Robert Fisk doesn’t wear a poppy. He’s not going to glorify murder by the wearing of that ‘wretched flower.’
In Fisk’s view the poppy is a ‘blood drop on our breast.’ He decries remembrance as selective as we do not mourn the fallen of Flodden or the Boer War and led on by an ‘orgiastic’ poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Canadian John McCrae we endorse the murder of more humans by displaying the poppy on our clothing.
Mr. Fisk’s hyperbole aside, does he have a point? For himself certainly, he is of the view that war is murder. He sees such actions as crimes. How could someone so convinced of his own rightness be persuaded to any other viewpoint? They can’t. This is his view. He sees the poppy as a symbol of murder. McCrae is a propagandist of government sponsored and perpetual murder of humans.
In his Op Ed on the subject, (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/poppycock–or-why-remembrance-rituals-make-me-see-red-8927751.html) Fisk outlines his observed hypocrisies and wrongs; he describes the lack of tears for some and the crocodile tears for others all the name of the murder machine that is war, and the sponsorship of it by government. He will not endorse war and murder by wearing such a symbol.
Fisk is a respected journalist. He’s covered war. He must know what he’s talking about or at least, what he’s convinced himself of and stated in his article. Yet, Fisk fails to convince others – an easy majority of readers of his own article disagree with his view. I certainly do.
Fisk’s opinion is founded on the assumption that there is a malicious desire by governments, and for that matter people at large, to actively murder each other and to promote such murder. His narrow view can’t envision the notion of failed avoidance, mistakes, and state sponsored criminality as a cause for war. This latter case evident in more than one conflict. He is bereft of any notion that lifts sacrifice like that committed by our soldiery to a level where it might be remembered as that – sacrifice – separated from the cause and all the more noble because it was in many cases offered in spite of these causes.
On the eve of the battle of Agincourt in Henry the Fifth, Shakespeare has his character Williams state:
“But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath
a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and
arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join
together at the latter day and cry all ‘We died at
such a place;’
Yes, it is the ‘King’s’ fault. The King led these mindless masses time and time again into war, and thus the King is to blame. Let us not celebrate the cruel and murderous King by wearing this wretched flower!
Shakespeare however was not done on the subject and his response, spoken by the disguised Henry, sums up what both ‘Williams’ and Mr. Fisk have forgotten:
“So, if a son that is by his father sent about
merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the
imputation of his wickedness by your rule, should be
imposed upon his father that sent him…
…but this is not so: the king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his
soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of
his servant; for they purpose not their death, when
they purpose their services…
… Every subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s
soul is his own.”
Mr. Fisk fails to remember that the poppy is the symbol of personal sacrifice – not of the states’, the state’s policies, or the rightness or wrongness of the cause which rendered loss. It is the personal sacrifice of each and every soldier that is represented by the wretched little flower I happily wear on my breast. Mr. Fisk would do well to remember whom Remembrance Day is for and why the poppy is not a symbol of murder, state policy, or some mindless adherence to a poem.
- Remembrance Day poppies ‘obscene fashion appendage’ (theweek.co.uk)
- White Poppies (nfragepage.wordpress.com)
- I Am Honoured to Don a Poppy (onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com)
- Remembrance Poppies (ramblingratz.wordpress.com)
- Wear one, don’t wear one. It’s time to call a truce in the War of the Poppy (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- Poppycock – or why remembrance rituals make me see red (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Remembrance Day: Pimped out poppies (fashion.telegraph.co.uk)