Remember This

I read this blog regularly. She’s a part of this blog every day in November group, and well if you’re going to blog every day, you’ve got to write something. Sometimes I think it’s better to write nothing. Sometimes I do what I don’t think is better. Oh, call me a hypocrite.

I wasn’t going to write about Remembrance Day. I wasn’t. And then I read her post. It’s inoffensive, almost fence sitting, maybe leaning a little to the peace-nik side of the war debate. But that’s what the debate surrounding today usually comes down to: do you want to glorify war or are you fascist bait? Because I’ll tell you, you’d be licking Hitler’s boots if our boys didn’t go over there to fight this war for you.

So this is part of what I wrote:

I don’t wear a poppy. It’s hard. I see these creaky old men welling up with remembrance, I want to respect them, but they’ve got it so wrong. Walking around without a poppy says “I don’t remember.” At it’s most innocent it says that. But I do remember and the symbol lies.

The idea that we’d have no freedom if the soldiers hadn’t fought the good wars is a lie. People have fought for our freedom, that’s true, but it wasn’t soldiers, and in a lot of cases soldiers were used to oppose the freedoms we enjoy.

No soldier fought for a woman’s right to vote. Where were the soldiers during the civil rights movement? Who fought for equal pay for equal work? Who fought for labour laws? Most of our freedoms come of controls wrested from our governments. And soldiers are the tools of government.

Pick up Pierre Berton’s The Great Depression. You’ll see that Canada worked to keep out Jews; that Canada had its own burgeoning fascist and anti-semetic movement. And that Canada was doing its best to squash its workers’ movement.

There were civil movements all through Europe opposed to fascism; opposed to the crushing of their freedom. Again, all the freedoms we speak of are freedoms won by people out of uniform fighting our government. If the fascists had won the war, they’d have lost the civil war, just like our government has.

Our freedoms are always under threat, and if we can’t remember how they were actually won, we may one day lose them, or at least have to fight for them, out of uniform, once again.

Over on her blog I used one for won. God Hates Homonyms. That’s a joke. But Homos are another group that had to fight their own battles. And really our battles aren’t over. Right here in Canada, the homeless need homes. Children need to be fed and better schools need to teach those well fed kids properly, whatever that means, but the battle should be waged. We need to fight to build that foundation so we can get back to fighting for human dignity and freedom.

Every year at this time we’re asked to remember that our government’s soldiers gave us our freedom and keep us safe. How are we supposed to remember something that isn’t true? Are our homeless safe? Are the internet surfing class safe from the homeless? Are we free from our government? Free to act as a community? Free to speak as an individual? What we need to remember is the tenuous freedoms we have are gifts from people, strong people, out of uniform, people like ourselves, people who did it for themselves, for their sisters and brothers, and for their own and their neighbours’ kids. We need to remember that their struggle isn’t over and that their struggle is now our struggle.

Remembrance Day is the perfect day to remember the less fortunate, to remember that it’s our duty to pick up where the freedom fighters of the past left off. It’s not like I’m trying to change the meaning of a festive day like Christmas, showing you images of starving children in Africa you can do nothing about. We can solve our problems here in Canada, and today is a good day to remember that.

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One Response to “Remember This”

  1. Remember What? « Not Left To Chance Says:

    […] By rodgerlevesque Here it comes again. The poppy to remind us of an institutionalized sacrosanct […]

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