I’m starting this new blog just after Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. I tend to be somewhat ambivalent about Remembrance. Of course it is right to honour those who paid a high price for such imperfect liberties as we enjoy today. I could hardly believe otherwise, since both sides of my family were directly involved, and one person made the supreme sacrifice.
Nevertheless, isn’t it time just to have a simple service of remembrance, thanksgiving and penitence, rather than something that can so easily turn into a display of military triumphalism? I say ‘penitence’ because for a long time we have concentrated on military casualties at the expense of the civilian victims. There are no war memorials in Rwanda, and the prisoners in Guantánamo, whatever they may have done, are also casualties of the so-called ‘war on terror’.
To forget the nameless victims is to deny their precious humanity.