Today I shall wear my white poppy, a poppy with the word ‘Peace’ at its centre. That word will no doubt be used many times as today we remember those who died and those whose lives were forever damaged by the seemingly endless conflicts that have plagued the world.
Following World War 2, and led by by America, instead of laying the groundwork for further conflict in Europe, as happened post WW1, we rebuilt Germany as a modern democracy. Gradually Europe also was rebuilt, albeit with many faults. Have we forgotten everything we had learned? An earlier leader said, “If you want peace, prepare for war”. I prefer the words I quoted earlier this week, of Jean Varu “If you want peace, don’t pay for war”.
So, today I shall wear my White Poppy, to honour those who fought to bring peace, because if we are not peacemakers they fought and died for nothing. If ‘sacrifice’ is to have meaning we must work at least as hard at peace as we do at war. Only it seems there is little profit in peace. Our UK commitment of 0.7% of GDP for international development has only been met in recent years. What is the GDP % spend on ‘Defence’? More that twice as much at 2%, after all, we must keep our Arms Industry in business and the workers employed.
David Cameron acknowledged that, if we want to stem the tide of refugees we need to be at work in the countries they are fleeing. It seems though that it is more profitable to sell arms to countries in those regions, to destablise governments rather than work to improve them, to ‘pay for war’ instead of putting in the ‘hard yards’ for peace. Many of the skills used in the Arms Industry could easily be translated into medicine and disaster relief, not so spectacular as missiles and bombs.
My prayer is that the voices of the few white poppies will be heard; a voice that whispers, “Let’s try harder for peace and make less noise for war, for the sake of those who died and live damaged lives as a result of war”.