The Red Poppy: Remembering Armistice DayPolitics / Social Issues Nov 11, 2012 - 11:12 AM GMT
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 2012, we remember those who died in the two great wars so that we could all live freely. Just contemplate the symmetry and synchronicity of the same hour on the same day in the same month in 1918 when the First World War came to an end. Never before had people witnessed such industrialised slaughter, with tens of thousands falling per day to machine guns and poison gas. Horrific, grotesque and terrifying.
Red Remembrance Poppy
The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of "Remembrance Day" due to the poem "In Flanders Fields" written during the "War to end all wars" by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
3rd May 1915
In silence, on the 94th anniversary of the end of the First World War on Remembrance Day, we remember the 16+ million who died in WW-I, the 50+ million who died in WW-II, the many tens of millions who have died in subsequent wars, and countless sentient beings who are still dying in many unnecessary wars. Whilst there can be no words to describe the horror of war for those who have lost their loved ones and for those whose family members have been injured or maimed, there are some leading writers and poets who have, throughout history, attempted to capture the crushing gravity of that brutal and morbid black hole which humanity nonchalantly calls war. This is our existential crisis. For those of us in the allied nations, we have to recognise that not only did our citizens suffer but also the citizens of the vanquished countries suffered equally or even more. In the post-war era, the effect of that joint suffering has been a palpable metamorphosis in collective Unity Consciousness.
As Chief Seattle said, "Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect!" Towards the end of this briefing, we would like to present, Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est", the best known poem of the First World War, which rather accurately describes the horror of war, and the pity of war. We invite you to meditate for inner peace, tranquillity and global unity -- amongst all sentient beings -- on this day and every day. Regardless of our outer differences, in our within, and via our myriad inter-linkages with each other, we are in essence all one!
One Great War: Two Chapters
94 years ago the guns of the First World War fell silent after more than four years of the most murderous conflict the world had ever known. Worse was yet to come. If there hadn’t been a first world war, there probably wouldn’t have been a second, precisely two decades later. The treaty of Versailles did not help matters at all. The demise of four out of the nine sovereign empires of the time -- Prussian, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman -- paved the way for even more degenerate despots to seize power undemocratically, who initiated yet another heart-breaking cycle of tragedy. The two conflicts are irrevocably linked and eventually history will treat them as just one. The US emerged from this conflict as the pre-eminent “superpower,” ending Europe’s global dominance, which had begun with the defeat of the Turks at Lepanto in 1571. The remaining five empires – British, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish – hastened their long retreat, letting go of previously colonised people in hundreds of millions to pursue their own destinies.
New Europe from the Ashes of the Old
Europe saw the era that dawned after the Second World War as the beginning of a chastened continent’s efforts to recover, to fight its way back to prominence, not through conflict, but through co-operation. Jean Monnet gave birth to the European Community, which later became the European Union, and is a product of the continent’s dedication to the principle that there shall be no more wars on European soil. Economic co-operation eventually led to political co-operation and even to a common currency – the Euro – for 17 EU nations, married in monetary but not fiscal union. The 27 countries that are currently members of the EU share the world’s largest economy, more than $14 trillion GDP.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime ...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
8th October 1917 -- March, 1918
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori is a line from the Roman lyrical poet Horace's Odes (iii 2.13). The line can be rendered in English as: "It is sweet and honourable to die for one's country." In classical Latin it was pronounced, "dulcet decorumst pro patria mori," due to poetic elision and prodelision.
Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, MC (March 18, 1893 – November 4, 1918) was an English poet and soldier, regarded by some as the leading poet of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trench and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and sat in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at the time, and to the patriotic verse written earlier by war poets such as Rupert Brooke. Some of his best-known works -- most of which remained unpublished until after his death -- include Dulce Et Decorum Est, Anthem for Doomed Youth, Futility, and Strange Meeting. His preface intended for a book of poems to be published in 1919 contains numerous well-known phrases, especially 'War, and the pity of War', and 'the Poetry is in the pity'. He is just as well-known for having been killed in action at the Sambre-Oise Canal just a week before the war ended, causing news of his death to reach his home as the town's church bells declared peace.
By DK Matai
Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance (ATCA) & The Philanthropia
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ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians; 1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs; 750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major media.
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