As the UK’s Remembrance Day approaches many of us will be wearing white poppies. The Peace Pledge Union points out that “the white poppy stands for three things. They represent remembrance for all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a challenge to attempts to glamorise or celebrate war.” The 11th November is just before the COP26 conference ends in Glasgow.
The overlap is timely. COVID 19 has highlighted our global interdependence – we cannot be safe from deadly viruses until we co-operate effectively across national borders, and do so in a just and equal way. The same maturity is an obvious requirement for rescuing our future on the planet - a maturity that looks quite beyond us at present. We seem determined to continue on the path of the ruthless and destructive extraction of the world’s natural resources. And instead of taking up the demanding tasks of dialogue across the borders and the power blocs we keep up our military growling and snarling, our infantile brinkmanship with navies and air forces, our ferocious competition to have the best arsenal of the most deadly and inhumane weapons.
In many ways the global situation is reminiscent of the decades leading up to WW1. There was the wrestling between states anxious to have the best trade routes and zones for exploitation. There were the parading of ever more powerful navies. The rivalry and the perceived threats were hyped by the press. The arms companies became more and more hopeful of rich profit. And as Europe slithered downwards towards disaster it became too late to stop the momentum. That is why this year above all a red poppy is not enough. If the human race does not give up the war addiction there is no future for us. If we don’t grow up pretty sharpish we will burn up or blow up, and maybe both.
The better news is that ordinary people across the world are waking up to the reality. Mike Small in Bella Caledonia writes about the welter of protest around COP26 in the coming days: “But if the absence of leadership at this existential moment for humanity haunts Glasgow, there is inspiration from below. There is light in the darkness. The city will be littered with creative protest, direct action and mass rallies.” And this will be mirrored in worldwide demonstrations. Play your part if you can. Wear your white poppy and be ready to explain why.
White Poppies from the PPU Online shop https://shop.ppu.org.uk/
From the Edinburgh Yes Hub, 31 Lasswade Road, Edinburgh EH16 6TD 0131 664 7857
By email from firstname.lastname@example.org