"The old men march slowly all bent stiff and sore.
Forgotten heroes from a forgotten war.
And the young people ask what are they marching for.
And I ask myself the same question"
anti war song; (The Band played Waltzing Matilda) Eric Bogle.
The marching bands; the proud veterans; the cheering crowds; the silent tributes; the sea of poppies; it was all on show as it is every year. These are the usual things we bear in mind from Remembrance Day but I will remember something else from this year and it wasn’t something I seen it was something I read and it was truly horrendous. At a Remembrance Day Parade in Essex a local Scout Troup of boys aged 14 to 18 started shouting death threats and racist abuse at group of Jewish Second World War Veterans. Fully dressed and on parade when they saw the Jewish Ex Soldiers they started chanting “lets kill the Jews” the Police are investigating allegations of racially aggravated harassment” the Scout Association has ordered one of the boys to apologise to the local Rabbi; I am left to wonder about the local Scout Association; perhaps a life’s ban and a hand over to the Police might have been more in order but what do I know I’ve never been a scout or a Cadet of any kind nor have my kids; if I wanted to teach them militarism I would just let them watch old John Wayne movies. I am rarely lost for words but what can anyone say here; Nick Griffin would applaud the young Anti Semites with a Sieg Heil but what about the humans what do we have to say?
These well adjusted Essex boys are on the side of the Nazis and Holocaust perpetrators! Can that be right; is there some other way I can put that? I wish there were; I really do; I don’t want to accept that this happened but it did. One has to wonder what their families are like; what are there attitudes to the handicapped to Gypsies to black people; I’m no expert but are Scouts not supposed to be Christians? Do they not swear allegiance to God and Her Majesty? How isolated is this; it seems Just incredible that this happened. It is an extremely serious and worrying incident and should be treated as such; I don’t know how to deal with it; it is just so awful I haven’t got a bloody clue but I hope someone takes it on.
I confess that I long for the day when the war dead can be remembered in a less militaristic way; the last survivor of the great war Harry Patch did not fall for the propaganda and shortly before his death he gave us this quote “war is legalised murder” those who glorify war were given a massive thumbs down by this old soldier; he had a long time to consider what he had done and seen in the trenches and he showed his contempt for the whole squalid business; “well said that man” had he said this in uniform in 19 16 he could have been shot such was the mentality of those of our ‘betters’ who were running the show; some of them; too many of the same clowns are still running the show. Consider this omission from the Remembrance Day parades; it was decided that the war would end at 11.00 am. This was decided several hours before 11.00 am but officers continued to order men to attack right up to the exact hour while knowing it was all about to end and men lost their lives at a couple of minutes to 11.00am. Would it not be more truthful and relevant to read out the names of the officers who gave these orders when the dead are being remembered; ‘lest we forget’ remind everyone of the futile stupidity of the war and those who thought it was the honourable thing to do to fight until the last second; in the history of stupid futile behaviour by men in war this should be for ever highlighted when better than on Remembrance Day?
Training groups like Cadets and Scouts are part of our society and there has never been any doubt in my mind that they instil militarism in young minds and that is dangerous and wrong; marching; drilling and saluting officers is not a healthy way to pass leisure time for young people. Many of their activities are no doubt valuable but playing at soldiers is not one of them what influences did these Boy Scouts come under?
The armistice events are also heavily biased in favour of militarism; the emphasis is on heroism; medals and valour. I hope for a time when Remembrance parades will be less triumphant and more realistic. War should be remembered for what it is ”man at his most base” reduced to no more than a savage; perhaps if the world was reminded more often of the terror and horror of war there would be less of them. Do you want responsible adults to develop from today’s teenagers or would you prefer adult versions of the Essex Boy Scouts?