Tuesday was the 100th anniversary of the Britain’s entry into WWI – the ‘Great War’ – the ‘War to End All Wars’.
Not a day for celebration, in my opinion. Rather a time to feel pity for the obscenely large numbers of young men who died horrible, futile deaths; to feel sadness that this was in fact only the first of many such conflicts; and to feel shame that nearly 100 years of “Remembrance Sundays” have passed without any real lessons ever being learned.
Also, for all the reasons noted above, I am angered by the UK government’s suggestion that 2014 be some sort of year of commemoration – as if the start of a war is reason for celebration! This anniversary should not be an excuse for flag waving – quite the opposite.
Sadly Westminster, desperately in need of a bit of “national pride” in this year of Scotland’s Referendum on Independence, has latched on to the start of arguably the bloodiest war in human history as something we can all get behind. Ironically, everyone seems to be firmly agreed that this is seedy, disrespectful and a Very Bad Thing.
As I posted previously, 2014 also marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Scots, in my experience, remember this battle as a victory over an invading army and the end point of years of turmoil. The fight that settled the issue of Scotland’s independence, at least for a while. Such a happy coincidence that the septcentennial fell this year.
I said “at least for a while” because I’m reading Andrew Laing’s A short history of Scotland at the moment, and not a chapter goes by without some power-hungry, perfidious “noble” trying to sell Scotia’s independence for influence, a handful of gold or a wee bit land.
It seems to me that all of Scotland’s troubles, all of them, have been due to the avarice and/or ineptitude of monarchs, land owners and clergy. I fervently look forward to a YES vote and our chance to build a new and better Scotland.