LETTER: Why do we celebrate war?

This year we will “commemorate” the start of the First World War. Will we do so with wisdom, or only in the usual fashion?

This year we will “commemorate” the start of the First World War. Will we do so with wisdom, or only in the usual fashion polluted by politics and politicians’ demand to forget the pathology of how that war came to be?

The war was avoidable. Repeat that a few times. Most wars are. The war with Hitler, universally agreed to have been a very good thing for all who fought the Nazis, never need have happened. The First World War is the origin of the Second World War; no serious historian thinks otherwise.

The vast abyss between what historians know and try to teach, and what the public mind knows about wars of our past, keeps us from ever learning from history. Politicians have no interest in educating us. They want only to keep us in a state of ignorance and illusion so we will go to war the next time they and their masters decide Canada must use violence to “solve” an international problem.

We have been violent in Afghanistan in a way unprecedented in Canadian history. Canadians do not know it was radically unlike what we have done in the past.

Now, having done such a mission once, we are ripe to be led into others like it. The Afghan Mission was of no lasting value. Its cost to our public debt and in lives is absolutely unjustifiable.

But it will be justified ad infinitum by governments, parties, the legion, and all military families; the latter have to feel the “sacrifice” of some of their members in the war have “meaning.”

Sorry to say it, but no one is assured that their death has meaning. Death in war is not more noble than death on the job in any other occupation. Soldiers are not automatic heroes. Their death can be a waste, and by far most of them are.

The First World War will be remembered according to official memory, which was written by the same people who wrote the justifications of the war while it was happening.

The needs of past generations to explain and comfort themselves for that horrible, stupid war, will dictate that we continue to distort what really caused the war and the insanity that continued it, and the total failure to make a peace that was just and avoided future wars. The grief we feel for loved ones lost in war is exploited by the need for government to manufacture consent  for the next war.

Please resist the ceremonial spell our public media and politicians and interest groups will try to cast over us in commemorations for that so-called “Great War.”

 

Charles Jeanes

Nelson

Just Posted

Nelson searches for answers to fentanyl crisis

A packed event Wednesday featured seven speakers and plenty of questions

Police ask city for $100K budget increase

The extra money is needed to cover salary costs

Nelson firefighter wage negotiations in year six

Firefighting is an essential service, so strikes are illegal

EcoSociety asks city to become 100 per cent renewable

The plan would have Nelson ditch fossil fuels by 2050

Finding support at Community Connect

The 10th annual event offered free services, clothing and food on Saturday

COLUMN: Let’s keep your money circulating in the West Kootenay

Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson on buying locally

Doug Bothamley Cash Spiel returns this weekend

The annual tournament runs Friday to Sunday at the Nelson Curling Centre

COLUMN: Taking another look at Kelowna

Columnist Donna Macdonald finds many things to love about the city Nelsonites love to hate

Earthquake gently rocks Nelson to sleep

Did you feel the earthquake? (Probably not)

RDCK holds open house on proposed boat launch

RDCK hosted an open house at Blewett Elementary to discuss plans for a boat launch at Taghum Beach

LVR Bombers volleyball team off to provincials

The senior girls’ squad secured a spot with a win over Trail last week

West Kootenay-Boundary hospital district at odds with province, IHA over Arrow Lakes project

To get things moving, the RHD funded 100 per cent of planning costs instead of the usual 40 per cent

Panda picks Argonauts for the win

Giant panda at the Toronto Zoo picks Argos to win Grey Cup on Sunday

Most Read