Monday, 4 August 2014
A strange celebration.
The centenary of the dreadful mass slaughter that was the First World War seems a strange thing to be "celebrating". I reckon that I'm as qualified as anyone to be writing about this. My father served right through the war and unlike many old soldiers who never liked to talk about it, would harp on about the Somme and Passchendaele at the first opportunity: how I longed to come from a normal family where Arsenal and Spurs were the favoured topic of conversation. But to be fair to my dad he never had any illusions about patriotism and recognised the cause of war as the crass stupidity of Europe's ruling elites. There is nothing wrong with schoolkids remembering the hardship suffered by their ancestors, but let's have an honest recognition of the utter futility of it all as well. The millions who perished did not "make the ultimate sacrifice for their country". Of course there must have been acts of great bravery but no one "laid down their life". Terrified and far from home, they were killed, Killed by other young men just as clueless as themselves - and for nothing.