Red Poppies

Nov. 3rd, 2005 09:54 am
mirrorshard: (Default)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
It's that time of year again, with a poppy-seller on each corner[1], and it seems somehow morally wrong not to be supporting the war dead and their survivors. I don't disagree with this in principle, it was - and still is to some extent - a terrible human tragedy. It just makes me feel twitchy to wear something connected to war, even though this one isn't a political statement.

Now, if only they sold white poppies...

[1] for those of you who are living Elsewhere and don't understand this traditional British custom of wearing a small paper and plastic poppy on the lapel at this time of year. explains why a poppy.

Date: 2005-11-03 10:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Same problem last year, I'll be wearing one regardless and if anyone has a go at me for supporting the war I'll give them a bloody nose.

The did have white poppies once, but it didn't work out too well. You can buy them now too, but the money just goes to a vague "peace fund" oganisation that really don't say much about themselves but cosy up to a number of other ideas and don't really inspire much confidence.

Date: 2005-11-03 10:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
White poppies here are for the Easter Rising and of course no good Republican would be seen out wearing teh Evil Red Symbols of British Oppression that Glorify the Deaths of all the Innocent Terrorists killed by British soldiers.
This is of course following the version of history where thousands of Irish soldiers *didn't* die in the 2 world wars.

We have an amazing ability to take just about *anything* and turn it into an excuse for argument and division.

Date: 2005-11-03 11:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
hm, interesting. singapore marks her fall to the japanese in world war 2 in a far more... pragmatic way. no flower selling here, we get Total Defense Day instead, a special day for propaganda Important Messages.

Date: 2005-11-03 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It's not about world war two, it's about raising funds and supporting the relatives of the members of the forces that have died for us.

If anything it's more about world war one anyhow, and it's not a government thing, it's a private charity that has become an institution because it does such a good job.

Date: 2005-11-03 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oops, that was from me

Date: 2005-11-04 12:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
yes, I realised that, but what I thought was interesting was the marked difference in the way singapore remembers her experience of war. admittedly, there is a difference in the experience itself- almost nothing at all of WW1, and occupation by the japanese in WW2- but the contrast between charity and well, what happens here, is quite stark. singapore takes Unsentimentality to new heights.

Date: 2005-11-03 11:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's a Canadian tradition as well, honouring the memories of people who fought and died so the rest of us could have peace.

I'd be offended if anyone claimed that wearing a poppy meant I was a supporter of war. It's not supporting war; it's remembering those who made peace.


Date: 2005-11-03 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's worth noting that the posters for the Poppy Appeal I've seen in the Underground show people who have been disabled and widowed in the recent conflicts in the Middle East. So wearing a poppy could be construed as supporting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, the money from the poppies doesn't actually go towards feeding troops or buying arms, just towards those who come back scarred, or the families of those who don't come back at all. Supporting a child whose mummy or daddy has died in a conflict I don't agree with is hardly supporting the conflict itself.

That and Remembrance Day has always been a day for remembering not only those who died in war, but just how stupid war is. It's a bit different here seeing as we have troops in Iraq and were one of the few countries to side with Herr Bush, but I suspect back in Canada, it's still WWI & WWII that are at the forefront of people's minds, and just how much suffering those wars (and indeed any wars) cause.

Date: 2005-11-03 04:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Discovered today about the white poppy tradition - I vaguely knew I remembered it from somewhere. Official ones only really available through mail order, though a few Quaker friends of mine were wearing them.

I may have to redecorate an official red one ;)

Date: 2005-11-03 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've always seen Rememberance Day as remembering those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy what we have, how they shouldn't have had to fight for us in the first place, and how we may learn from the mistakes of the past and not repeat them.

Of course, we don't learn anything, but we can still hope we will someday. :P

I wonder if Tim Hortons will put out a Rememberance Day Quarter ( again this year. Sure it was a marketing scheme and the poppy on the quarters rubbed off easily, but they were cool.

Date: 2005-11-04 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've bought poppies most years in a "lest we forget" sort of way.

Anyone who accuses me of supporting war by remembering those who were conscripted and gave their lives because they had to can, frankly, bite me.