Last November, although I didn’t know it at the time, was the last time I will make my annual visit to ward park, respectfully dressed with military medals gleaming to remember the fallen. Year on year I have listened to the message given by an appointed holy man that the deaths of young men and women in the Armed Forces are in some way righteous and noble. It is not and there is no glory in war.
Lest we forget, a phrase borrowed from a time before the First World War but used extensively after it, is by far the most over-used and least understood collection of words in our language. Since the First World War the British have had a hand in over 30 aggressive, military campaigns around the world. Yet annually we chant the mantra from our hymn sheets of ‘Lest we Forget’. It would appear that we forgot the horror and suffering the very second WW1 ended.
As our Government continually try to drag us into wars around the world, the drone-like public gleefully carry on with their programme of military worship. The Armed Forces are adorned with salutations of honour and festooned with glorious words like heroes, our boys and support our troops. We were all rightly disgusted by the ugly images that surrounded the death of Drummer Lee Rigby, yet we the British public, do not bat an eyelid at the millions of innocents that have been slaughtered in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Syria. Why is that? Are the millions of lives lost in foreign countries at the hands of our Military/Government any less important than the life of one of our own soldiers?
It is time to stop this Military worship that allows our Government to wantonly wage war around our planet. We the public need to be honest with ourselves and realise that our blind loyalty and support to the mechanics that deliver death and destruction to foreign countries is wrong. Our support and loyalty implicates everyone who blindly follows the Government’s mantra that the lives of brown people in their own countries are worth less than the citizens of our own country.
Kieran Devlin is a member of Veterans For Peace UK.