November 11th, known as “Remembrance Day” in Canada, is pretty much intolerable on social media. We are inundated with flags and blind patriotism, pictures of veterans posing in the formations of their original invasion pictures, inane comments like “he died so I could live”, “the price for freedom” and other similar obfuscated war propaganda.
This is the day for the inhuman celebration of the killing of the unnamed enemy, forgetting that that enemy had a face. This is a day for forgetting that the enemy was also coerced into fighting in the name of their worthless governments or country, just as the veterans of North America were. This is a day for forgetting to do causal analysis for why the wars were fought. This is a day for forgetting that war is actively sought for profit, and how evil political puppets of war profiteers lie their way into wars on behalf of their countries again and again, regardless of what side they are nominally on.
We’ve all been touched by the wars of the 20th centuries in many ways. My VanaEma (grandmother) and my dad effectively lost most of their family, their homes and their heritage, and were refugees in Finland and Sweden. Having lost his real father, my dad ended up abused and damaged by his first step father, a drunken beast who thankfully died in a fishing accident. If there had been no world war, he would have had a home, his real father, his country and family. Dad lived a lot of his life seeming displaced, and not fitting in. VanaEma’s final husband was stuck mentally in his WWII experience, and talked of nothing else, reliving that trauma again and again by inflicting it on anybody around. I think that is why my VanaEma ended up needing a hearing aid — so she could shut off her husband. I don’t celebrate the war that led to all this trauma and displacement.
I don’t think that I personally know any North American veterans of the war, but know of three in my family circle that were made to fight on the German side of the war, all damaged mentally. Two of those men went on to damage their family as they lived out their PTSD, initiating a cycle of abuse that still has an impact today. The thing that we should remember is not the valor and the glory of war, but the evil of war. This should not be a day of triumph and celebration of victory over the enemy, or flag waving, or the mindless propagation of the fable of the “Good war”. We should remember that we had two times in the last century where millions of people fell for the propaganda and coercive conscription imposed by their governments that had them fight and die for wars that should never have been fought at all.
There is no good side in the mass mobilization of men for war, only death.