In no way would I dream of belittling or denigrating all the recent WW1 commemorations. It is absolutely right that we should remember (we must never forget!) all the tragedy and sacrifice of that terrible war – and many of the commemorations were very thoughtful and moving – BUT . . .
Remembering is not enough! Yes, it is good to see all those presidents, prime ministers and royalty from various nations laying wreaths and making speeches. Perhaps it might have been a bit more meaningful if these paragons of wisdom, all these great and godly leaders of our supposedly civilised world, had actually set aside just an hour or so of their precious time to sit down round a table to try to think of ways of preventing all the wars that are going on now and those that are likely to flare up in the future.
In today’s paper, after all the articles and pictures of candle-lit services and ceremonies at cemeteries, there appeared another article, telling us how the UK’s government is “reviewing” the sale of £8bn worth of tanks and weaponry to the Israeli government “in light of the conflict in Gaza”!
Am I really being too cynical? Wars can be very useful. They create a lot of employment and they bring in a lot of money. The weapons trade is one of the world’s most lucrative industries. What would our economy look like without the income from the arms trade? What would our unemployment figures look like if all our soldiers, sailors and airmen were out of a job? Wars are a useful political tool too – they keep the proletariat scared and submissive and deflect attention from issues that really matter, like climate change, food, water and energy supply, pollution, uncontrolled population growth and the effects of rampant consumerism.
The United Nations was a good idea at the time but, having been pretty well emasculated by Bush & Blair, it now has no teeth, no power and little authority. It is high time it was either revived in a new and more effective form or replaced by something rather better. Surely it is not beyond the wit of man to devise some kind of global police force to prevent wars from happening and to control the spread and use of weapons. Do our world leaders want this? Apparently not!
The European Union was never, originally, conceived as an economic or political union. It was intended, primarily, to prevent war and preserve peace in Europe after WW2. In that respect, for nigh on 70 years, it has been extremely successful. That is what we should also remember at this time.
It is only by working together that we can hope to achieve and preserve peace, both in Europe and throughout the world. The rise of “Separatism” and “Nationalism” across Europe and elsewhere is one of the most worrying trends of our time. Not just in the middle east and in Ukraine but also in Spain, France, Belgium – even in the UK and in Scotland – we see increasing support for Nationalist and Separatist parties.
Perhaps it is time for everyone to read (or re-read) George Orwell’s “1984”. Is that really the sort of society we want? We’re getting closer all the time!