Poppy Kohner, PhD student at the University of Glasgow finishing her thesis on the anthropology of militarism, asks: “Why Does The Lord Provost Only Respect Dead Anti-War Campaigners?” Many sites have republished her article, including Bella Caledonia. She opens:
“The UK Government have spent £50million on ‘celebrations’ in commemoration of the centenary of ‘the war to end all wars’; re-framing an event, which has always been remembered in the context of the carnage and futility of war, into a celebration of national pride and glory.
“The centennial year of the outbreak of WW1 saw the beginning of four years of propaganda, aimed at justifying the needless slaughter of millions, under the guise of protecting freedom and democracy.
“Last month, to coincide with the centenary of the International Women’s Peace Congress in the Hague, a memorial plaque dedicated to those who opposed WWI, and who fought locally for social justice during the war years, was unveiled near the People’s Palace in Glasgow Green.
“In a complete contrast to the highly publicised Remembrance, Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, revealed the small steel disc set into a rock to a small group that consisted of invited peace activists and a few cameras. We stood aside, in silent protest.
“Rather than commemorate those the plaque was intended for, our Lord Provost elected to use her speech to continually remind us that in no way should the unveiling of such a plaque be used deny the honour and glory of those heroes who fought and died in the war . . . Her words were chosen to glorify the carnage of WW1 and gloss over the ugly realities of war, and those who oppose it. In effect, it was an insult to the memory of the people we were gathered there to remember. After the ceremony, a solitary white poppy was placed at the foot of the memorial and the crowd dispersed into the grey Monday afternoon. There was no cheering or celebrations, just a muted applause, and it was all over . . .” Poppy Kohner ends:
“We remember all those who risked so much by standing up against imperial wars during WW1, and we honour all those who continue to do so today.
“No glory in war: yesterday, today and tomorrow”.