Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ninety years

Today, November 11th, marks the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Ninety years ago today, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns on the western front fell silent.

I've posted before - on the 90th anniversary of the war's beginning - my thoughts on this abhorrent conflict. It was not a "just war", it was not "glorious", and it was not worth fighting. The greed, pride, and sheer stupidity of Europe's arrogant and inbred aristocracy was not worth a single human life - let alone ten million.

As for those who died in it, we should remember them, but not as heroes. There is no "heroism" in killing other people. Instead, we should remember them as the victims of Empire. And we should honour their memory - all their memories, not just those on "our" side - by not repeating the same mistakes which saw them killed. That means, above all, not getting involved in other people's stupid wars. But it also means working for peace and to establish and enforce a strong international norm against armed conflict. The horror and price of World War One caused people to call it "the war to end all wars"; we should work to make that true, and to make sure that such conflict never happens again.