SILENCE for the fallen on the 11th hour of the 11th day of November every year often brings with it a lot of nostalgia for the music and fashion of the 1940s.
Isn’t this increasingly odd though, given you’d have to be 100 to have been 16 when the war actually started. The ‘Dad’s Armification’ of the second world war has cast a bit of a gloss over a past which those old enough to remember actually being bombed do not always recall quite so fondly.
While politicians wear their red poppies and adopt sombre faces of ‘respect’ in London this weekend at the cenotaph, will they notice the homeless veterans of today?
What is the government actually doing for the mental health and wellbeing of soldiers traumatised by recent conflict?
What about the men and women who put their lives on the line and live with post traumatic shock disorder that is untreated because the waiting lists for psychiatric care are so long?
We should not rely on the charity of strangers to care for our former soldiers. That is not a plan – it’s an excuse.
And the move by Conservative MP Suella Braverman to stop charities giving homeless people pop up tents to sleep in seems callous in the extreme. You don’t get rid of a problem by moving it on.
The BBC is daily reporting devastation and mounting deaths from Gaza.
Israel’s military are decisively bombing buildings and killing people in a mission to destroy the capabilities of Hamas following the barbaric terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians of October 7.
The ordinary people of Gaza are, say many UK politicians, collateral damage in what is seen as a righteous war. Countries do have the right to defend themselves after all.
But how many civilian deaths in Gaza are acceptable? Would it be ok to raise Gaza to the ground in order to stop Hamas? I’d say ‘no’ and that’s largely because I don’t see how you can kill an idea. In fact, is there not a risk that the more civilian Palestinians are killed and maimed, the higher the chance of radicalisation?
President Biden warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against making the mistakes the US made in the wake of 9/11 and the terrorist attacks that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
So many deaths followed in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can only hope for peace as we watch in despair from our Devonian sofas what is happening so far away on the shores of the Mediterranean sea.
The marches for Palestine that this bombing has triggered across the world are being condemned in various quarters as promoting terror.
While some attending may have that agenda, it’s simply not true that all those marching for a ceasefire are anything other than desperate for the bombing of civilians to stop.
I’m glad I can say that my family have taken their place in the streets of London marching for peace.
It is easier and less expensive for politicians to remember dead soldiers than look after the living. Our silence should be for those who are still falling.