serious stuff

Why I’m not wearing a red poppy this year – or probably ever again…

I’ve had a problem with the ‘poppy appeal’ for a long time. It began when I noticed the words ‘Haig Fund’ stamped into the plastic centre of each poppy. “Butcher Haig” the commander responsible for the colossal death toll during the Battle of the Somme. My history teacher taught us that Haig ordered his men to walk across no-mans land – right into the hail of enemy gunfire! So, I’ve kind of had a personal suspicion about this fund ever since.

In recent years I feel that my historic grudge has been justified. The marketing of poppies has become quite a business. They are no longer just twee little paper things – oh no. You can now choose from all manner of poppy bling. I’d have no real problem with that though, if it was for a good cause – but I really, truly don’t believe it is.

The two minute silence at 11am on the 11th of November has become ‘Remembrance weekend’ – as if it’s a jolly holiday! It is increasingly a glorification of war – especially this year, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI – the very, very opposite of the symbol’s original intention. And last year came the final straw for me. This image:

Future feckin soldiers! I can’t express the anger and disgust I feel looking at the image.
I’m so sick of the glorification of war. Of rich, fat politicians wearing poppies as they plan their wars and scheme to drop bombs on innocent people. Of news readers wearing poppies as they ghoulishly report a litany of horrors. It makes me furious beyond endurance. I reject the red poppy and everything it’s come to represent.
For some years I’ve just not worn a poppy at all. This year though I’ve chosen to make a real, visual statement. This year I’m wearing a white poppy for peace.
white poppies for peace

You can’t claim to ‘remember the fallen’ one day a year then wander round the world declaring war and dropping bombs all the rest of the time. That is hypocrisy of the worst sort.

The only real way to commemorate the sacrifice is to stop the fighting. War is not glorious. It’s ugly, painful and destructive.
I reject false remembrance and encourage everyone to choose a white poppy – for peace.
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