Of Course Poppies are Political

The Disorder Of Things

As we approach Armistice Day, which comemmorates the end of World War One, the British media is awash with the usual froth about poppies: the badges sold by a veterans’ group, the Royal British Legion, to raise funds for veterans and their families. This year’s poppy-outrage story is that FIFA has banned British footballers from wearing poppy armbands at this weekend’s matches on the grounds that they are political symbols. The plucky English Football Association plans to defy the ban. FIFA is wrong to ban the armbands, but only because bans on freedom of expression should be opposed in whatever form. But they are, of course, entirely right that the poppy is a political symbol.

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2 thoughts on “Of Course Poppies are Political”

  1. Of course it is easy to sneer at the poppy day ritual. I attended a few ceremonies in the 60s as a kid representing our local St.John’s Ambulance Brigade and I can assure you that the solemnity of the occasion was very much impressed upon me. Of course it finished with the national anthem but what I came away with was a sentiment of ‘never again’,antiwar. There were old codgers there from the Great War,younger ones from the Second war and of course many relations of people that didn’t come back. I don’t even know if the Remembrance ceremonies still continue these days but the absolute respect and dignity of the participants was more impressive than anything I ever experienced in a church.
    It wasn’t, as far as we were concerned, about nationalism but about ‘never again’. And respect.

    1. I didn’t find any indication of a “sneer” in Lee Jones’ post to be honest.

      And I can’t help but point out that the great solemnity and dignity and whatever else impressed you as a child has had no impact whatsoever on the tendency of states to go to war.

      Remembrance Day was a major event for a number of years in my childhood as well. The silence in my hometown was awesome as the ceremony unfolded at the cenotaph.

      Of course I grew up with the occasional siren soundings practicing for the nuclear war that never came and watched on nightly TV as our neighbors to the south slaughtered 4 million SE Asians in the name of democracy, freedom and, I imagine, “never again”.

      So, as an adult I tend to think that a poppy, a ceremony and $4 will get you a triple mocha with whip … and little else.

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