Tuesday 28 February 2017

Military displays at remembrance events are a grotesque offence to the war dead

Tribute: President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina with Prince William
Tribute: President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina with Prince William

'Lest we forget' - a line from a Rudyard Kipling poem warning against jingoism, composed to mark Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in 1897 - has become synonymous with the World War I dead.

The evocative sentiment is carved into numerous war memorials. But despite the carnage of the trenches, amnesia did set in, and war has never been eradicated. Even as the centenary of World War I's outbreak is commemorated, battles are being waged on a number of fronts. In Gaza - slaughter. In Iraq - torture and killings. In Syria - civil war. In south Sudan - ethnic violence. In Ukraine - Russian-backed rebellion.

Let us juxtapose those wars, where civilians are murdered or maimed and where soldiers torture other combatants, against the commemorations for the 1914-18 war. And let us ask ourselves: why lay wreaths and bow heads without changing behaviour?

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Read More

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice