The worst thing about the Second World War is that it was more than 5 years long. The celebrations to mark the 65th year of the end of the war will be followed shortly by the 70th year celebrations of some mid-war event, and before you get over that the 75th year celebrations of the start of the war are there to fill the newspapers, and so it continues. Every year there are celebrations/remembrances.
Now, I have no doubt that remembering people sent into war is important, to an extent, and I would in no way wish to belittle their (maybe misguided) feelings of patriotism. However, they weren’t all heros, some of them, as we can presume them to be a cross-section of the public, were fools, some beat their wives and there may have been the odd criminal too.
The blanket war propaganda which would have us believe and verify a myth concerning their heroism rolls on year after year and rather annoys me, it seems like it will continue til the day I die. Newspapers and TV unleash the same stereotypes, cliches and myths yearly as it is cheap content (i.e. takes little real thought or effort) and avoids all effort to discuss, for example, the real criminals who started the war and the dubious and incompetent leaders. The case of donkeys commanding lions as the oversimplification goes.
While many of these issues do not apply to the 9/11 remembrances (11/9, actually [UK]), there are issues which I need to mention.
For the last two weeks there has been a solid coverage of the catastrophe from every conceivable viewpoint, before, during, after. Every friend of every relative of everyone within a 10 mile radius of the event has been interviewed, extensively. Every mass media has devoted the day to this coverage.
So… what is my problem? Well, firstly, if you tell someone you love them once a day this would be a reinforcing element in a relationship. Tell them 200 times a day and it would cause a divorce. By this I mean that having interviewed everyone they can get their hands on, and having shown The Footage hundreds of times, the commentary now has descended into repetitious cliches and over-romanticised myth. My compassion can get over-stretched until it goes limp like old knicker elastic.
As the saying goes ‘until the lion learns to write the hunter will always tell the tale’, i.e. those in control of the media dictate the story. Because of this there is no such media show for the 150,000 innocents who died as a result of Bush and Blair’s criminal invasion of Iraq, for example and no discussion of the tortured muslims who died in cells under our imposed ‘Freedom’.
The hundreds of people dying every day in the Horn of Africa certainly won’t make the front page in any paper this week.
The sentiments of the victim’s families are used by the media to bleach clean the fact that we, the Western Alliance, have, and will always, commit far worse atrocities on innocents than what happened in New York on 11/9.
The innocent both in New York and Bagdad had no say, they were not consulted. The killers on both sides decided that the collateral damage was worth it in order to achieve certain aims. There are no rules in war.
I’m not convinced that celebrating brutality via this sentimental neocolonialism is the best use of the media. Instead let us discuss how to moth-ball our armies, turn our industries away from arms production and use any and every means of diplomacy, let’s not continue the cycle. No one has ever won a war.
That would be worth discussing on a day like today.