Today is Remembrance Day. It's cold and foggy outside. My media streams are full of images in black and white and red; soldiers in tanks, crosses and poppies, medals, uniforms and flags. Services are in an hour, culminating in a minute of silence for the fallen then a single brassy voice will ring out. Silence for the dead, music for the living.
The Great War and the War to End all Wars seems to me, looking far back over my shoulder to 100 years ago, clear cut. The enemy was easy to see, the atrocities committed swiftly (but not swiftly enough) condemned. World domination will not be tolerated. We are all free peoples here on this little blue dot. We may disagree but one cannot exterminate the other.
Then came Korea. And Vietnam. And Iraq. And Afghanistan. And Iraq again, Syria and Egypt and and and the black and white images become grey and green instead; hazy blurred lines between right, wrong and power and politics, and tinted green with money, shadowed black with an oily sheen.
This isn't new, paying for land and riches with the lives of soldiers. It's the oldest way to play the game. But today the eyes and ears of the world, of every person, are everywhere. We have unprecedented power to watch and see for ourselves, if we want too, what's happening in war torn countries. We can tune in or tune out at will, thanks to social media and easy access to smart phones. We can see for ourselves and read for ourselves the current situations simply by opening a web browser and searching for the people who are speaking out.
We all need no more trouble. We need to work harder to pressure our leaders to only commit those who have sworn to serve, to defend, to protect, to die, in just causes. We must find a way to live together in peace and turn our war machines to better uses. In Flander's Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses row on row. No new crosses. No new gardens of the dead.