Saturday, November 10, 2018

Nov. 10: There'll be bluebirds over...

...The white cliffs of Dover\
Tomorrow, when the world is free.
There'll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
Tomorrow,  just you wait and see.

I was a very young child when I heard that recording of the wonderful Vera Lynn. She gave a dreadful world a sense of hope. We were fighting for a reason. We were making a better world.

And today.....

Is this the world Canadians died for? We'll come back to this.
Some years ago,  I visited Vimy Ridge where Canadian troops achieved a stunning victory in World War 1. There I saw the memorial to the Canadians. And it was a stunning sight.. But I found photos of it in today's news somehow flat and less impressive. So I turned to a government site for photos.

Alas! It, too, was flat. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe you need to climb up the tunnels to the top of the ridge where Canadians defeated the Germans. And maybe you need to stand on the ridge, and look down over the line of advance.

Sorry. I just couldn't find any photo that captured  the magnificence and beauty of that memorial. You have to go there.

Another story that won't make Brunswick News, despite its importance.

The U.S., for all its bullying posture, is a power in decline. And that's why we're seeing Russia and China moving in as the peace brokers.
Remembering war should not mean glorifying it.

God is on our side. Yes,  God is on our side. If it were otherwise, our clergy would have told us.

Don't worry. If climate change were happening, our Brunswick News would tell us. And a thoughtful man, I mean a  really thoughtful one like our new premier Mr. Blaine Higgs, would tell us, too. Yes, he would.

Canada's prime minister gushed apologies to Jews for Canada's refusal to help Jewish refugees in the 1930s. (He should have included all the years up to 1948).
But now, when Israelis are abusing Palestinians just as  Germans once abused Jews, he sees nothing, hears nothing....

This next one is very long, but well worth the read. We are always told that wars are about good guys and bad guys - with our side always the good one. And that is simple-minded nonsense. Almost all wars are about greed. And, often, they're about greed on both sides.

You want examples? Check out almost every war in U.S. history, including the 70 or so since 1940. Oh, also check out the American revolution. A battle for equality? Not likely. There was no equality for women, none for slaves, and none for men who were poor. And it is not a coincidence that the American leader was George Washington - who was probably the richest man in the U.S. - and the man who would fire up  the plundering of native peoples.

A big story in US/Canada news? Not in New Brunswick's irving press.

I shall comment further on this later on.

And one of many signs of western rebellion against U.S. rule of the world.

Wildfires aren't caused by climate change. We know that because Mr. Trump says so. Anyway, that terrible California fire was caused by poor forest management. Mr. Trump even said so.

On Nov. 11, I remember Bertie.

Bertie was a big kid - but slow. He quit school in grade four when he was fifteen. He used to come play with me. I was  only six then. But, well, he was really six, two. We had great times. He'd push me in my car, and he'd yell as he ran.

Then, when he was sixteen, he appeared wearing a khaki uniform. He had stolen his older brother's draft papers, and joined the army. He loved that uniform. He'd march forever listening for the click of his heels on the pavement. His mother said she'd report it. But she never did.

It was many years later I met a man who had been with him in his first action.

"We were just inside the German border, all of us face down in the dirt with a German machine gun cutting the air above us. I think Bertie was cryin'. Yeah. He was crying'. Hell, he was only sixteen, a kid.

Then, suddenly he jumped up screamin', and the machine gun cut him in half.

Craziest thing. When he jumped up, he was screamin' for his mother."

The family got a notice he was buried in The Netherlands. It was, of course, under his brother's name. The family said they'e report that.. But they never did. Then the government sent them a big cheque. They drank it in a few weeks.

Not until many years later would I visit his grave, and get the name changed

And so, on Nov. 11, I don't think much about glory or heroism. I think about why Bertie and so many others died. And I wonder why so many have had to die since. And I wonder why they're still dying.

Since 1945, the U.S. has scarcely ever known a year of peace.

There was Korea. And no, that was not fought to protect us from Korea. And no, it was not fought to bring democracy. Both Koreas were dictatorships. Both continued as dictatorships. The purpose of the war was to give the U.S. a base to attack China - because U.S. big money wanted to control the China market. The Americans fight wars for the same reason the British Empire did - to plunder nations for the benefit of the very wealthy, and to murder all who obected. (Britain still does that, but on a much smaller scale.)

All of America's wars since then have been fought for much the same reason, to give wealthy Americans control of the world's resources and it's economies. All are wars to make the rich richer. That's been true of Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and it will be true of Iran. That's why Trump slaps trade 'sanctions' on Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba.......

Nobody knows how many have been killed. It could be 30 million. It could be more, many, many more. We cooperate with U.S. billionaires in starving children to death. And we are now planning the final war that could put an end to all human life.

No, I don't think that's what we thought we were about when Vera Lynn sang,  "Tomorrow, just you wait and see".

No. We have betrayed everything we told our Canadian fighters in World War 2 and Korea, and Libya, and Afghanistan they were fighting for. And this, too, is important to remember on Nov. 11.

But we won't remember it. No. We'll settle for the usual, brainless speeches by clergy while we plunge ahead into the greatest destruction ever known to satisfy the greed of the most savagely greedy people ever known.


  1. Graeme, the best photos of the Vimy memorial were black and white. The absence of distracting colour conveys the solemnity of the memorial's architecture.

    1. good idea. I'll look for some. When I was there, the most powerful influence i felt was standing on the ridge, and looking down at the tremendous drop, and the sense of power over miles of countryside.

  2. And, yes, the development of autonomous, hunter/killer robotic vehicles is much more than the introduction of new weaponry. It crosses a dangerous divide. No one has ever held a proper debate on this departure and what it means for civilization, even humanity. To take what is an unfeeling, uncaring lump of machinery and vest in it the power to not only kill but to decide whose life shall be taken and whose spared is really diabolical. It takes the moral responsibility for taking someone's life out of human hands and there's nowhere else for that to go. The moral factor is extinguished.

    Gwynne Dyer, in his book, "Climate Wars," foresees an American border with Mexico defended by autonomously-firing machine gun towers. For as climate change and the breakdown of civil society sweeps Central America a great many people will have to run for safety or watch their families and their children die. I fear that we'll eventually see plenty more of this barbarism occurring around the world.

    1. My heart sank as I read this. But I know you're right.