»   Why is Labour keeping its candidate list secret, asks @markfergusonuk on Labour List. Good question http://bit.ly/exAv2v 3 hrs ago

»   I'm going away for a week, woohoo! http://t.co/wF5gcpb - @donpaskini is in charge of @libcon with @jaomahony and @EllieCumbo associate eds. 9 hrs ago

»   Muslim LGBT group Imaan say Gay Pride event in London organised by EDL sympathiser http://bit.ly/eGT0Wj 10 hrs ago

»   Daily Mail exclusive finds random people on the internet, including by 'whitefang', thought it was political correctness gone mad #shocked 11 hrs ago

»   ITV writer worries having black characters in drama might give ppl impression they're living in Britain http://t.co/acioFMO (via @dr_fiona) 11 hrs ago

» More updates...


  • Family

    • Earwicga
    • Liberal Conspiracy
  • Comrades

    • Andy Worthington
    • Angela Saini
    • Bartholomew’s notes
    • Bleeding Heart Show
    • Bloggerheads
    • Blood & Treasure
    • Campaign against Honour Killings
    • Cath Elliott
    • Chicken Yoghurt
    • Daily Mail Watch
    • Dave Hill
    • Dr. Mitu Khurana
    • Europhobia
    • Faith in Society
    • Feministing
    • Gender Bytes
    • Harry’s Place
    • IKWRO
    • MediaWatchWatch
    • Ministry of Truth
    • Natalie Bennett
    • New Statesman blogs
    • Operation Black Vote
    • Our Kingdom
    • Robert Sharp
    • Rupa Huq
    • Shiraz Socialist
    • Shreen Ayob
    • Shuggy’s Blog
    • Stumbling and Mumbling
    • Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • The F Word
    • Though Cowards Flinch
    • Tory Troll
    • UK Polling Report
  • In-laws

    • Aaron Heath
    • Douglas Clark's saloon
    • Get There Steppin’
    • Incurable Hippie
    • Neha Viswanathan
    • Power of Choice
    • Rita Banerji
    • Sarah
    • Sepia Mutiny
    • Sonia Faleiro
    • The Langar Hall
    • Turban Head



  • Technorati: graph / links

    Why I wear a White Poppy


    by guest
    7th November, 2010 at 10:00 am    

    A guest post by Cerith Rhys Jones.

    I for one am proud to have received a pack of 5 white poppies in the post today.  ‘Be prepared for the negative comments,’ I was warned.  Maybe so, but why should there be negative comments?

    The purpose of the White Poppy that I wear at this time of year is not to insult serving officers, veterans or anyone connected to or affected by the Armed Forces or war.  Its purpose is to grieve and remember the dead and anyone affected by armed conflict, but remembering that war is in fact, an unnecessary evil.

    If I want to express gratitude or honour for the fallen, or survivors, why should I have to do it through a Royal British Legion?  What if I want to pay tribute to everyone – anywhere in the world at any point in history – who has done what they believe to be right by their country, and people who’ve been affected by their actions?

    The White Poppy Movement, (The Peace Pledge Union), was started by wives, daughters, sisters, fiancées etc. of fallen servicemen in WWI, who’d said, ‘Enough is enough,’ so let’s not fool ourselves that wearing a White Poppy is a move specifically aimed at offending service families.  It isn’t.

    To fight for one’s country is a brave thing to do.  Of that, let there be no doubt.  Is fighting, killing and suffering, honourable?  No.  But holding that belief is not synonymous with believing that service men and women, their families, and civilians affected by armed conflict the world over, shouldn’t be respected and paid tribute to.

    Wearing a White Poppy simply shows that yes, one respects servicepeople and pays tribute to them, and yes, one honours the dead, but that above that, above the tragic human nature to result to killing to resolve conflicts which, in reality, the individuals on the ground have nothing to do with, there still exists the belief that war cannot ever be just.

    Just – to the innocent civilian blown to pieces by an IED.  Just – to our grandfathers and great-grandfathers whose battalions came under constant fire in Burma and elsewhere.  Just – to the young men and women who fought an illegal political war in Iraq and are still on the front line in Afghanistan.

    Perhaps the recognition of that fact above else is the greatest honour of all.


                  Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: Current affairs






    50 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/bQLvSO


    2. Only Me

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/bQLvSO


    3. cowan88

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/bQLvSO


    4. irene rukerebuka

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/bQLvSO


    5. Alec Macpherson

      (sunny hundal Blogged: : Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/bQLvSO) He might as well have bogged.


    6. Sarah Cartin

      RT @sunny_hundal: Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/bQLvSO >Yes! All positive comments towards mine. British Legion marketing is crass.


    7. Kristine Pommert

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/bQLvSO


    8. Mark Mulvenna

      An alternative view of the poppy debate which, in my opinion (for what its worth!), has been hijacked in a game of… http://fb.me/Ng0zbhE3


    9. earwicga

      RT @sunny_hundal: Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/bQLvSO by @cerithrhys


    10. Marcel Duda

      Pickled <b>Politics</b> » Why I wear a White Poppy http://goo.gl/fb/ONPVu


    11. TWT POLITICAL

      Pickled Politics » Why I wear a White Poppy: Just – to the young men and women who fought an illegal political w… http://bit.ly/9zSpJe


    12. Daniel(le) Nobody

      RT @sunny_hundal: Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/bQLvSO


    13. smileandsubvert

      Why I wear a White Poppy http://bit.ly/c3s3LW


    14. Kim K.

      Pickled Politics » Why I wear a White Poppy: The purpose of the White Poppy that I wear at this time of year is … http://bit.ly/d8X5kW


    15. Red Poppy or White Poppy? | 1st Ethical Charitable Trust

      [...] religion tells them to tend towards peace and avoid war? _______________Why I wear a White PoppyA guest post by Cerith Rhys Jones at Pickled Politics.I for one am proud to have received a pack of 5 white poppies [...]




    1. Richard — on 7th November, 2010 at 10:32 am  

      Where does the money go out of interest?

    2. Martin Eve — on 7th November, 2010 at 10:38 am  

      @Richard: any profits go towards PPU’s education work: http://www.ppu.org.uk/whitepoppy/white_faq.html#_4

    3. MaidMarian — on 7th November, 2010 at 10:49 am  

      1) In some places in the north, white poppies were worn to remember those who died in ‘the war effort’ rather than in combat. My grandad worked in the mines 6 days a week and serious injury and death was routine. He had a hand cut off in a grinder in an incident where a man died in 1943.

      He wore a white poppy and the approach of some to the white poppy, and its demise, did sadden him.

      2) In recent years there has been this talk of ‘poppy fascism.’ This is silly. BUT what has happened is that poppies have become politicised, they have become sources of before the fact moral condemnation with the implication that anyone not wearing one (regardless of whether they have donated) is somehow insulting the dead and, vicariously, thier family.

      3) The British Legion’s posters have left something of a bad taste in the mouth with the unspoken implication that anyone not wearing a red poppy is insulting them. They may not have created the politicisation about poppies, but they have not been above playing to it. They should be.

      4) The ostentatious, glittery poppies that seem to be becoming popular are OTT and I don’t like them one bit. Poppies, like charitable donation, should be understated.

      Having them on football shirts is nonsense.

      5) For the record, I have made a donation to both, but I no longer wear a red or white poppy.

    4. Kulvinder — on 7th November, 2010 at 2:19 pm  

      It has become a bit like the little flag Americans wear to demonstrate their ‘patriotism’. I like the white poppies and in future will try and wear one of those instead.

    5. LWF — on 7th November, 2010 at 2:41 pm  

      I think you have all missed the actual point of the red poppy: It is not really the symbolism but the funds raised.

      By not buying a red poppy or making a donation to the BL, you are not contributing to funds for servicemen, many of whom are in a really bad way and need help.

    6. Otto — on 7th November, 2010 at 4:44 pm  

      My dad was a vet and had been wounded twice.

      Shove your white poppy up your stupid commie ass.

      To draw an equvalence between Western men fighting the Nazis and the bearded, Bronze Age twats of “The Resistance” is to engage in a dsigusting moral inversion.

      Your attempt to appropriate this sacred symbol and to harness it to the cause of misogyny, homophobia and hate-filled anti-semitism is typical of the ignorant, illiterate savages spawned by old hippies.

      Go ‘cosy’ up to some other symbol, you fucking jackass.

    7. Cerith Rhys Jones — on 7th November, 2010 at 5:08 pm  

      Otto - I guess you think I’m an old hippy, huh? I’m not, actually. I’m seventeen, and a Welsh nationalist. Not the old kind of Welsh nationalists either, the type that people would think were bombers and radicals. I’m just a normal teenager, a modern person, but I happen to believe in Welsh nationalism.

      The point you make about your father is interesting. I can’t see why wearing a white poppy instead of a red one is any insult to him or his comrades. It doesn’t any less honour soldiers and vets, it simply adds the symbolism of being anti-war. No disrespect to vets. No saying they’re bad people. Nothing of the sort. Just that on top of remembering the dead, and honouring them, and those who’ve served and/or been injured, it says that war isn’t the answer.

      You say that wearing a white poppy is, “to harness it to the cause of misogyny, homophobia and hate-filled anti-semitism.” With respect, what on Earth are you talking about? No link at all can be made between a white poppy and the hatred of women, the hatred of homosexuals (I’m not heterosexual, myself), and hatred of Jews. You seem only to spawn these allegations out of either your own anger or your own misunderstanding.

      “Go ‘cosy’ up to some other symbol, you fucking jackass,” you say. In reply, I should like to say that if you want to debate something, or to put your point across, and in doing so, you wish to be thought well of and be respected, to speak to me in this way is not the right way to go about it.

      Cerith Rhys Jones
      Co-author, Welsh Political Twins’ blog
      http://www.welshpoliticaltwins.wordpress.com

    8. joe90 — on 7th November, 2010 at 6:15 pm  

      First time i have heard of white poppy movement.

      I think it is a great idea, to consider all those who have suffered. All too often we only pay respects to one side of conflict but forget the innocents who die also which is usually civilians.

    9. douglas clark — on 7th November, 2010 at 10:16 pm  

      Otto,

      My dad fought in WW2. Who are these

      bearded, Bronze Age twats of “The Resistance”

      Frankly I think your idea that it is a “sacred symbol” says more about you than it does about anyone else.

      For the record, I put money into the collection box and refuse the poppy.

      Why? Because I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve.

    10. damon — on 7th November, 2010 at 10:53 pm  

      First time i have heard of white poppy movement.

      Really joe90? I first heard of it and the Peace Pledge Union in the mid 1980s.
      Maybe that’s why we don’t really have much in common.

      In Belfast where I live now, wearing a poppy marks you out as a protestant unionist. Having crossed between catholic and protestant areas about ten times just yesterday, walking and on the bus, I just don’t bother.

      I don’t support the Poppy appeal though btw.
      When I was a courier in central London 25 years ago, passing the Cenotaph in Whitehall, I used to fantasise about throwing red paint all over it.

      It glorifies militarism. The words on the Cenotaph are ‘The Glorious Dead’. I never could support that idea. Even though I have also been at that same spot at 11 O Clock on Remembrance Sunday amongst the crowds. And been struck by its solemnity.

      Overall though, I don’t support the poppy idea, and am closer to what Jon Snow said. The White Poppy?
      I can’t even be bothered with any of it.

      The debate to me sounds too much like one of those lame radio phone in programmes.

    11. Sarah AB — on 8th November, 2010 at 7:01 am  

      I always wear a red poppy - well, I always buy one and then usually lose it. But white poppies/no poppies are fine by me. Does Otto ever make a comment which doesn’t include irrelevant side swipes at Islam?

    12. Rumbold — on 8th November, 2010 at 8:22 am  

      Heh SarahAB. Same here. I usually get through three a time. Agreed with the rest of your comment too.

    13. Don — on 8th November, 2010 at 8:59 am  

      I wear a red poppy on the eleventh, but I am wary of people who wear them for a week or more before that.

    14. boyo — on 8th November, 2010 at 9:02 am  

      Both my grandads fought in the Somme and my maternal grandfather lost a brother there - something he never mentioned and in fact only emerged a few years ago. I have worked alongside the British army in Yugoslavia and Africa, so I have a certain amount of sympathy for them.

      I’m afraid I put white poppies in the same category as those spangly ones - they’re a bit narcissistic. I wear a poppy out of respect for the sacrifice of our servicemen - in the past and present. Note those words - they’re not about glory or pride, but memory and acknowledgement of sacrifice.

      I’m not a pacifist, although like us all I’m sure I respect the views and the bravery of “conscientious objectors” etc. That is not, however, the world we live in, and never will - it is not in the nature of Man.

      That is why I remember the sacrifices of those who keep the PPU safe to signal their difference.

    15. Colm — on 8th November, 2010 at 1:33 pm  

      The money from the red poppies goes to provide material help for disabled ex-service people, the money from the white poppies goes to fund the “education work” of the pro-WW2 appeasement Peace Pledge Union. Hmmn, where do I want my money to go?

    16. Brownie — on 8th November, 2010 at 4:09 pm  

      Wear what you like, but your rationalisation makes no sense.

      According to you, war is an “unnecessary evil”. By dint of this: Is fighting, killing and suffering, honourable? No. - it’s also inescapably dishonourable. And finally, you assert war “cannot ever be just”.

      Yet you claim not to be insulting the soldiers who are engaged in dishonourable fighting in unjust and gratuitously evil wars. Does not compute. Nor does this:

      If I want to express gratitude or honour for the fallen, or survivors, why should I have to do it through a Royal British Legion?

      The question is not why through the British Legion, but why would you want to express “gratitude” or “honour” to people who, in your own words, are doing something dishonourable, evil and unjust? The only logical answer, surely, is that you wouldn’t want to honour or express gratitude to such people, whether through the RBL or any other institution.

      And there’s more:

      What if I want to pay tribute to everyone – anywhere in the world at any point in history – who has done what they believe to be right by their country, and people who’ve been affected by their actions?

      “What if, you say”? Well, words have meaning and those above necessarily compel you to honour Hitler, and Mao, and Stalin every bit as much as their victims. I very much doubt you meant this, but that’s precisely what I’m talking about when I say your rationalisation for wearing a white poppy makes no sense.

      You’re adopting a fundamentally pacifist position. I know it’s customary for non-pacifists to talk about how much they respect pacifism, but I’m afraid I’m not one of those people. In it’s own way, pacifism is every bit as morally and intellectually bankrupt as the megalomania that has afflicted the world’s worst tyrants down the centuries. But that’s a whole other discussion.

      Lastly, if you want to celebrate and raise awareness of pacifism, why do you insist on high-jacking the one week of the year that the RBL reserves for raising funds for ex-service personnel and their families? If you really must appropriate the RBL’s symbol, couldn’t you at least select one of the other 51 weeks of the year? The RBL needs all the money it gets and some, so any cause that is designed to directly compete with them for funds will get no support from me…even in the unlikely event a coherent case for the cause could be made.

    17. boyo — on 8th November, 2010 at 5:04 pm  

      Brownie, can I take this opportunity to point out that HP has really gone off the boil recently? It only ever seems to be

      - obscure Jewish things
      - obscure Islamist things
      - a mix of the two
      - more obscure Israel things
      - George Galloway
      - er that’s it.

      It’s become really, really boring, which as you know is far worse than being wrong or whatever. At least it used to have… i don’t know, a bit of oomph. Now it just seems to be a bunch of obsessive anoraks talking to themselves, applauded by the odd mad fascist Tory.

      I mean this, as a reader. It’s really lost its way.

      Now, don’t take offence… ;-)

    18. Brownie — on 8th November, 2010 at 5:15 pm  

      boyo,

      As your presence here confirms, other blogs are available.

      Feel free to send me an article on any subject close to your heart, and I’ll put it up as a guest post.

      This invitaton is open to all, of course.

    19. MaidMarian — on 8th November, 2010 at 5:49 pm  

      Brownie - That post is an overreaction.

      That having been said, I do start to get something of a sense that the white poppies are (as someone else says) starting to become a political statement as the red ones did. It may or may not be the organisers fault (like for the RBL) but it is still something that is a bit sad, and the organisers are not altogether kicking back.

      Poppies and, more significantly, armistice day (not week) should be about rememberance, not necessarily of course approval. Not a money-spinner, ‘awareness raising,’ or a chance to flaunt the political chip on the shoulder.

      And yes - I do recognise that this represents implicit criticism of both the red and white poppy campaigns and hence is of a piece with the politicisation I don’t like.

    20. Brownie — on 8th November, 2010 at 5:58 pm  

      Brownie – That post is an overreaction.

      Any chance of some elaboration?

      Poppies and, more significantly, armistice day (not week) should be about rememberance, not necessarily of course approval.

      Remembrance is precisely what it is about. It’s “Remembrance Sunday”, after all. It strikes me that it’s the detractors who are seeking to politicise the poppy, not its wearers.

      Not a money-spinner…

      Where would you like the money to go? No political cause benefits from the proceeds. Only old soldiers and their families. What’s your problem?

    21. Brownie — on 8th November, 2010 at 6:03 pm  

      And what is this suppsoed to mean?:

      Poppies and, more significantly, armistice day (not week)

      I’m well aware that there is an ‘armistice day’, believe it or not. I referred to the “one week of the year that the RBL reserves for raising funds” as, certainly round my way, there’s at least one week of poppy-selling going on prior to Remembrance Sunday.

    22. Mark T — on 8th November, 2010 at 7:18 pm  

      war is in fact, an unnecessary evil.

      That’s a “fact”, is it?

      War is necessary to stop forms of evil.

      Those who argue otherwise have never been subject to tyranny.

    23. BenSix — on 8th November, 2010 at 7:30 pm  

      War is necessary to stop forms of evil.

      It is indeed! For example, who doesn’t applaud Martin Luther King’s famous words, “I have a dream that one day we’ll march to Congress on the severed heads of our oppressors“. Or Ghandi, who promised to eat nothing but the blood of his enemies. We can only look forward to war abolishing rape, animal cruelty, imperialism, the unchecked power of the state and, of course, the effects of previous wars!

    24. Mark T — on 8th November, 2010 at 7:37 pm  

      You have misread my comment.

      I did not say war is necessary to stop all forms of evil, which is plainly what you want to think I said.

      Try again, this time responding to what I actually wrote.

    25. BenSix — on 8th November, 2010 at 7:49 pm  

      As a matter of fact I did, yes. Apologies. Why you had to misread my misreading - why would I “want” to see it? - is something that I won’t misread.

      I’m not, as yet, a pacifist so I won’t oppose the notion that war might sometimes be just. Still - “those who argue otherwise have never been subject to tyranny“? Ghandi might have something to say about that. I suspect that many people who’ve lived under tyranny rather hope that wars never arise - or that they had never arisen.

    26. Roger — on 8th November, 2010 at 7:58 pm  

      If you want to understand the politics of the Peace Pledge Union, read this:

      Today, as in the past, the heroic task of the soldier (and especially his or her death) is often raised to mythic heights, even if, as in the British case, close to 25% of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan have died as a result of non-combat accidents and injuries.

      Such deeply embedded values enable a government spokesman’s regret for the killing of two young soldiers in Belfast, who were about to leave for Afghanistan, to pass unremarked. The soldiers’ killers are ‘murderers’ and ‘terrorists’; the soldiers are heroes in the making for being about to do the same.

      Yes, the victims of the Real IRA, who murdered soldiers who were about to deploy to help protect Afghanistan from the Taliban, with the full agreement of the government in Kabul, are exactly the same as their murderers.

      What a load of poppycock.

    27. Mark T — on 8th November, 2010 at 8:12 pm  

      Why you had to misread my misreading – why would I “want” to see it? – is something that I won’t misread.

      I suspect because you wanted to make a good Ghandi blood-eating joke, which would not have been possible with the correct reading of my comment. But I withdraw that allegation, nonetheless.

      Still – “those who argue otherwise have never been subject to tyranny“? Ghandi might have something to say about that.

      I’m not massively familiar with Ghandi’s opinions, but did he believe that war, or the use of force, was never an option? What would his solution to an impending genocide have been? I hope it wasn’t “sit in”.

    28. boyo — on 8th November, 2010 at 9:28 pm  

      I think Ghandi suggested the Jews commit suicide and the British surrender.

      Ghandi was in many ways a creation of the “tyranny” he railed against - he played the British at their own game (moral entitlement) and called their bluff, so to speak. I doubt there would have been a Ghandi under Stalin or Hitler.

    29. Brownie — on 9th November, 2010 at 12:59 am  

      I doubt there would have been a Ghandi under Stalin or Hitler.

      Not for very long, anyway.

    30. ukliberty — on 9th November, 2010 at 1:00 am  

      What would his solution to an impending genocide have been? I hope it wasn’t “sit in”.

      Victims should throw themselves off cliffs into the sea or offer themselves to the butcher’s knife.

      Orwell wrote,, “there is reason to think that Gandhi, who after all was born in 1869, did not understand the nature of totalitarianism … It is difficult to see how Gandhi’s methods could be applied in a country where opponents of the regime disappear in the middle of the night and are never heard of again.”

    31. farouk — on 9th November, 2010 at 12:44 pm  

      What a pathetic post. I wear a red poppy because I understand the sacrifices those people made years ago allow me to live in safety free from political and religious oppression. The money I give goes towards funding the British Royal legion into helping fight the British Government into supporting those they have ditched by the wayside after they have become broken and of no use. The poppies are made by the very same broken ex servicemen and not by a commercial concern in China. Which is where white poppies are made.
      All I see is leftwing liberal idiots trying as usual to be different. Lets not forget the British legion also helped and still helps the families of those commonwealth soldiers who fell defending the so called motherland from 1914-1945.

    32. earwicga — on 9th November, 2010 at 1:37 pm  

      Cerith @ 7 - sorry for the delay in publishing your comment. It had got into the spam folder.

      Great post!

    33. Raja Sahib — on 10th November, 2010 at 11:31 am  

      “Otto”, I wear a white poppy (red one that I’ve liquid papered) to show solidarity with the Afghan poppy growers who thanks to the US/UK invasion have been successfull in growing poppies once again after the “bearded Bronze Age twats” reduced cultivation to practically zero.

      On a more serious note, by wearing a white poppy you can also remember zionist jews in British Mandate Palestine who were killed by the British as well as those British squaddies (e.g QLR) who were killed by zionists. You can’t with a red poppy.

    34. MaidMarian — on 10th November, 2010 at 12:06 pm  

      boyo - Ghandi had a very large stone-throwing mob standing behind him. He may very well have been a peaceful chappie, but the history of the time was really about movement, not the man.

    35. Lisa — on 10th November, 2010 at 10:34 pm  

      Totally appreciate the sentiment of the post, but where does the money donated for white poppies go and what does it get used for? I buy a red poppy because it’s a way of donating money to the families and individuals injured in conflicts and the money is used to help adapt homes etc to help them cope with injuries they suffer.

    Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

    Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
    With the help of PHP and Wordpress.