All you need to know about Robert Fisk & Remembrance

appalled … those bloody poppies again … this obscene fashion appendage … demands yet further human sacrifice … sacrifice … Passchendaele … this wretched flower … butcher Haig … these sickly and fake petals … hypocrisy… “sepulchre of crime” … “Sacrifice to the fallacy that war can end” … this monstrous crime against humanity … The pity of war… the flower of youth cut short … Dead soldiers … generals, admirals or emperors worthy of entombment … soldiery were simply dumped into mass graves … remains of the dead were shipped off…to be used as manure … this preposterous poppy … fake flowers … blood-red soil of the Flanders dead … war was ultimately devoid of meaning … “just one great waste” … cast poppies aside….that terrible, almost orgiastic poem … “In Flanders fields” … our duty to kill more human beings … A bloody poppy! … Passchendaele…

The above is a distillation of an article Robert Fisk posted on the Independent’s website on 7th November 2013 – “Poppycock – or why remembrance rituals make me see red” – as part of that paper’s run up to Armistice Day.

There is really little to be said about it. The author is a respected journalist, the Middle East correspondent of The Independent for more than twenty years, but this is not the first time he has used the paper to repeat his tired and increasingly challenged views. Sadly he is not alone, there was an article the following day in the Guardian that follows a similar line – “This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time”.

As the Centenary looms, there will be an increasing need to get the message out that these hackneyed views do not portray a true picture of the Great War. But it is not going to be easy…

PS – note to Robert, you forgot to include the word futile.

PPS – the measure of how difficult it is going to be to correct this attitude is shown by the 2,400+ who either “strongly agree” or “agree” with Fisk which compares to the 991 who “strongly disagree” or “disagree” with him. But then this is the Independent.
(Results as at 12:30 Saturday 9th November.)

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One thought on “All you need to know about Robert Fisk & Remembrance

  1. Hello Brian, you outline the difficulties that historians face in trying to correct the myth of ‘Blackadder’ and ‘Oh, What a Lovely War!’. It’s one of the reasons I decided to study the MA in First World War Studies at Birmingham following in you footsteps. ( Your talk this September was invaluable by the way). Let’s hope we can make some progress with people’s attitudes.

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