World War I: Remembering the fallen, with respect
One hundred years ago today ended the most grueling of wars involving disgusting conditions for soldiers and at least 17 million deaths. We learnt nothing.
One hundred years ago today, on November 11, 1918, the Armistice was signed ending the First World War, in which soldiers living in deplorable conditions in trenches were sent to their deaths in acts of mass murder by callous officers, to be torn to shreds caught in barbed wire and machine-gunned to pieces. Ten million soldiers and seven million civilians lost their lives in this hideous conflict which tore families apart and saw victims who were gassed struggling with the rest of their lives almost until the new century in some cases.
However futile the conflict was, however violent (Serbia lost a quarter of its population fighting selflessly alongside those who would later bomb the population and deride the country as a hostile state, namely, who else, the USA and its chihuahua-in-chief), however tragic (Russia was yet again the country which made the greatest sacrifice, nearly two million soldiers), not a quarter of a century later, the Second World War was to claim some 75 million lives, 26 million of these belonging to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Yet today, Russia is described by the United Kingdom as a "hostile nation" and hardly a news bulletin passes without some insolent and derogatory comment or a barefaced lie at Moscow's expense.
So as we remember those, all of those, who gave their lives in the First World War for their generals, who showed a total and utter disrespect and disregard for the men and women doing their fighting for them, let us also remember the fallen, all of the fallen, in the Second World War.
And let us question exactly where these two wars have led us, apart from the hundred million lives lost. For between these two massive conflicts, the second being the largest and most devastating in human history, some 40 million people lost their lives in numerous conflicts across the globe.
And let us remember that despite the magnitude of the Second World War (or Great Patriotic War for the USSR), when it would be logical to label this as the war to end all wars as the First World War was labeled, since 1945 there have been the Indochina War (400,000 dead), the Greek Civil War (160,000), the Malagasy Uprising (35,000), the Kashmir War (94,000), the Colombian Violence (190,000), the Myanmar Conflict (180,000), the Arab-Israeli Conflict (116,000), the Hyderabad Conflict (84,000), the Korean War (1,200,000), the Algerian War (725,000), the Nagaland Conflict (34,000), the Vietnam War (1,700,000), the Sudanese Civil War (500,000), the Congo Conflict (100,000), the Angolan War (93,000), the North Yemen Civil War (141,000), the West Papua Conflict (245,000), the Mozambican War (75,000), the NorthEast India Insurgence (25,000), the Colombian Conflict (220,000), the Nigerian Civil War (1,732,051), the Moro Conflict (120,000), the CPP-NPA-NDF Rebellion in the Philippines (36,000), the Bangladesh Liberation War (3,000,000), the Ethiopian Civil War (866,000), the Angolan Civil War (500,000), the Lebanese Civil War (135,000), the Laos Conflict (100,000), the Afghanistan Wars (2,500,000), the Kurdish Conflict (45,000), the Iran-Iraq War (500,000), the Peruvian Conflict (700,000), the Ugandan Bush War (225,000), the Second Sudanese Civil War (1,500,000), the Sri Lankan Civil War (90,000), the Somali Civil War (387,000), the Lord's Resistance Army Insurgency (223,000), the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict (38,000), the Gulf War (32,000), the Algerian Civil War (94,000), the Bosnian War (101,000), the 1991 Iraqi coup attempt (141,000), the Sierra Leone Conflict (122,000), the Burundi Conflict (300,000), the Congo Wars (4,000,000), the Ituri Conflict (60,000), the War of Terror (585,000), the NATO-Afghanistan War (53, 949), the NATO-Iraq War (500,000), the Darfur Conflict (285,000), the Kivu Conflict (100,000), the NorthWest Pakistan Conflict (50,000), the Houthi Conflict in Yemen (25,000), the Mexican Drug War (106,000), the Boko Haram Insurgency (51,000), the Syrian Civil War (470,000), the Iraqi Civil War (75,000).
So let all those who stand today with hand on heart singing platitudes for the fallen remember the futility of Wars, all wars, remember all the fallen in all conflicts, and make sure that we never again have a single conflict in which lives and lost and families are destroyed. Every man and woman fallen is a son or a daughter, a brother or sister, a father or mother. So let those responsible for the selling of weapons to parties in conflict, those fostering violence by training, supporting, aiding and abetting terrorists, be held to account.
The buck stops at whose feet? What can you do about it? Ask your representative (Member of Parliament or Congressperson) where (s)he stands on conflict overseas and if (s)he makes noises justifying any conflict in any way, shape or form, press the deselect button. Hold your representative to account before (s) is selected. Parliaments and Congresses free of war criminals!
If a fraction of the money spend on wars was deployed into development projects...but no. And do not tell me that the human species is not the most fickle, disgusting, unwanted, deplorable and evil specimen ever to have inflicted itself on this planet.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru. He is an official translator, a coach, a consultant and a professor.