Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Remembrance Day 2018

The Revolution Continues blog editor has left Trumpland temporarily to visit friends and family in England. For the next couple of weeks, enjoy insights from an American Progressive Abroad.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not. So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
--Kurt Vonnegut, WWII veteran

Remembrance Day 2018
by C.A. Matthews
photos by Adrian Matthews

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the "war to end all wars" came to an end. Sadly, the killing continued. Over 800 British and Commonwealth service members and 1000 US Marines were killed before the ending of the official last day of World War I. The long road toward creating a lasting peace is paved with good intentions, or so it seems.

Celebrating the centenary of the First World War this year in a different country demonstrates to me how much the holiday has changed over the years. It first began as Armistice Day and was a celebration of peace and the ending of war--all wars--worldwide. But in 1954 at the height of the Cold War, Americans converted the celebration of ending all wars into one of honoring warriors instead. The eleventh of November was renamed Veterans' Day and emphasized the thanking of soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors for their sacrifice and service to the imperialist state in ridding the world of the Soviet Union and its allies.

In the UK, the eleventh of November is an altogether more meaningful experience. Yes, you are physically closer to where most of the fighting took place than in the US, but perhaps it is the intensity of emotion within the walls of Norwich Cathedral that made me realize viscerally how it wasn't all that long ago that an entire generation of young men marched off to their deaths--gruesome, gasping, bloody deaths in the trenches. Somehow the scars of that conflict still feel fresh nearer to the actual battlefields.

In the US, we've created two  holidays to commemorate those who have served in the armed forces: Memorial Day and Veterans' Day. They are better known as being excuses for the big box stores to have sales and for government workers to enjoy three day weekends, rather than for the veneration of soldiers and warfare. In the UK, they've renamed Armistice Day to Remembrance Day and combined elements from both American celebrations. The dead and the living are both honored--and their sacrifice lauded--but the wish for a world at peace is also remembered.

In Remembrance Day the true essence of Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Armistice Day come together. Could this be the reason why the UK isn't bucking to start a war with Iran, Russia, China, or Fill-in-the-Blank-Land as much as the current American administration is? How are the dead honored by killing more in their names? How are the survivors of warfare honored by killing more human beings in their names? How is peace served by endless bloodshed?

One hundred years after the "war to end all wars" and the US is helping to bomb school buses of children in Yemen. American drones regularly take out the innocent along with the "terrorists." Little children are stolen from their families as they cross the border into the US because of the "crime" of their skin color or country of origin. This is not peace. This is not honor. This is not worth remembering.

Americans must start remembering what Armistice Day originally was all about and pledge to work hard toward building a lasting peace in the world. Remembrance Day should be for remembering that peace is the objective--not the generation of endless profits for the military industrial complex. We should remember the lives lost in the pursuit of greed and vow to end the vicious cycle once and for all. Only then will we experience true peace both within ourselves and between our communities.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them. -- Laurence Binyan
Perhaps the best ending to a television series ever is the poignant ending of Blackadder Goes Forth. It sums up well the horror, utter insanity and uselessness of war (done in a World War I setting)https://youtu.be/vH3-Gt7mgyM

Related articles:

US is more comfortable with war than peace

US calls for ceasfire--keeps attacking Yemen

Map shows were Obama dropped his 20,000 bombs

From Coalition to Protect America's Healthcare:

A soldier who lost his legs below the knees in Afghanistan — and enrolled in Harvard Medical School a few years later.

A doctor (and a veteran) who ran the Marine Corps Marathon in honor of his father, who fought at Iwo Jima.

A World War II physiotherapist who invented a device that helped veterans with disabilities feed themselves — and then gave it away, absolutely free.

These are just a handful of the medical professionals who are proud to serve the men and women of our armed forces. Their stories are incredible — read them today >>

And if you've served, or if you know someone who has, please accept our gratitude.


Coalition to Protect America's Health Care 


No to NATO — Yes to Peace

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) plans a summit, or at least a “celebration” in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2019, to mark 70 years since its creation on April 4, 1949.

We plan a peace festival to advocate the abolition of NATO, the promotion of peace, the redirection of resources to human and environmental needs, the demilitarization of our cultures, and the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech against war on April 4, 1967, as well as his assassination on April 4, 1968.

Plans are subject to change based on input from allies and updated information on what NATO plans to do. Tentatively, World BEYOND War plans to work with a coalition of other groups to organize events in downtown Washington, D.C., on April 3 to include nonviolence training, big art creation, a conference of speakers, and possibly a big demonstration; and on April 4 to be part of a major demonstration. One idea being considered is to form a procession to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and from there to where NATO is meeting and/or to a rally in Freedom Plaza.

The important thing now is to put this on your calendar. NATO was heartily unwelcomed by big crowds in Chicago in 2012, and we should be even bigger and more effective this time, with nonviolent actions and media outreach that communicate our opposition to militarism and our support for peace.

In 2012 in Chicago, Amnesty International put up big ads thanking NATO for its warmaking. This time we should put up big ads calling for an end to NATO and to war. Fund pro-peace billboards and other big ads here.

World BEYOND War has also endorsed a rally at 1 p.m. on March 30 at the White House with UNAC, and an event planned by Black Alliance for Peace on the evening of April 4. We will be strongest with all groups, across divergent ideologies and issue areas, working together.

How You and Your Organization Can Be Part of Saying No to NATO, Yes to Peace:
We’re lining up venues, which may include a venue where we can hold events and where people can choose to spend the night on April 3rd. We’ll have those details and further information on rides and lodging. If you’d like to offer or request lodging or rides, please do that here.

Endorsing Organizations:
World BEYOND War, Popular Resistance, CODE PINK, UFPJ, DSA Metro DC, A-APRP (GC), No to War No to NATO, International Peace Bureau, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Nuke Watch, Alliance for Global Justice, Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, U.S. Peace Council, Backbone Campaign,

Sponsoring Organizations and Individuals:
World BEYOND War,

Volunteering to Help:

Outreach that Individuals and Organizations Can Help With
We want to reach out to organizations and individuals in and around Washington, D.C., and any willing to come to Washington, D.C. These events are an opportunity to build the coalition we need. War and militarism kill, teach violence, drive racism, create refugees, destroy the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain budgets. There are no groups working for good causes that shouldn’t have an interest in opposing NATO and advocating for peace. All are welcome. Here’s a sample message you can modify and use.
Spread the word on social media:
The Case Against NATO:
While Donald Trump once blurted out the obvious: that NATO is obsolete, he subsequently professed his commitment to NATO and began pressuring NATO members to buy more weapons. So, the notion that somehow NATO is anti-Trump and therefore good would not only be silly and practically amoral on its own terms, it is also at odds with the facts of Trump’s behavior. We are planning an anti-NATO / pro-peace action at which opposition to the militarism of NATO’s dominant member is welcome and necessary.

NATO has pushed the weaponry and the hostility and the massive so-called war games right up to the border of Russia. NATO has waged aggressive wars far from the North Atlantic. NATO has added Colombia, abandoning all pretense of its purpose being in the North Atlantic. NATO is used to free the U.S. Congress from the responsibility and the right to oversee the atrocities of U.S. wars. NATO is used as cover by NATO member governments to join U.S. wars under the pretense that they are somehow more legal or acceptable. NATO is used as cover to illegally and recklessly share nuclear weapons with supposedly non-nuclear nations. NATO is used to assign nations the responsibility to go to war if other nations go to war, and therefore to be prepared for war. NATO’s militarism threatens the earth’s environment. NATO’s wars fuel racism and bigotry and erode our civil liberties while draining our wealth.

We must say: No to NATO, Yes to peace, Yes to prosperity, Yes to a sustainable environment, Yes to civil liberties, Yes to education, Yes to a culture of nonviolence and kindness and decency, Yes to remembering April 4th as a day associated with the work for peace of Martin Luther King Jr.

“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, ‘What about Vietnam?’ They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” —MLK Jr.

Send us your ideas, questions, proposals!
In these dark times, you know what gives me hope? Next week, hundreds of students from across the country are attending the National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference at UCLA to learn from each other, celebrate their wins, and strategize on how to fight white supremacy and work for Palestinian rights. 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the students in SJP - they are thoughtful, ethical and smart. And they do their work despite an incredible amount of backlash. Canary Mission, the shadowy McCarthyite website, trolls them continually, and has already added SJP conference organizers to their blacklist. Now these students face threats that Canary Mission's lies will be shared with future employers, or the FBI, or that Israeli border guards will prevent Palestinian members from seeing their families. 

SJPs have been subject to a pattern of repression across the country. 
And now, a horrific smear campaign has been launched against their national conference. The campaigners are exploiting the tragedy in Pittsburgh by equating the white supremacist attack on a synagoge with SJP’s educational conference. 

This latest attack on SJP aims to get the conference canceled altogether. 
  Can you take a minute and send an email to UCLA Chancellor to support NSJP?

The smear campaign is getting picked up by media and even the LA City Council is getting swayed by these allegations. In fact they just passed a resolution urging UCLA to cancel the conference. 
This is a fundamental violation of free speech rights, and what’s worse is that they’re exploiting the devastating tragedy of the Pittsburgh shootings to get attention.

These brave students urgently need your help. 

Send an email to the UCLA administration now. Tell them to protect their students from harassment, smear attacks and assaults. Protect their rights to freedom of speech - and make sure the National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference is held as planned.

It’s sad and shameful to witness such a twisted response to our shared suffering around Pittsburgh. I hope you’ll join me in calling out this destructive campaign and supporting students who are actually doing incredible, inspiring work.

Thank you.

Tallie Ben-Daniel
Research and Education Manager, JVP


Let there be peace on Earth-- and help us to support the peacemakers by giving them a voice!

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  1. Remembrance Day services always leave me emotionally drained through sorrow and reflection. To think that the 'War to end all wars' didn't; that the arms manufacturers still enjoy causing strife and conflict across the globe in their detestable search for profits at the cost of human lives and misery.

    Perhaps if saner heads were to take the reins of government in the US. If the military-industrial complex and warmongers were stripped of their power to influence government policy through bribery of politicians, perhaps then peace will spread throughout the world.

    1. I think that's the only way we will stop war--shut down the military industrial complex's hold of politicians worldwide. Think of how much good could be done in the world if we didn't spend the hundreds of billions yearly trying to kill innocent people in order to steal their resources, such as oil. The mind boggles at how selfish human beings can act at times.


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