Saturday, November 10, 2012

Why No Honest War Memorials?

I've seen many war memorials.   A good many of them are topped by some heroic-looking lump of bronze depicting a perfect specimen, with immaculate puttees, a jaw fixed in determination, wielding a Lee Enfield with bayonet attached and leaning into an implied fray.

Oddly enough these memorials never, absolutely never show us the maimed, dismembered corpses we're actually there to venerate.  We excise the reality of mayhem to sanitize the slaughter.

Lest We Forget, really? 


LeDaro said...

I fully agree with you. No one is a winner in a war. In recent years Iraq, Afghanistan, U.S and allies are all losers. Only winners are a few corporations who are in oil and gas business and those who produce weapons.

Kirbycairo said...

You speak of the one's we are there to "venerate" but what about the countless throngs that our own soldiers have maimed or turned into corpses?

The entire exercise of "Remembrance Day" is little more than one more attempt to foster blind patriotism and obedience to the rich and powerful in whose real interest the entire military charade really functions.

If they really made monuments that portrayed a real picture it would sew the seeds of doubt in our population and that is not what the powerful want. Meanwhile the living soldiers who thought they were making noble sacrifices are thrown on the scrap-heap by the Harpercons.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the UK.
We did not 'celebrate' Rememberance Day We "observed "Armistice Day".
The parades were made up of WWI & WWII veterans both of which expressed the notion of NO MORE WAR.
There was NEVER any motion to push a Political or Military agenda.
Nowdays I fear we have missed the message of those that 'really' served.

J from Wpg said...

1918 nov 11 wasn't the end of The Great War. It was the day an armistice came into effect. The armistice was negotiated so the German army could return home and start killing it's citizens who were no longer supportive of the ruinous war.

The Mound of Sound said...

Very well put, Anon. While we retain vestiges of this as a somber event, we have lost the message of the ruinous futility of war that degrades entire nations. Today we do venerate what was usually inadvertent loss of life and imbue it with a false nobility that never was.

In so many ways, Stephen Harper represents what Remembrance Day has warped into today. It was Harper who roundly scolded the Chretien government for not tossing Canadian soldiers into Iraq in order that Canada might stand "shoulder to shoulder" with our natural allies, Britain, Australia and the United States.

crf said...

Guernica is the most famous counterexample.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, Chris, which is possibly why we consider it such an obscenity.

Beijing York said...

Another anti-romantic depiction of war from Goya:

Anyong said...

Mark Twain once said if our votes mattered we wouldn't be allowed to vote. It's the same with's controlled or simply ignored.