Only a few weeks ago I was involved in some actions against the Arms Fair. A place where Arms dealers from around the world came to show off their fineries, compare the size of their missiles and flash the cash. A place where Arms companies can be found to be dealing in items of torture. Dealers were wined and dined in heritage landmarks like the Cutty Sark and put in the finest of hotels to rise early to discuss and deal in death over a nice Almond Croissant and a flat white. All of this subsidised by the British tax payers through sweeteners bullshit bullshit bullshit. As if the War Machine needs subsidising at all. But this is not about the Arms Fair this is about the War Machine on our doorstep.
So for the last few weeks on FB as Novemeber 11th comes closer the more and more discussions I have been having with people regarding the not wearing of the Red Poppy and the financing of war machine. I won’t go into depth on my reasoning because to me it seems more than obvious, Conscription, Cannon fodder, Capitalism, Child soldiers, PTSS, Orphans, Torture, Rape, Murder, Land Grabs, Imperialism and so on. I understand the atrocities put before my grandparents and thousands of others in the Great War. I know that these were battles to them that would allow me the privilege to choose the way I remember those fallen. But I choose to remember all victims of war by wearing a White Poppy. I know that people are suffering every second of my day through the efforts of the war machine. Appearances of Massive hoardings covered in pictures of crippled ex service men and emblazoned with Red Poppies have swamped the bill boards. Stalin would have been impressed.
After another lunch time filling up the comment threads on fb about how the British Legion Is part of the war machine and you can still show your respects in other ways. We discussed origins and meanings of White Poppies (PPU) and Red Poppies (British Legion) personal stories and nationalist views, Flanders, Northern Ireland, Syria and Iraq and uncles and grandfathers. Many have started to realise that it isn’t an insult to wear a white poppy. So today was the first day I wore my poppy to work. On the usual rammed rush hour tube journey I looked around to see who else I could spot wearing a white poppy. I do it every year and when occasionally I do see someone with a white poppy we look at each other and we know, we know the true horrors of war and that we have made a stance at stopping it and will not finance it. Nope no white poppies to be found but the splattering of red on High Street suits was more than abundant and we have another 12 days of this.
I arrived at work and passed a few managers with their red poppies, one tucked into his hard hat so the red on the white definitely had a nationalistic stance to it. Some of these managers I know well and I know they say they do not support the war. So are they wearing them out of the fear of being accused they don’t care or is this the only way they know how to go about showing their respect. Later in the canteen the glances and stares were sending me messages but what? That I am somehow confronting them with some weapon of peace, making them feel threatened and vulnerable that they don’t want to emasculate themselves by saying they don’t agree with war. What is it that creates such a reaction to the Simple White Poppy of peace.
I got home from work and read a brilliant piece by Lindsey German written for the Stop the War Coalition on why she won’t be wearing a poppy and a piece about this bereaved Pakistani family who had travelled 7000 miles to testify to congress about the day a drone killed the woman they said was ‘the string that held the pearls together’ and tell their story of the loss of their mother and grandmother killed by a Drone. Turned on the BBC News to see the presenter wearing a poppy to me a symbol of British Imperialism and war. Not a good look for the BBC world service I would say. And by paying your TV license you are paying to promote war curtsey of the BBC in partnership with the British Legion financiers of wars past and present.
Later a friend phoned and I invited her round for a cuppa. We arranged that she come round in a little as I was getting in the bath. I slipped into my bath and washed away the dirt of the day. Just as I was starting to the relax the buzzer went on my door and I assumed my friend had arrived early so I grabbed a towel and went to the door only to find a twenty something girl canvassing on behalf of the British Legion trying to sell me a poppy on my own fucking doorstep. I stood there on my own doorstep half naked and she wanted to start some pitch on asking for donations for soldiers past and……..Stop right there. Are you for real British Legion? You are going around peoples houses emotionally blackmailing them to make a donation for people being killed and injured on “our” behalf. How dare you come to our doors and shake you murdering money boxes in our faces and have some innocent chugger pitch your skilled guilt trip for you. In these times of recession when some people can’t even heat their homes or put a good meal on the table 7 days in a row and you go and guilt trip them into buying a poppy. This is nothing short of criminal. The raising of money for funding war in such ways is immoral. So after being told I was a pacifist and wore a white poppy and one on my door ,we agreed that at least we both “appreciate” her words not mine that people are being killed in wars.
So that was why I decided to write this as I have had a day of being surround by the adulation and glorification of war and I object to the intrusion at my front door. And again whilst typing this, finishing off when someone just buzzed my door and my partner answered the door. “The British Legion would like to know if you would be interested in making monthly donations? We won’t take any money out of your account for the first…….” No your right you won’t be taking any money out of my account. So twice in one day the British Legion has canvassed my house bringing their propaganda to my door. How much money is this campaign costing? I want the British Legion to know that I feel that this campaign borders on harassment. It disgusts me, it makes me very sad, but most of all it makes me fucking angry. Take your warmongering rhetoric and fuck off.
http://www.ppu.org.uk ……..Bringing peace to the world