Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Remember 11.11





I've seen a few of these comments flying around on the internet, much as they did last year:


'SENDING STAFF HOME FOR WEARING A POPPY! IF IT WASN'T FOR THE MEN AND WOMEN OUT THERE AND THE MEN AND WOMEN LOST, YOU WOULDN'T BE SITTING IN YOUR POXY SHOP. YOU'RE PURE DIRT. SET THIS AS YOUR STATUS IF YOU SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. WEAR YOUR POPPY WITH PRIDE!'




Over the next couple of weeks as we get closer to 11.11 these kind of messages will be all over Facebook.


There will be messages against shops for not allowing staff to wear a poppy.  There will be messages against young people for lack of respect over memorial sites.  There will be messages against Islamic extremists for burning poppies in the street.


I believe it is right to honour those who have given their lives in war.  It is right to remember them and to show our respect to their memory, to show our respect to their loved ones, and to show our respect to those who are currently away fighting.  
I have tried to explain to Grace about the two World Wars and give her an idea and understanding of Remembrance Day.


11.11 must be a day that we uphold and continue to be a part of.


Yet the more I think about it and study it, the more I am becoming a pacifist. 


My concern however is that 11.11 will be made a mockery by US if we respond in hate and violence to those who do not care about 11.11 or who want to offend with their actions over 11.11.


The more that messages like the one above are shared on Facebook and the like, the more fear of the other and hatred of the other will be instilled in the hearts and the minds of society.  


Trash like the Daily Mail will do its best to make you fearful and hateful of anyone who is not white and British, and 11.11 is always a time when they seek to do this to the extreme.


Do not allow yourself to be swept up in the propaganda in the media and social networking.


People will do things that offend you and the memory of others, but real strength and beauty lies in responding in love and forgiveness.


It is power and hate that leads to war, and when there is war we have always lost in some way.  Those who have died in war I'm sure would have rather that there had never been war.  We must do what we can to be a people of peace, looking for ways to be peaceful.  If we allow hate to fill our hearts then war will happen, and 11.11 becomes pointless, because those who lost their lives fought for peace.


Surely the best, the very best we can do is to stretch out our hands in love and forgiveness, seeking to make enemies our friends and so avoid the spiral into destruction.  


And surely those that lost their lives are urging us on to give ourselves in love and forgiveness so that what happened in the past will never happen again.


This 11.11 pray for those who offend you, seek peace with those who are filled with hate, love the loveless and be a sign of hope to the hopeless. 

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