Today I took a long walk with Abby down the Slocan Rail Trail. This valley was where thousands of Japanese Canadians were interned during the Second World War. They were no threat. They were Canadian citizens – but they had everything taken away from them – were herded like cattle into the horse and cow arenas at the PNE and then transported to a place so remote they had no chance of leaving. They had nothing. They had no heat and little food in an icy cold winter.
And what makes this so much better than Germany’s concentration camps?
No gas chambers.
But they died anyway – many of them. Many who survived were then deported to Japan – where they knew no one and had never lived.
But on this day – Nov. 11, we are not supposed to remember this – we are supposed to remember heroes who preserved our freedom.
But what sort of artificial construct is this?
Today I posted on Facebook that I have mixed feelings about this day – that I am saddened by those who died – very much so. But I cannot stand with Jingoism promulgated by the military/industrial war machine, which profits from playing both sides – and profits from the deaths of innocents.
As the lyrics say: “War: what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!”
I was told when I posted this that I was disgusting. I was also told that today was not the day for this conversation – if not today, when?
Men have waged war forever it seems. They fight to gain power and wealth. In the world wars that we are supposed to commemorate today, industries in the West played both sides. United States companies armed Hitler. And what created Hitler? Bankers and industries that tore Germany apart and reduced it to a third world nation after the first war.
The history is all there. But you have to research it. The history in our books is written by the victors.
Don’t get me wrong. Hitler was abhorrent and evil – as are all fascists – power mad and bordering on madness period. But we haven’t learned. We remember – but remember what? We lay wreaths – but remember what? Do we remember the women who were raped and killed (most of my aunts) – or the children incinerated by bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Do we remember the imperialistic wars being fought today? Canadian mining companies, murdering indigenous tribes in South America? That is also war – and our government knows about it – sanctions it by doing nothing.
War – enough glorifying! My father fought in the war. My uncle did too. Neither talked about it. The only thing my father would say was that was evil – period. Any war! He eventually died from a piece of shrapnel lodged in his heart.
Do I honour him? Of course.
But I do not honour war or the evil monsters who create it. I contend that Remembrance Day is just one more way our masters create not patriotism, but jingoism in the population – one more way to keep us in line.
If we truly want to fight for our freedom, I believe we have to uncouple our minds from the propaganda machine. We have to go back to a place of critical thought and examination of facts. Even more important, we have to value every single individual life.
We are one. We are one race – the human race. There is no us and them. That is an artificial construct as are the borders that create “countries.”
We are one earth and one people. We are connected to all life. If we don’t understand this – if we don’t love one another – we will repeat the process of war over and over again.