I decided on a whim today to go and take in the poppies exhibition as this is the last day.
I do feel that we glorify war in this country. Its a big industry, weapons.
I’d tweeted a little on the subject.
Also, I did buy a poppy, but I did feel a dilemma when I did so…but I paid my money, took my poppy, and swiftly put it into my handbag. Wearing it just doesn’t feel right for me these days. I wore one all the time as a kid. It was a great feeling to put your money into the little slot, and pin the poppy to your school uniform. Of course, I wasn’t thinking that much about the politics in those days. My rationale here was that the money would go to help individuals who are perhaps suffering from the fallout of being in conflict…and those men and women I had met at the legion were just lovely. Really sweet. I also had a gut feeling, that perhaps as we have become more polarised as a society, shaking the poppy tin and wearing a poppy brings with it other connotations I believe. So partly…I just wanted the man with the tin to feel a little support from a woman of colour. I’m soft like that!
BUT. I definitely didn’t want to wear it! I looked at all the BBC presenters who all have them on and wondered, if by some happenstance I was to appear on the channel…would I have been forced to wear it? Did anyone feel this dilemma…or was it just me?
I’m glad I went. I met some really interesting people. I met an awesome photographer who works in Oman but is visiting to to update his visa. He showed me some amazing pictures he had taken on his phone. I’m talking world class photography here. Then there was one lady and her husband who were there for the 3 o’clock poppy removal shift. She was a mine of information. She seemed to know absolutely everything about the war, and the exhibition. I was firing questions at her…and she pretty much knew all the answers. (Perhaps I should’ve asked her about the lottery numbers!!)
I asked how how many poppies there were (to represent the amount of people who died in the war…)
I met another elderly lady in a wheelchair. She had important numbers written down and taped to the back of her phone!! 🙂 Her father had been in the war and survived. He had even written a book on the subject, which at the time he believed would put an end to war. Such was his experience. She took my details and promised to send me a copy in the post. She said his name was T Rogers. I’ve done a little digging online…and I think this might be it.
I asked them how they felt about the memorial. How they felt about the war…and each one had a story of a relative who had fought. So interesting. They asked me how I felt…and we were all in agreement. Many, many good men lost their lives..needlessly…and in such huge and devastating numbers.
I reflected on what society have been like had this war not taken place. Has we not lost the potential of a generation of men, at such a pivotal time in history. As one gentleman said to me “they left the worst of the gene pool…so many of these were brilliant men!!) A bit harsh maybe…but he does have a point.
Anyway. No one really cares if I wear a poppy or not right? The fact for me is…we have been consistently engaged in wars in the Africa and the Middle East. Many people are suffering….and it seems we have learned nothing. I don’t want my wearing of a poppy to emit any tacit acceptance on my part of current conflicts…or of past wars.
I think Edwin Starr said it best…War…what is it good for? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Say it AGAIN.