November 8, 2008

Another Dead Soldier (Ch.9)

So it may be argued that the timing of this blog is inappropriate or completely unnecessary altogether. You see, Remembrance Day has come upon us once again,which means we have a day off to "remember" the sacrifices our forefathers had made for us in order to be living in a "free world". And my life is free, so no complaints there. Expensive, but free. "Thanks, pops!"
But since 9/11, the context of Remembrance Day has changed. Sure, there are a probably a lot of Canadians out there that may not know even know which of the World Wars that Remembrance Day commemorates historically, but really it's not so much about the historical wars anymore anyways. It has become a day to remember the sacrifices Canadians continue to make in Afghanistan, and peacekeeping missions around the world today. But for school age children, it means spending a day colouring red flowers and memorizing a portion of In Flanders Fields. Engineering students take it for a chance to get caught up on assignments and projects. Working adults attempt to arrange for some days off such that they can get away for a long weekend from the nauseating and exhausting daily grind that they have become so tired of. So what it comes down to is our veterans doing what they can to represent those of us who are just so worn out and busy living in this free world, in spite of diminishing health and enduring lifespans. An 18 year old in 1946 would be 80 today. That's a lot of time between then and now putting up with a lot of bullshit, especially when you think about how these heroes prevented naziism from taking over the world! So thank you under-appreciated senior citizen. I am sorry we couldn't be doing more for you now.

Ignite puts it best in their song Veteran:

Hey senior,
have you been taken past your prime,
have you been taken advantage of, are you forgotten, tired, and poor
by the ones you've voted for?
you're abandoned - so sorry - you're just a waste of their time,
you've been lied to once again,
they've paid you no mind.
But here in the Heartland, we will fill out a pretty good crowd for ceremonies at the Legislature or the Butterdome, old and young people alike, on the morning of the 11th. We are a soldier city after all. Just today, the movie tickets at the Grandin Theatre were discounted from $8 to $5 for military.
As of November 9th, 97 Canadians have died in Afghanistan since the "FRIENDLY FIRE" killing of the first four Canadians by our neighbors to the south in April 2002 (average age = 24.5). The most recently killed was 36 year old Scott Shipway who died in from a roadside bomb on 9/7/08. Why? A lot of girls I know simply love a guy in uniform - but I also know they love to see their loved one...alive.
Some of the sadder facts (as far as I'm concerned) is that soldiers aren't the only ones dying. Civilians, diplomats, aid workers, and children are losing their lives as a result of this war. Although I wouldn't ever dare to guess how many of these lives are lost by the hands of Canadians, I can't help but feel that if we didn't have our guys stationed there at all, we would be making less enemies, have more living, non-murdered people (including 97 of our own Canadians, and not face any more real threat to terrorism if we hadn't gone there in the first place in early 2002.
It's not like we need the oil.
Day to day, we seldom hear about any "progress" made either. Hell! When men die we hardly hear anything on the the headlines of the news anymore! So why are we there? Because Harper's the President's Little Stooge? A puppet?? Where's the leadership? 6 years is a long time to be fighting someone else's war. Think of the money that could have been spent on creating green energy jobs or social programs securing Canada a more prosperous future, instead of waiting, waiting, waiting for recession to strike! With any luck, Obama will get his troops sent to the right country and we can bring our guys (and girls) home.
But even if we had a committed 2009 troop withdrawal date, like we hoped to have originally oh sooo many years ago, it doesn't change the fact that we have a Conservative government that allowed 97 Canadian families to endure the murder of their loved ones. It would be very interesting to see how many Canadians would get out to vote if the issue of continuing the war in Afghanistan was put on the ballot last October. I am guessing more than 60% of the people would come out. Policy change could really be represented in a democratic fashion (for a change).
In order for us to see a change in the country, the world, we have to start with our kids. This is just one more thing that I am starting to really get frustrated with is the indoctrination of Canadian youth as per what society dictates that is so damn' important for them to know. If we had a more enlightened youth population that was raised with values that will help our Country to have the vision required to be truly a world leader, then a thorough restructuring of public education is required. A more tolerant nation founded on traditional/historical Canadian values can still appreciate the wars that Canada has been in and ways to mitigate conflict in years to come. But that blog is still a topic for another day.
In the meantime, let's just try to acknowledge the state of the world, with all of its wars and killing and torture and genocide. Let's think back to grade school where we would sit on the lap of Santa Claus and wish for World Peace - and a street hockey net. Let's think of those conflict zones like Somalia,Sudan, Georgia,Tibet, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Let's appreciate that people are in fact dying for us to stay here in a free (expensive) Canada, allowing for us to continue to do what we do. And since that's really what this all comes down to, let's start acting nicer towards eachother here at home and hope that for the love of God, we will never have to be the ones who have to go and kill people to defend the way we live.

A little more with the music:
No Use For A Name writes: "How many weapons, how many do we need? What about the economy, what about the economy?" in Fields of Agony.
Anti-Flag comes to town every few years and yells at our kids about people dying over oil, without even having the slightest clue what city they are in - a city where people have been dying for oil for the past 60 years in this region. Silly punks.
In 1993, Strung Out wrote one of my favorite songs on their "Skinny Years" album: "Support your troops but not their cause. Your Leader's a desperate man!"
Whereas CRASS recorded a 42 second chant: "Fight War Not Wars" somewhere between the late 70s and early 80s.
And lastly, In 2002, Bad Religion sang that there will "be sorrow no more when all soldiers lay their weapons down / Or when all kings and all queens relinquish their crowns / Or when the only true messiah rescues us from ourselves!!"

1 comment:

  1. Twas in the merry month of May
    When green buds were a-swelling
    Sweet William on his deathbed lay
    For the love of Barbriallen
    He sent his servant to the town
    The place where she'd been dwelling
    Say master dear has sent me here
    If your name be Barbriallen
    And slowly, slowly she got up
    And slowly she went to him
    And all she said when she got there
    Young man I think you're dying
    Oh, don't you remember the other day
    When we were in a tavern
    You drank your health to the ladies there
    And you slighted Barbriallen
    He turned his face unto the wall
    He turned his back upon her
    Adieu, adieu to all my friends
    Be kind to Barbriallen
    She looked to the east, she looked to the west
    She saw his corpse a-coming
    Oh, put him down for me she cried
    That I may gaze upon him
    The more she looked, the more she grieved
    She bursted out in crying
    Oh, pick me up and carry me home
    For I feel like I am dying
    They buried sweet Willy in the old churchyard
    And Barbara in the new one
    From Willy's grave there grew a rose
    From Barbara's a green briar
    They grew and they grew on the old church wall
    And could not grow no higher
    And there they tied in a true love's knot
    The rose bush and the briar