Wednesday, April 07, 2004

It's been a long, long time coming. But I know a change is gonna come.

Today US helicopters fired three missiles at a mosque in Iraq, killing 40 people.

Yesterday, it was announced that there would be £7.3m lottery funds being given towards celebrating the work of the Home Front and the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war.

Let me put it another way. While celebrating our Home Front, our Dad's Army, our last line of resistance etc, we are blowing the hell out of Iraq's and a good many innocent civilians too.

I find the timing of the lottery money allocation sickening. I am sorry, but much as we should never forget the lessons of past wars, I think it is time to stop celebrating the triumphs.

Yes we "won". And millions were killed on both sides. It was not glorious. It was a war that had to be fought and it had to be won. We should never forget the heroism but these memories should also include the horror that was both world wars.

In school I learned nothing of the world wars. I learned nothing of our shameful imperialistic past. In history I learnt about William the Conqueror and I learnt about the industrial revolution. But I learnt nothing that was modern enough to be relevant.

I remember tabloid newspaper headlines a decade or so ago about so-called loony left councils that were advocating peace studies. It's an easy target. Let's laugh at the hippies. It's political correctness gone mad etc etc.

But what about peace studies? Is it such a bad idea? Perhaps it could incorporate the history of war with the emphasis on human cost rather than glory.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I am just too cynical.

Does no one else find it sickening that while literally millions of people in this country oppose the war, Blair is investing money in promoting a time when the folks back home rallied round the flag and did their bit for the war effort?

It is blatantly obvious why the US was for the war and the majority of Europe against it. The US has not suffered a modern war. Isolated incidents like Pear Harbour and 9/11 aside it has not had its cities bombed and burnt. Europe has suffered. It has also learnt the lessons of war. It is these lessons we should be investing in.

Perhaps if Bush hadn't dodged Vietnam by virtue of privilege then perhaps, he too would have learnt the lesson.

Today 40 Iraqis died. To quote the Guardian: "The strike came as worshippers were gathering at the mosque for their afternoon prayers."

The report closes: "Senior Pentagon officials believe that the current situation is a 'test of wills' between US-led troops and resistance fighters and insist they will prevail".

It is not a 'test of wills'. It is a test of how many people each side are willing to sacrifice in the name of winning their own battle. It is that abhorrent. And the "wills" they are referring to, on the American side, are the wills of politicians thousands of miles away. Not the will of the soldiers.

This war was a mistake. Those people who marched against the war at the outset did so believing Iraq probably did have WMDs, but we still felt war was wrong. It turned out there were no WMDs, yet still the war is being fought and people are dying. Still Bush and Blair are defending their decisions.

So those of you who believe this war is right - how many of you would be willing to give your life for your beliefs? Would you fight for what you believe in? Would you put yourself at risk? If you wouldn't make that ultimate sacrifice, then ask yourself why you believe it is right that others should.

The recent insurgency is a further reminder that the war is not over. It was never over. It wasn't over when the statue of Hussain fell. It wasn't over when Bush flew in to say it was. While there are people dying, no one can say it is over.

Does anyone really believe that in 10 years time it will really be over?

So, while the war is still on-going, the campaign to stop the war must also continue. This is an illegal war fought over false pretences. It is important that the millions who mobilised at the outset of war shouldn't be distracted or endure protest fatigue.

As regards previous wars it's not the heroism we should be remembering but the sacrifices made by so many.

By investing in remembering the last world war, Blair is investing in nationalism. He is investing in nostalgia for a time when the country was united behind it's leader and its troops. In 2004, this is not the case. There is no just cause for this war.

If this war can be stopped, and if Blair is one day made to pay for his role, then we can move on as a country into a new era where, hopefully, war once again becomes as abhorrent to its politicians as it is to its people.


Love, light and peace,

BykerSink

I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.