Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 10 October 2015

New look at conflict needed

Published 11/11/2008

Apart from accrediting the term ‘hero’ to the principal character in a play or film, my dictionary more meaningfully, defines the word as ‘someone greatly admired for exceptional qualities or achievements’.

I would take it that the latter definition includes acts of bravery and derring-do; qualities which, in themselves, are not necessarily related to wisdom or moral purpose.

It is these latter qualities, however, which are ascribed by the media to those making up the recent RIR parade in Belfast and the abundance of ex-military personnel remembering from some angle or proximity the awful agonies of capitalism’s ongoing brutal conflicts.

One can understand and sympathise with the pain felt by loved ones of the victims of any ‘side’ in these obscene conflicts, but martial music, pseudo-military style parading, foot stamping, forelock touching and command bellowing is a recognition, even a glorification, of war.

Surely fallen comrades would

be more gloriously remembered at activities where the political and economic causes of war were exposed and resolutions made to discourage future generations from partaking in it.

Perhaps old enemies could mingle and resolve that if their masters needed blood-letting that blood should not be that of the working class.

I find it particularly difficult to understand the attitude of clerics to the business of war — and it is a business. I thought God, in his various denominational identities, admonished his followers ‘Thou shalt not kill’?

Richard Montague


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