Help Please! Poppy as... dare I even say it?


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R.I.P. Stephen Godden

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To mark the centenary, we released a show yesterday on Litopia After Dark with former SAS officer and current Veteran's for Peace activist & UK founder Ben Griffin. Great guy with a gripping life story. Towards the end of the show he compares the commemorative poppy to the swastika-- only he makes a valid point in doing so, and one that I believe deserves more oxygen. Please do check it out.

Having conducted the interview, my personal press release would go something along the lines of:
"Now that remembrance day has passed, maybe it's time to discuss how the poppy is being used to encourage children to join the armed forces, especially in the wake of failed campaigns like Iraq and Afghanistan. While I may not agree with Mr. Griffin, I can appreciate how a former special forces officer-- commanded to snatch and grab Iraqi civilians in the dead of night and deliver them to be tortured in Abu Grahib-- might come to compare the UK military's appropriation of the poppy as a recruitment device to other successful propaganda campaigns."

IMHO this is an important, if controversial pacifist message-- brought up by someone deep inside the war machine who took the red pill. I would like this meme to spread (and to promote the show/site/colony in the process) by social as well as traditional media-- broadsheets, television, magazines. Yet I'm wary such an incendiary quote and topic would be taken out of context and be reduced to click bait for trolls. I'm also, you know, American and the poppy doesn't contain the same cultural resonance as it does to, say, my English wife who lost her great-grandfather in the Somme.

Anyone have a personal contact in trad media who might like to cover this controversial aspect of Litopia?

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Can't provide your media outlet, but just a comment. I think the poppy still largely symbolises peace and remembrance, but I do object strongly to both the showbizisation and militarisation of remembrance. It's not about putting on fancy shows in the Albert Hall and its not about people dressing up in uniforms. It's supposed to be about ordinary people remembering.
I agree with you Brian, but apparently the poppy appeal is funded largely by defense contractors and not by ordinary people buying poppies for a quid. His point is that the symbol is being used for the opposite of peace. And then there's this (from Tesco):Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 8.54.28 PM.png
What Ben had to say (especially about the hypocrisy of who is backed and where) was really interesting. That being said, for me the poppy will always be a symbol of remembrance. The swastika is a symbol of ideology, the poppy is to remind us of what was lost with the sentiment of never allowing it to happen again. The idea that it is being used to recruit is a fascinating one and I knew nothing of the t-shirts saying 'Future Soldier' on them, but the imagery and the atmosphere that comes with remembrance day is sombre. I haven't seen any posters this year (I haven't been anywhere to see them!) but usually they depict poppy fields, crosses, uniforms and lone soldiers, and nothing about that sounds appealing for recruitment. I know very, very little about this subject, I'm just weighing in with some thoughts.

Oh! And on the topic of the military not being the answer to all the problems in the world, we need look no further than 'The Walking Dead' to see that in action! What we really need is a Ricktatorship. No takers? Okay, fine.
I won’t buy another, sadly.

I think Ben Griffin made a lot of sense, and it’s been on my mind a lot since the show. Learning that key arms manufacturers / dealers fund the British Legion was rather jaw-dropping. I had no idea.

Ben told me afterwards that the total amount collected on the streets is the same as / less than the amount spent promoting Poppy day. In which case... what’s it all really about? Helping the war wounded... or institutionalising the concept of war?

Two years ago, the president of the British Legion resigned after a newspaper sting exposed him as using his position to lobby on behalf of weapons manufacturers. That, in my book, is deeply unethical.

I think the whole area is hugely murky.
In which case... what’s it all really about? Helping the war wounded... or institutionalising the concept of war?
That's a worrying thought. :(

I just found a blog entry about this and it was pretty interesting. It’s similar to what Ben was saying, I think. Here's a paragraph from it:

"I would wear a red poppy if it wasn’t part of a broader militarism in our society which makes war more likely, rather than less; if it wasn’t bound up with national narratives of heroism and the legitimacy and rightness of military force; and if it wasn’t implicitly supportive of military values. If the red poppy came to symbolize opposition to war and support for peaceful values; I would consider wearing it."

The whole thing can be found here: https://richardjacksonterrorismblog...why-i-wear-the-white-poppy-not-the-red-poppy/

Someone in the comments has already suggested it, but a poppy that has the colours red, white, and purple to show remembrance for all those who were lost and also show a stance against future wars would be good. That being said, I suppose it’s still what happens behind the scenes regardless of the sentiment behind the poppy that matters.
The hushed-tone, head down reverence of the (sentiment behind) the poppy contains a faint whiff of the American gun debate after every school shooting: Now is not the time to talk about gun control. Now is the time to allow the families of the victims to mourn... until enough time has passed that the 2nd amendment becomes inviolate once again.
Jackson writes very eloquently.

The other issue that makes me uneasy is – should the war wounded really have to rely on acts of charity for their support? The true cost of a conflict can last for many decades after the fighting has stopped. If the state is going to wage war, then surely the state must be prepared for all the long-terms costs.
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R.I.P. Stephen Godden