We can't completely separate the troops from what they are ordered to do..

No, we can't, but it is a very complicated issue unless one is arguing that a country has no right to defend itself and maintain a military force to do so.

If that is the case, then debating this is a waste of time, it is a totally different matter.

quote:

Well, I would argue that their participation in an immoral, imperialist war is immoral, but as I alluded to in the last post, there are mitigating factors....

Right, as I said, it is a complicated issue.

quote:

Although, I have to say that most of the troops seem to be pretty gung-ho about following their leaders into war.

That is not true for all of them. And, if we had mandatory National Service instead of relying on volunteers, most of them would not be gung-ho and we would probably be less likely to get involved in unpopular wars.

quote:

Do you support the troops responsible for....

My concern is not about individual acts or particular missions, but about a class of people. People who commit individual crimes should be punished, and leaders who commit collective crimes, such as participating as the aggressor in war should also be held to account.

As for getting into the resonsibility of the average ranker for carrying out acts that are within the internationally acceptable bounds of warfare, that is a most complicated issue. If you haven't been there, it may be even harder to understand.

Like you said, there are mitigating circumstances.

Webgear

I think Remembrance Day is a dead issue, it is just another day of year for the most part. There will be a few news stories, opinion pieces and a some minor events over the next few days however for the majority of the country, it is just another day with little meaning.

The ceremonies are smaller in size each year, if there are any. The only people that attend them are usually old veterans and their families. In the next 10 years there will hardly be any veterans left in Canada.

The symbols are now meaning less and their stories are long forgotten here in Canada. Most people have no connection to past wars, even now with Afghanistan; most people of Canada have little association with the military.

Look at the wide selection of people here on babble, does anyone personally know a soldier that has been in Afghanistan?

I agree with M. Spector and genstrike’s posts. Supporting the troops mean supporting the war.

I have been following press statements recently from political parties lately, there is a common theme between all parties, when something bad happens (a wedding is bombed or a soldier is killed) all the parties release a statement. However when there is no stories, there are no releases or comments about Afghanistan.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Webgear:
[b]I think Remembrance Day is a dead issue, it is just another day of year for the most part.[/b]

Good-good, lest we examine history too closely for nitty gritty details surrounding the war to end all wars followed by part two, and forget about the Korean "conflict", and "Nam!", which was a continuation of the battle for French colonies in SE Asia. Now we are led to believe that Crazy George quagmire is somehow different to the quagmire in Iraq and every other U.S.-led military abortion. It [i]is[/i] different in the way that Canada's stoogeocracy fell for it hook, line and sinker.

quote:

[b]Look at the wide selection of people here on babble, does anyone personally know a soldier that has been in Afghanistan?[/b]

What kind of exclusive club is this? Does this mean Jerry, a veteran of war in Viet Nam, doesn't understand what's going down in Central Asia today? Does it mean that any slob like myself whose fathers and uncles went overseas in '39 has no clue about the army and who gives them marching orders? I think very many Canadians might resent those comments.

quote:

[b]I agree with M. Spector and genstrike’s posts. Supporting the troops mean supporting the war.[/b]

No it means supporting marching orders from Warshington to our Liberal and Tory stooges in Ottawa. Stooges like Pete Mackay and only show up in the stan for photo ops and wouldn't know an IED from his poop chute. Same goes for Manley and that Liberian steamships magnate with a lunchpail face.

Jingles

quote:


Look at the wide selection of people here on babble, does anyone personally know a soldier that has been in Afghanistan?

Yes I do.

And if the people of Afghanistan kill them, it will be just. If they willingly go, and unquestioningly support the occupation, then they frankly deserve the worst that the Afghan people can do to them.

Jerry West

quote:


MS:
That's not up to you and me. It's up to the government that employs them. Are you saying we should be carrying placards on the next anti-war demonstration saying, "Support the troops....

No, you miss the point. It is not about promoting support the troops, it is about taking exclusive possession of that position away from those who support the war.

quote:

The very fact of singling out the soldiers for our special "support" and concern....

Missed the point again. It is not about singling them out or special support.

quote:

The concerns of the people who operate the day-to-day business of our imperialist war machine are made to be the concerns of us all....

That would be school teachers, air traffic controllers, and anyone else who keeps our society functioning. We are all part of the war machine in one way or another.

quote:

One could easily argue that soldiers should never be put in harm's way, and call that supporting the troops.

Then logically one is arguing that there shouldn't be any troops to start with and no legitimate reason for society to physically resist anything including invasion and repression.

quote:

Once you allow that supporting the troops does not imply keeping them out of all combat situations, then you have to admit that the merits of a particular "mission" have a great deal to do with supporting the troops.

It depends on how you frame the meaning of support. Supporting troops and supporting missions do not have to be the same thing, except of course in the eyes of those who want to conflate the two and can not see any wider possibilities.

quote:

Besides, how exactly does opposing the war amount to "supporting" the troops?

It does if you consider removing them from situation where they can be killed or maimed or otherwise unduly harmed.

quote:

Do the troops in Afghanistan approve of our opposition to the war?

Probably a mixed bag. How many want to be killed or wounded? Besides approval or opposition to the war does not necessarily have to be related to supporting the well being of troops.

quote:

More importantly, why does our political and moral opposition to the war have to be predicated on what the troops want or what's in their best interests?

You are creating a strawman here. I haven't argued that opposition to the war has to be predicated on troops, nor would I.

What I do argue is that support for the troops does not have to mean support for any given war and can be turned to mean opposition to a war.

Notice the words "does not have to" and "can be."

quote:

I say the best interest of the troops doesn't enter into the equation at all. The war is wrong and should be ended, regardless of whether that's in the best interests of the troops.

I agree, but that is totally off point. If you want to argue the merits of the Afghan/Iraq War we should do it in another thread. Don't expect me to support it, I have only been writing against it for seven years. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

RosaL

[url=http://www.ppu.org.uk/whitepoppy/outlets.html]Where to get white poppies in Canada[/url] (perhaps).

Aristotleded24

quote:


Originally posted by Webgear:
[b]The ceremonies are smaller in size each year, if there are any. The only people that attend them are usually old veterans and their families. In the next 10 years there will hardly be any veterans left in Canada.[/b]

Really? I know in Brandon for the last few years Remembrance Day ceremonies have been well attended.

quote:

Originally posted by Webgear:
[b] Supporting the troops mean supporting the war.[/b]

Are you saying that anyone who does not agree with Canada being in Afghanistan hates the troops? That's how the pro-war voices in the US like to frame the debate.

Webgear

[i]I just read about the white poppy idea today in Metro

[url=http://www.metronews.ca/ottawa/local/article/135323]http://www.metronews... [/url]

Here is the announcement and contact info for the event from

[url=http://www.chuo.fm/node/3648] http://www.chuo.fm/node/3648[/url]

The Ottawa White Poppy Collective will lay a wreath decorated with white poppies
at the War Memorial on November 11 at 12:30 P.M.

We have chosen not to lay our wreath during the public wreath laying time near the end of the official ceremony to avoid any appearance of competition with or distraction from that ceremony. We will be conducting our own small ceremony as an alternative to the socially-sanctioned one. Meeting each year for a ceremony in which the trappings and nostalgia of war are clearly prominent will not end war. We remember all those who died and are dying in war, soldier and civilian alike, by working to prevent war. The white poppy is a symbol, a pledge that war must not happen again. It is also a challenge to the worn-out belief in violence as a means of conflict resolution.

History of the white poppy: in 1933 the Co-operative Women's Guild produced the first white poppies to be worn on Armistice Day (later called Remembrance Day). The idea for a white poppy arose from the concerns of the wives, mothers, sisters and lovers of the men who had died and been injured in World War One.

Increasingly aware of the likelihood of another war, they chose this symbol “as a pledge to Peace that war must not happen again.” See the Peace Pledge Union website:

[url=http://www.ppu.org.uk/whitepoppy/index.html.]http://www.ppu.org.uk/white...

[/i]

I recieved this info from a NOWAR/PAIX email. For anyone that is interested.

[ 09 November 2008: Message edited by: Webgear ]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

[url=http://tinyurl.com/5d8le6]White Poppies for Remembrance Day (Facebook)[/url]

[ 09 November 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]

Makwa Makwa's picture

I honestly don't understand what 'support the troops' means. My mother, father, uncles, grandfather all served at various times, and I respect their service on a personal level, and I am glad that the Canadian government joined the allies in WWII. I have a close friend who is an officer who trains people in a highly specialized, difficult and dangerous tasks, and I am impressed and amazed at the skills he has. Does this mean I 'support the troops?' Other than my personal connections to military life, I couldn't give a shit about the military in general, and have no idea why we are providing military support in Afghanistan. I may have respect and admiration for individual service persons, but in general, I can't say that I would 'support the troops' in an abstract way.

al-Qa'bong

quote:


The ceremonies are smaller in size each year, if there are any. The only people that attend them are usually old veterans and their families. In the next 10 years there will hardly be any veterans left in Canada.

They hold the Remembrance Day ceremony in our biggest public venue, Saskplace, which is filled almost to capacity every year.

quote:

Look at the wide selection of people here on babble, does anyone personally know a soldier that has been in Afghanistan?

Yeah, my cousin's been over there a few times as an instructor in bomb disposal. He told me about driving through Kabul at 65 m.p.h. with a bunch of guys with rifles all pointed outwards. It's apparently a dangerous place.

quote:

I agree with M. Spector and genstrike’s posts. Supporting the troops mean supporting the war.


I've worn poppies religiously all my life, except for the last two years. The "support the war" gang seems to have taken over the meaning behind the wearing of poppies these days.

The WWII vets I knew (I'd invite a few of them on to my radio show to talk about the importance of remembrance every year around this time; they've all died or are now too infirm to appear) universally condemned war. Their message was always one of peace.

When I'd ask them if they wanted to comment on the current war in Afghanistan, though, they refused. I recall one of them, his voice cracking with emotion, saying, "Why can't we find a way to solve our problems without killing?"

Another fellow, who landed on Juno on June 6, made buttons that said "Please Pray for World Peace." He handed these out during our marches against the Iraq war in 2003.

I'll always remember these men, and I'll always remember seeing tears well up in their eyes as they told about their young friends, who've they've just recently joined.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

One of our coast people was a Canadian Forces mechanic in Afganistan but I think he's back in Petawawa now.

Slumberjack

For 26 years as a soldier, I wore a red poppy on my uniform each Remembrance Day, because it was required as part of the dress code, and because no other substitutions to the official accroutements were permitted. I now have a choice about which colour poppy to wear. Although the funds generated from poppy sales do contribute to meaningful things such as assisting sick and disabled veterans of all ages, I always felt the Legion was more in tune with the ideology contained within that terrible Flanders Field poem than that of Wilfred Owen's classic. If only they would recite that one during Nov 11 ceremonies.

[url=http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen1.html]Dulce Et Decorum Est[/url]

[ 09 November 2008: Message edited by: Slumberjack ]

remind remind's picture

On Tuesday, I will be joining the ceremonies here, at the 11th hour, to remember and to honour.

Specifically, I will be remembering and honouring 13 very young men in my family history who lost their lives in a few short moments at Beaumont Hamel during the Battle of the Somme. And I will also honour my grandfather and his one remaining brother out of seven, who survived that terrible, terrible, day, which was but one of many in WWI. They were men whose physical bodies came home intact, however their minds were forever changed. They were the only 2 of 15 who went together, and who were not conscripted, because of the naпve ideological belief they were going for a true reason, the good of the many. Perhaps the reason was valid, perhaps it wasn’t, it is not my place to judge, as who knows how the world would have been shaped today, had they not, and had not others who went after in other wars and conflicts.

Though my great uncle came home, it was to only wander in the mists of his mind. A mind too sundered and grief stricken, to choose to live and struggle with the constant memories of that which was seen, smelled and heard. Thus his life, by his own hand, was abbreviated, not too many years past that of his brothers and cousins. My grandfather choose to live for those who were lost, giving memory to their very short lives, and who taught his children and grandchildren that war is never the answer. Unfortunately,  he too was taken too young by that first “great” war, as his body was eaten inside out from the hell of the gasings they had endured in those forsaken trenches in which they lived, fought and died. And today our family names bear the names of those who were lost from the pages of time, who never grew old, who never had a family of their own to go forth, carrying their deeds, and history with them.

I also will remember and honour my 2 uncles, who joined the war effort before they were conscripted for WWII, who went away as young men with flashing dimples and a zest for life and who came back old men aged beyond their years, with those dimples turned to slashes, marring their faces instead of enlightening them and even those would be rarely seen again. They lived their lives confined by memories that would surface and overwhelm their ability to live freely in the moment, without pain, fear and horror.

And thus, we the grandchildren and children, join with them, through their memories shared, to try to stop the practise of war, it self. How could we not? Our lives and our being is shaped from those terrible wars.

Beyond that, I will remember and respect all those other young men and women, whose lives were foreshortened, or whose lives were forever impacted and changed, in any of the war conflicts that Canada has been involved in, by those who would wilfully exploit their naivety and good faith, and use them like pawns in a chess game, for though own purposes, and not for the greater good all of all peoples. I will remember also, the lives of the innocents lost who were not Canadian, and who were ever as much the victims and pawns, of those who seek power for themselves and not the good of the many.

That is why I will participate on Tuesday, to remember and respect, and most importantly to reaffirm that war has got to stop, for the greater good of humanity.

remind remind's picture

I remember, respect, honour and affirm, that your lives, given or impacted, were not in vain, as I know war is never ever the answer. And I know that the many of the world know this too and that someday, we who know, will prevail.

May the rain of blessings fall upon those innocents and their families, who still endure war on their door steps, for the heinious crimes of  personal power and greed.

 

 

 

janfromthebruce

Slumberjack wrote:
For 26 years as a soldier, I wore a red poppy on my uniform each Remembrance Day, because it was required as part of the dress code, and because no other substitutions to the official accroutements were permitted. I now have a choice about which colour poppy to wear. Although the funds generated from poppy sales do contribute to meaningful things such as assisting sick and disabled veterans of all ages, I always felt the Legion was more in tune with the ideology contained within that terrible Flanders Field poem than that of Wilfred Owen's classic. If only they would recite that one during Nov 11 ceremonies.

[url=http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen1.html]Dulce Et Decorum Est[/url]

[ 09 November 2008: Message edited by: Slumberjack ]

Slumberjack, if kids had to recite that poem it would require them to think deeply about what a "sacrifice" it really is and that those who send them off to do battle aren't really ready to provide them with the best to survive. Thanks for posting that.

wage zombie

Just a heads up that Remembrance Day is less than two months away.  If you're so inclined, now's a good to figure out where to get white poppies.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/columnists_full.shtml?x=77117]Jerry West[/url] writes on rabble.ca:

Quote:

As we observe this Remembrance Day no doubt we will hear messages telling us to support the troops. We should do that, and we should also remember that supporting the troops is not the same as supporting a war. In fact the two are usually opposed to one another.

Jerry, the messages we will be hearing will be coming from the purveyors of the war itself, in a craven attempt to translate some natural sympathy for the ordinary soldier into support for our government's assault on the people of Afghanistan. The two concepts are not "usually opposed to one another." In fact, the two concepts are "usually" deliberately muddled together in order to manufacture consent for the war.

Surely, a little deconstruction of the official propaganda is in order.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Jerry West wrote:

The message here is that supporting troops and supporting wars are two separate things. They may or may not coincide. From my experience they usually do not.

Your experience may be very different from mine. Maybe you don't have people sporting yellow-ribbon decals and red shirts on Fridays - all of whom are invariably supporters of the war. Here in Ontario we do.

The military and government popularizers of the war on Afghanistan are behind the whole campaign. They try to pretend that joining their campaign doesn't mean supporting the war, because they know the war is unpopular. Most sensible people can see through that ruse.

Ask the person who sold you your poppy whether [s]he thinks Canada should be at war in Afghanistan. He or she will say yes.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Jerry West wrote:

Supporting the troops means looking out after their welfare, decent pay, decent medical care, decent working conditions as much as possible given circumstances, support for their families, and so on. It means not alienating from the bigger society.

That's not up to you and me. It's up to the government that employs them. Are you saying we should be carrying placards on the next anti-war demonstration saying, "Support the troops - increase their pay" or "Better dental benefits for military families - NOW"?

The very fact of singling out the soldiers for our special "support" and concern - as opposed to, say, school teachers or air traffic controllers - speaks volumes about the real content of your "support the troops" meme. The concerns of the people who operate the day-to-day business of our imperialist war machine are made to be the concerns of us all. They become some sort of special-status group that we have special responsibilities towards, that we don't have towards any other group in society.

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It also means not supporting putting them in harm's way when it is not truly necessary for the defense of the country or to save human lives.

I don't want anyone put in harm's way, whether librarian, letter carrier, bus driver, dental technician, or soldier. Yet only one of these occupational groups, it seems, is entitled to the demonstrative support of the population - by sporting yellow ribbon stickers, red shirts, and poppies. What's up with that?

Isn't there something else going on here, besides merely being concerned for the welfare of our fellow citizens?

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Supporting the troops should have nothing to do with Afghanistan except reinforcing the position that our country is actually not supporting them by sending them there in the first place under the conditions that they were sent.

One could easily argue that soldiers should never be put in harm's way, and call that supporting the troops.

Once you allow that supporting the troops does not imply keeping them out of all combat situations, then you have to admit that the merits of a particular "mission" have a great deal to do with supporting the troops. If sending our troops to Normandy in World War Two was a good idea (let's assume for the moment), would it have made sense to say that we should support them by bringing them home? No. "Support them by bringing them home" can only apply to conflicts we don't approve of. So it's not really about supporting the troops, but about opposing the war, and using "support the troops" as some kind of meta-language standing in for "end the war"? Why the semiotic contortionism?

Besides, how exactly does opposing the war amount to "supporting" the troops?

Do the troops in Afghanistan approve of our opposition to the war? If not, how are we "supporting" them by calling for something they don't want?

More importantly, why does our political and moral opposition to the war have to be predicated on what the troops want or what's in their best interests? What about our best interests, or the best interests of the people of Afghanistan?

I say the best interest of the troops doesn't enter into the equation at all. The war is wrong and should be ended, regardless of whether that's in the best interests of the troops.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
genstrike

If anyone is in Winnipeg looking for white poppies, give me a shout

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/memetics-and-semiotics-poppy]U... link to Part 1 of this thread[/url]

 

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[url=http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/433275]More poppy-ganda in the schools:[/url]

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"All of these freedoms we have we tend to take for granted," says Guthrie, who was a peacekeeper in 1956 and is now the first vice-president of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 530, in Waterloo. "But let me tell you -- these freedoms were not free. They were paid for. Paid for dearly by great Canadian blood."

He tells the 130 students in Grade 7 at W.T. Townshend school about wars Canadian soldiers have fought, including the Boer War in 1899, the First World War from 1914 to 1918, the Second World War from 1939 to 1945 and today's war in Afghanistan....

Sabrina Ramnath, 11, says she'll wear her poppy every day because it reminds her of the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers. "I think the soldiers are brave that they gave up their lives so we could be here today."

Yes, we are so lucky that those Canadian soldiers died in the Boer War and Afghanistan so that we can be forever free from the scourges of fascism and militarism.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

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In case you are not familiar with what we would be encouraged to refer to as "the growing row", the facts are these. At the time of writing 15 Premier League clubs have applied for special dispensation to embroider a poppy on their shirts for games between now and Remembrance Sunday, while – far more thrillingly for the Mail – five clubs have not. They are Blackburn, Bolton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Stoke, and while some have declined to explain their decision, a Manchester United spokesman has stated: "We don't think it's particularly necessary. We sell poppies around the ground and all our officials wear them and we work with armed forces charities in a lot of other ways throughout the year." Is hanging too good for them? Doubtless we shall find out.

Spare us the phoney poppy apoplexy

Caissa

Our 7 year old son's poem of the week was In Flanders Fields. When he is  a bit older I'll share Dulce et Decorum Est with him.

Doug

Webgear wrote:
Look at the wide selection of people here on babble, does anyone personally know a soldier that has been in Afghanistan?.

Yes, I do. I'd also disagree that supporting the troops means supporting the war. Some of them aren't pleased with having had to go get shot at to no good end.

Bacchus

I know many, plus a civilian contractor. Some are happy to go because the money they make is great. Others weren't happy but more because of the disruption to their social or family life than any held fear.

E.Tamaran

I know many who have been to the 'stan. Many people from my community have joined the military. The warrior has always been respected by the people here, if not by the people who sent them into harm's way.

Jingles

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The warrior has always been respected by the people here, if not by the people who sent them into harm's way.

They're not warriors. They're civil servants. Like postal workers. The only difference is that postal workers are actually productive members of society. And postal workers seldom kill people.

E.Tamaran

Jingles wrote:

They're not warriors. They're civil servants.

They've been known as warriors since long before these shores were stolen. You should learn some history.

Unionist

I remember that post and I neglected to congratulate M. Spector on it the first time round. It bears re-reading.

 

saganisking

As far as the support the troops equals support the war theory - I think it shows that many make ignorant comments about people they like to think they know - vetrans, working class people, soldiers, ect.  I say this because I know many in my own family and family friends who are in these categories, some even have yellow ribbons on their cars, and to think that they all have the same opinion on whether Canadians forces should be in Afghanistan just because they have a bumper sticker is ridiculous. It's strange how some babblers think themselves so sophisticated in their thinking and others as simple rubes when it comes to participating in democracy and yet these same babblers completely overlook the importance of history and symbols to a feeling of shared citizenship unlike the so called uneducated working classes which understand it quite well. 

As Ma Joad said in Grapes of Wrath - we're the people.

saganisking

well said ElizaQ

remind remind's picture

Tigana yes I think I do have a  polished version somewhere

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

dp

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Tigana wrote:

 

E.Tamaran wrote:

Jingles wrote:

They're not warriors. They're civil servants.

They've been known as warriors since long before these shores were stolen. You should learn some history.

Ok, so, the warriors are working for the thieves who stole their land to help them steal more land?

Must have been pretty confusing when they went to Barriere Lake. 

 

Or maybe not so confusing as E. Tammaran may be talking about a different community and maybe even a whole different nation who may have different viewpoints then others. No homogenous thinking and all that. 

Or maybe only confusing to you because you don't actually know of understand a particular communities relationship with members who join the armed forces, warriors  et al and that it's a bit more complex then just traitors vs non-traitors. Hmm like maybe that some groups of warriors are quite content to have past members of the forces in their ranks because.... I let you ponder some reasons  why as maybe it's better unsaid.  Or that maybe they're not content as there are suspcisions around loyalty, or maybe heck with a particular group of warriors there might be people that think different things about it but someone manage to get along because of things like unity for a cause and all that.

Or maybe confusing because just as in non-native communities all people don't think the same (think Babble), don't hold the same political viewpoints and that there isn't just some sort of across the board FN's 'think' whether in a particular community or across the the nation.

I know it must be confusing but I expect more confusing for those on the outside looking in then those actually participating in things that happen in different FN's community.

 

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

  For some reason I'm not surpised that the first response has to do with my cred. I could give a rats ass about your cred because it makes little difference to the substance of my response. It ain't about cred it's about pointing out diversity.    You're welcome to your opinions on the matter but when statements that are so generalized and so broad come out like in your response then yes I'm going to express my opinion back.   That's why I didn't make any carte blanche statements about how 'they; must be 'confused'  but listed a variety of different viewpoints that I have personally come across when it comes to this issue. Not even close to all of them either, but that really was part of the main point. There isn't just one way of thinking about it with many far from black and white or binary, either/or.   Maybe thats the way most in the communities or people your connected with think. I dunno and don't particularly care.  That hasn't been my experience.

  I also choose not to try to psychologize an entire group of people  like talking about confusion and denial/  Personally I find that insulting and incredibly paternalistic.     If that's your thing then fine, go for it but don't expect others to not respond to it.

 

edited to add:  I have no problem with removing the image.  The only reason it came up was because I used the quote function which copies everything.  Also since I'm on dial-up images are turned off and I never see them.

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