Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remembrance Sunday - A soldier's Declaration

The "old lie" featured recently in the South Wales Echo who inform us that the people who fought in World War One died for "our" freedom. In truth, working class people were sent to butcher working class people from other countries on behalf of their rulers. A whole generation was damned so that the elites in our society could extend their power and wealth -as in World War One, so in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Siegfried Sassoon, the great poet, was swept up by patriotism and in 1914-15 joined up. He gained a reputation for exceptional bravery, including the single-handed capture of a German trench. He would go out on night raids and bombing patrols and known for his manic courage. He was decorated for bravery.

Two years later he realised "the whole damn thing was a lie" and decided to make a stand against the war. He hurled his medals into the River Mersey, before making the following declaration that was printed in the Times and read and discussed in Parliament.

I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.

I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of agression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them and that had this been done the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation.

I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolonging these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.

On behalf of those who are suffering now, I make this protest against the deception which is being practised upon them; also I believe it may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy - Dr. Henry Kissinger (January - February 2003 edition of Eagle Newsletter)