Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yesterday the last survivor of the first world war died.
And all the cliches were trotted out, about how we will never forget their sacrifice.
His name was Harry Patch. What happened to him in the trenches was so horrible he was over a hundred years old before he could bring himself to speak of it.
He said very firmly and clearly that we should also honour the Germans; that nothing was or could be gained by war that would justify the suffering it causes.
"We will never forget" says the Prime Minister, no doubt with the greatest sincerity, at the same time he justifies a war which shows he has, in fact, utterly forgooten. Even before the pious words have come out his mouth.
"We will never forget" says the newsreader. And the next item is the new of another British soldier killed in Afghanistan. Because, like the Prime Minister, we have completely forgotten. Forgotten without even being aware that we forgot.
The news reader reads out the name: a picture is flashed up on the screen.
And we are told we will never forget.

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