the red poppy is supposed to be one of remembrance, but to me it always feels one of forgetting
with the red poppy we, supposedly, remember the willing sacrifices made by millions to defend our right to freedom… but even if we put aside the assumption of “willing” soldiers, what do we forget with this remembering?
we forget that those on all sides made sacrifices they felt were good and necessary — or had no clear means of avoiding. why do we need to remember the coercive foreign policy of militarized states?
we forget that, increasingly today and arguably since its inception, war maims and kills culture and community moreso than individual soldiers.
we forget that remembering war sacrifices as a necessary precursor to our modern-day “freedom” assumes that we love where we are, that we know what freedom and peace are and how to experience and them.
we forget that the past century was the bloodiest and most violent in human history and that it only shows signs of worsening.
but there are things we can remember, if we can find the space and mindfullness to connect with our ancestors and spirits.
we can remember that war is a human invention, a necessary element of civilization, not an inherent part of human existence.
we can remember that the first great act of violence, the creation of property, is what defines and enables all subsequent war and violence, and we cherish property now more than ever while purportedly vowing to end future war by remembering past ones.
to reject war, to reject the entire concept of a military is not to spit on soldiers or civilians… it is to remember, to see, to imagine viscerally a living beyond property, law and violence. to reconnect with connection. (it is for this same reason that we can wholly reject industries of oil, mining, arms, fast food and sweat shop goods without needing to occlude the humanity of the workers involved in those machines of destruction).
it is also to remember that war, even only in its remembrance, encourages the invisible social war we live daily through wanton destruction of the biosphere, race and gender violence, wage slavery, prison-based school systems, standards of ability, and a general suppression of creative love and compassion.
so long as we remember war as a necessary element of our past, we preclude our remembering of a peaceful life.
there is no naivety in pursuing an ideal of peace; there is naivety in thinking it has anything to do with war and violence.