Today, more than perhaps in any year previous during my life, we need to encourage our political leaders (if indeed we can consider them to be leading) to remember the errors of the past.
Lest We Forget.
Not everywhere in the world, but certainly in several countries, especially Canada, today is Remembrance Day, where we are meant to recognize those who sacrificed their lives so that we might have the world we live in today. More than a century from the events that spurred the creation of this day, we try to at least acknowledge the horrors that millions experienced, our great-grand relatives, some of whom met their end on forgotten fields in Europe. Then, barely a generation later, another more global conflict.
The lessons learned: few, but most importantly to respect that war is more than just “terrible”, it’s irrevocably destructive to countries, to environments, and to cultures. It’s not a short-term effect, it’s forever in the memories of those who survive, and quite frequently for many generations to come. Worse, the understanding of events is distorted with each successive generation, as the events become glamourized, abbreviated, truncated, even rewritten in modern contexts, all of which erode the brutality, dulling the pain and making the conflict less of a lesson … and more of a roadmap.
That’s where we are today, failing to have learned the lessons of the past. Not just with the current wars in Russia-Ukraine, various parts of Africa, along with the rising tensions in East Asia/China that threaten to ignite another superpowers struggle. Added to that the flagrant “willful ignorance” of the theocratic right who seems content to reinstall all the errors inherent to the Doctrine of Discovery, as if we hadn’t already seen the human carnage and have tried to start making amends for those atrocities.
Lest We Forget.
Because we are forgetting, often willingly. Because, somehow, we think it won’t be as bad this time around.
Our Leaders need to stow their egos in the overhead compartments, sit down, and recognize that they are a passenger in the same plane as the rest of us, and that causing that much turbulence affects us all. We need leaders who recognize the challenges of peace and how important it is to treat it as a responsibility, not just a buzzword … or worse, a bingo square.
Today, more than ever, we need to demand our leaders lead us into a peaceful future. Because the alternative is preparing our successive generations for a harsh survival that even Hollywood hasn’t yet imagined.