Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK. The second Sunday in November marks the end of hostilities in the First World War in 1918, a war in which 10 million soldiers and 7 million civilians lost their lives. As a young pacifist I was horrified and saddened by the callous slaughter of a generation to protect the economic and territorial interests of the ruling class of Europe. If they came for me to fight their wars, as they had throughout the centuries, I would refuse to join their cause and suffer any consequence.
Hopefully, with maturity comes insight. As a young British working class man, if I had been of age in 1914, I realise that I would have left my workplace and marched down to the recruiting office to enlist with my fellow workers. Mmm…I was so much older then, I’m younger then that now.
I respect the sacrifice made by those who have died in the name of their country. There is no family unaffected by the momentous events of the last century and my thoughts today are with those who have family they love involved in current conflict. There has never been a time when the world has been without war. However, I remain a firm opponent of any nation which chooses to pursue their self interest with an option that results in death, destruction and sadness.
This song, by Bob Dylan, is 50 years old now. It affected and influenced me as a young man and is still relevant as political commentary and an artistic masterpiece.