I am of Irish heritage and would not wear a poppy, as I associate it with the many violent, oppressive acts that were perpetrated by the British army on Irish soil, not for ethically justified reasons, but to prolong imperialistic control over someone else's country. Crooke Park, the murderous practices of the Black and Tans and more recently Bloody Sunday all bear witness to far from honourable or disciplined behaviour.
However, as a symbol of remembrance for the individuals, often working class, financially compelled to serve, or conditioned into accepting what Wilfred Owen called 'the old lie', the poppy is for many a poignant memorial to loved ones who have passed and that should be respected.
Despite my deep disdain for violence of any sort and militarism in particular, people have the right to remember their loved ones. However, I do not believe I am alone in questioning the polished historical narrative of the honourable and just British Army defending all that is right, when so many historical incidents demonstrate that the military was used to uphold often brutal colonialism and secure British economic control over areas became dominions.
The poppy is a symbol of remembrance of those who died, it is not a celebration of war nor of militarism.
My grandfather (who was at Passchendaele and survived WW1) had no animosity towards the Germans and my father was the same - in fact he and a mate (Eddie Billings) had a great time one summer "wine tasting" up the Rhine with some German vets of the North African campaign. There is a kind of international brotherhood of soldiers even if they've fought each other, because they're the only ones who really know the reality of war - something that civilians don't.
The poppy seems to have had quite a varied history and interpretation, being adopted by The Royal British Legion in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces, after its formation in 1921.
In contrast, the White Poppy was first introduced by the Women's Co-operative Guild in thirties was intended as a symbol for peace - many veterans felt that its significance undermined their contribution and the lasting meaning of the red poppy many women losing their jobs in the '30s for wearing them.
Interestingly Jon Snow berated this push of wearing the poppy as "poppy fascism" and argued that the Appeal is being used to glorify current wars. Most Irish nationalists and Irish Catholics refuse to wear one too.
The real determinant is what was the purpose of the war - if it was just, what follows can be argued as noble. It is wasn't what follows can be argued as ignoble.
In this case the aims were never just, fair or reasonable - wars fought for nasty and brutish reasons such as self-interests, power and territory.
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