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Wear A White Poppy

category national | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Sunday November 13, 2011 17:22author by Setanta Report this post to the editors

The British Poppy is an insult to Ireland's Dead

Veteran Irish Republican and Human Rights Activist, Bill O'Brien (Dublin and Donegal), takes on Former Fine Gael TD, Paddy Harte over the latter's promotion of the wearing of the British Poppy and the glorification of war. Bill will also be on Ocean Fm Radio on Monday 14th November 2011, on the Niall Delaney show at 9.05am. Paddy Harte has been requested to come on and discuss the issues - no doubt the arch imperialist will avoid the opportunity to debate.

Wear a white poppy


 

It is getting near the time of remembrance again and we will once again be asked by Paddy Harte to remember those who died in a WW1 fighting for England.  Please let us have a balanced and honest discussion this year for the first time.  I want to remember all those who died, not only those who died for British imperialism, I have looked at Paddy's article of last year in the Donegal Democrat and used  it as a template of what he will most likely say on this occasion also.
                       
On Tuesday the 9th of November 2010, Donegal Democrat, Paddy Harte was making his annual tribute to those who died in the First World War, I don't doubt he means well, but it is clearly time for a more balanced view.  What comes across from Paddy is a glorification of war and of course he's going to deny it but, I'm sorry, that is how I see it.
 
First, let me address the way he deals with the history; he takes men who clearly fought for different ideas and tries to put them all in the one camp, this is a disservice to all of them. In the case of Tom Barry, he points out that Tom Barry was in the British Army since 1913, this is so; however, it was from his experiences and treatment by the officer board of that army that Tom Barry became disillusioned, came back to Ireland and fought the British Army for the rest of his life.  In his autobiography Barry deals with his disillusionment, his youthfulness and the misguided politicians who sent them to war, that should be accepted by all, Tom Barry knew he was duped and he gave himself no credits for being so.
Paddy then tries to unite two brothers in death, William Kent and Eamonn Kent, Eamonn was executed by those wearing British Army uniforms, he signed a document that gave thanks to our gallant allies in Europe, the same people that his brother William was fighting against.  To put these two men together in this way is a disservice to the two of them.  William Kent was killed for the King a year after his brother was executed by the King's men. Get off the stage Paddy and get real.
 
Paddy goes to Flanders every year, did he ever lay a wreath to our gallant allies in Europe? No.  Did he ever lay a wreath to the of the 601 men executed at dawn, especially the young Irish killed for insubordination, one for not putting on his hat.  If you were Irish you had a 25% more chance of being executed for insubordination, desertion, ect, than a man from England, Scotland or Wales.  Men from the two traditions were executed by a cruel officer class, for very little indeed. Anyone who was executed, was put in an unmarked grave and their families at home got no pensions, they where left destitute.  What does Paddy Harte have to say about that?
 
Paddy Harte said if Kevin Barry had been four years older he would have been in Khaki, how dare you Paddy Harte, he would have been in the 1916 rising.  This young man, a student Doctor, was captured as a Prisoner of War, badly treated and then executed.  You cannot insult our glorious dead in this way, those who died in Flanders, could not lick his boots; that is no disrespect to those who died in Flanders, only to you Paddy Harte for the distortions.  It is time to put a bit of respect, decency, balance and truthfulness into the whole topic.  Those who went to Flanders were not answering Ireland's call; they were answering England's call and that of the King.  The poor lads were duped.
 
Should we remember them, of course we should.  We must also though never forget the perpetrators of that war, the British, the German, the Russian monarchists and capitalists.  They sent a whole generation of European youth to their graves needlessly. The Germans and the Russians have no monarchies now, good, but the British have and still send young men to die in needless war.  Thankfully to the men and women of 1916 Ireland no longer has to do that.
                   
The wearing of a white poppy would be a fitting tribute to these people, the Red poppy is the poppy of the British Legion and is worn to remember all British soldiers who died anywhere in the world, including Ireland, should we honour the Black and Tans? Ofcourse we should not, nor should we honour those who came after them, up to the present-day.
         
Finally I would like to deal with another aspect of the war; it was not a war for the freedom of small nations.  In 1915 Turkey, a peaceful country was invaded, by two of the monarchistsí countries, Britain and Russia.  Thousands died in Gallipoli, included in that battle were 1000 Dublin Fusiliers, of whom only 12 survived.  One of the survivors I knew, I worked with three of his sons, his name was John Whelan, he was a corporal and was credited with saving the other 11 lives, he was promoted on the battlefields to the rank of major, but when it came to him being demobbed he was reduced to a sergeant, as he wasn't a commissioned officer in the first place.  This is the class nature of the British Army to this day. They treat all working people shamefully.
                                                                     

Related Link: http://oceanfm.ie/page/Home/
author by jeffpublication date Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:44Report this post to the editors

Much more intelligently expressed than the rant against Michael D. Higgins attending Remembrance Sunday on another thread

author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Fri Nov 18, 2011 13:13Report this post to the editors

Just spotted this now. A very balanced piece. There is always a danger that remembrance turns into glorification and this is why a good knowledge of History is important. The facts are hostage to noone. WW11 was merely a continuation of WW1.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Fri Nov 18, 2011 13:49Report this post to the editors

The coporate media cheers its military 'heros', away killing and being killed to expand their coffers...then brushes their neglect under the mat when they return to be thrown on the dole. Often physically and psychologically crippled.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori..it is sweet and proper to die for your country..except that its their fucking country and our death.

author by Thomas Cartypublication date Sun Nov 05, 2017 07:54author email thomascarty at Cartyweb dot ieReport this post to the editors

Though republican myself, in the spirit of the green white and orange of our flag, I remember one of the British end of our family... John Boyd of Ballymacool...

A near forgotton #Donegal #ww1 hero, from #letterkenny

Related Link: http://wp.me/p7EI4f-XA
author by Connemara Manpublication date Fri Nov 10, 2017 17:12Report this post to the editors

Nobody in France wears poppies.
Nobody in Belgium wears poppies.
Nobody in the Netherlands wears poppies.
Nobody in America wears poppies.
Only Dublin West- Brits wear poppies.

author by Poppied outpublication date Fri Nov 10, 2017 20:12Report this post to the editors

If you would like to support veterans without being co-opted into supporting present & future wars, take some tips from Veterans for Peace UK http://vfpuk.org/

If you're in London this Sunday Nov 12th 1300 hours join them as they march to Cenotaph
http://vfpuk.org/2017/cenotaph-2017/

Related Link: http://vfpuk.org/
author by Botanist - Nonepublication date Sat Nov 11, 2017 08:35Report this post to the editors

Americans wear red poppies in remembrance and have done so since the 1920ís

author by Crazy Catpublication date Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:39Report this post to the editors

In France they were the 'Bleuet' - can't find a translation for it:

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleuet_de_France

author by flower powerpublication date Sat Nov 11, 2017 13:36Report this post to the editors

I've googled the word 'bleuet' and it says, in French: "C'est la fleur qui en France symbolise l'armistice du 11 novembre 1918," (It is the flower which in France symbolises the Armistice of 11th November 1918.) A photograph shows that it is a pretty blue wild flower that blooms annually in fields and elsewhere between May and July. French people probably wear either pictures or cotton representations of the flower. Some naturalists in France warn that the wild flower is endangered by the excessive use of herbicides. http://naturenperil.canalblog.com/archives/2010/06/15/1....html

Personally I don't go in for commemorations, but the idea of pacifist ex-servicemen wearing a white poppy appeals to me. I think annual Poppy Day commemorations in the UK are used by nationalist politicians and media (Daily Express etc.) to 'sanctify' current and future wars that the UK gets involved in.

author by Lark in Clare airpublication date Sat Nov 11, 2017 14:56Report this post to the editors

I too have looked up the blue flower worn by French veteran soldiers to remember the 1918 armistice that brought the fighting in Flanders and elsewhere to an end. Wikipedia calls it the cornflower and gives its Latin name centaurea cyanus. It is called cornflower because it grows wild in cornfields, just like the red poppy is found growing wild in Irish cornfields. Read down and you will see a mention of the flower growing in Clare, but now considered an endangered species. It used to be common many decades ago in parts of Leinster.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurea_cyanus

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