An Irishman reasons why not to wear a Poppy…

Fergus O’Rourke on his non fanatical reasoning as to why he won’t be wearing a poppy this or in any other year

What was Britain’s purpose in WW1? That is a question routinely evaded, but whatever it was, it did not include granting self-determination to Ireland. We had been duped. (Two decades later, it was entirely understandable that we should have been resistant to a reprise of the dupe rôle.)

Why should we “honour” as a body of men those who were duped ? Remember, yes, but let us recall them as individuals, some of them as fine as one could imagine and many who were better people than those proved right by events.


  • pippakin


    I answered in Irish to please myself but to be fair:

    This is not what I said but it is if anything more to the point:

    It is to our great advantage to speak English as well as we do. We have in fact made the language our own, and no one does it better.

  • JoeJoe

    I suppose as the popply ‘represents all those who fell in British services since the start of WW1’, it include the Black and Tans, B Specials, Bloody Sunday soldiers etc?

    Given the Germans sent guns for the 1916 men, it really is difficult to see the poppy as suitable for an offical position in N.I. pretending that everyone supports it. I worry about this typoe of officialdum in N.I. A month of poppys and three months of Orange marches and practic marches feed young fanatics on the republican side who fall for the ‘nothing’s changed’ argument.

  • pippakin


    It is the way we in Ireland north and south tend to see it but I’m not so sure it is the way the British and in particular the English see it.

    The Poppy represents the losses in the wars. As far as I can tell they genuinely do not seem to discriminate.

  • mark

    You’re ego knows no bounds.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    “Pardon me if I’m not a fan of his, does that make me less Irish, or possibly less Oirish.”

    How on earth would disliking the poetry of Seamus Heaney make you less Irish? What’s the connection?

  • Billy Pilgrim


    “I think the poppy has risen above WW1 it is extended to all those killed in the service of their country and the British have the right to pay their respect in their way.”

    Indeed they do. So far, so uncontroversial. But the issue here is whether we, that section of the Irish people who regard Britain as another country (that is, a large majority of Irish people) should participate in a commemoration ceremony that, for all the historical relationships between Ireland and Britain, is fundamentally theirs and not ours.

    “Personally I think Ireland should pay its respects to those Irish men who gave their lives for their country.”

    As has been pointed out elsewhere, we Irish do just that. What I don’t understand is why we should participate in British commemorations when we have perfectly good commemorations of our own, and which commemorate our own.

    “If they were duped neither they or their families knew until after.”

    Perhaps, but they made their choice and history has long since passed its verdict on that choice.

    The republic today is a highly anti-militarist society. Britain, on the other hand, is in the grip of a resurgence of military fetishism – much of it driven by the highly nationalistic agenda of “supporting our boys” and “remembering our heroes”. Whether they fell in Helmand, Passchendale or south Armagh. This kind of militarist propaganda is generally seen for what it is in Ireland.

    A pacifist such as yourself should reflect on how the cause of peace is best served: by fetishising as heroes those who are (and were), let’s not forget, trained killers; or by refusing to jingo along with this annual hypocrisyfest?

    Don’t confuse being nice with making peace.

  • sliabhdubh

    When Hitler invaded Poland,the world rallied against him,when England invaded Ireland the world stood,still,so Prearse,Connolly,and thier comrades wanted to right a wrong.History is made by the victors.Ireland was one country and will be one.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    “Do you also hate the American, French, German, Spanish , Chinese ,Italian , Israeli and several other armies?”

    In fairness, none of those armies have occupied any part of Ireland any time recently. Can’t a guy hate someone for reasons that are purely personal and derived from experience?

    “Armies are armies everywhere they do as they are ordered. Save your ‘hatred’ for those who send them to war for unjustifiable causes /reasons.”

    Why not both? Or indeed, why make any such distinction?

  • Billy Pilgrim


    “Don’t, in general, confuse the squaddies with those who send them off to wage war. It’s the only job many of them can find and always was so.”

    I asked this earlier, but will ask again: why make any such distinction?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “Nobody is forced to wear a poppy.”

    If only this were true.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    “I wear the poppy, not as a political statement, but to honour all those who’ve lost their lives fighting in the armed forces over the last 100 years.”

    How on earth is this NOT a political statement?

  • joeCanuck


    I didn’t see your earlier question. But if you don’t understand the difference, I probably can’t enlighten you. Someone once said that there are two types of people on earth; those who move heavy weights around at or near the surface and those that order them to be moved. And don’t forget conscription.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    “People … should direct their hate towards the politicans and leave the soldiers alone.”

    You’re the third person I’ve asked, but I’m interested in this question. Why should one make such a distinction? Isn’t it a bit of a cop-out? And a dangerous one at that? (ie treating soldiers like victims, when in fact they are heavily armed trained killers.)

    Isn’t it a bit like blaming Sinn Féin for the IRA, whilst absolving individual IRA members?

  • redhugh78

    An Easter lily collection?

  • pippakin

    Billy Pilgrim

    There is no connection except possibly in the minds of a few who seem to think that to be unimpressed with one Irish person is to be unimpressed with Ireland. It is not my view.

  • pippakin

    Billy Pilgrim

    I am saying that those people who died in the 1st and 2nd WWs are entitled to respect. It has certainly not been decided in an unbiased way here, those men were not traitors to Ireland. In the 1st WW many of them joined believing their efforts would result in Irish independence, that it did not does not detract from their belief or their sacrifice. In WW2 many Irish people fought what was imo a war that had to be fought and won by the Allies, their efforts have never been fully acknowledged or respected and they should be.

    The British chose the poppy not for any triumphal reason but because it flowered among the killing fields. The French chose the cornflower for the same reason. Since most of the Irish forces were fighting in British uniforms it may make sense to wear the poppy and recognise Armistice day for what it actually means: not a surrender but a truce.

    Armistice n. A temporary cessation of fighting by mutual consent; a truce. … It is derived from the Latin arma, meaning weapons and statium. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day etc.

    Nothing victorious or celebratory about it but a commemoration of sacrifice. I’m one of those who think the more we acknowledge the sacrifice and pain the less we will want to fight wars. How could anyone watching old men weep on the Normandy landings possibly think they are advocating war much less an advertisement for war.

  • Alan Maskey

    Sammy, Is that a short poem you just wrote? Have you a relevant point to make?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Not quite true.
    When Germany invaded Poland, only the French and British supported the Poles.
    USA, Holland,Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Portugal and Luxemburg to name just a few were neutral and remained neutral until attacked.

  • sammymehaffey

    slubadub when was ireland one? I dont remember

  • another

    I think when one looks at the state of the Republic today, one can plausibly argue that we have all been duped?

    The poppy represents what you want it to represent.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    I asked the question as a challenge, to see if there is a distinction to be made beyond self-serving sentimentalism. Perhaps there is, but it’s interesting that you admit you couldn’t possibly make an intellectual argument as to why we should make the fundamental distinction upon which you insist.

    Why should we damn those who give the orders but regard with sentimental sympathy those who, quite willingly, carry out those orders? Why should we make a fundamental distinction between the two?

    Ps. There has been no conscription in the UK since the 1950s and we have never had it in Ireland.

  • Congal Claen

    I’ll be wearing mine with pity – thankfull that I never had to go.

  • joeCanuck


    You misstate or misunderstand me. I didn’t say I couldn’t make the argument. I could but choose not to. You would get a much better debate with someone who has much more training in Ethics than I have.(Engineer’s responsibility to society in my case).

  • Jj

    Its like any of the traditional events such as Halloween and Christmas, it gets earlier every year. I am sure no-one wore a poppy as early as October going back 20 years or so. Did they?

  • JR

    I have no problem with others wearing the poppy for whatever reason however I wouldn’t wear one, my personal experience of the British army was not positive.

    I find it hard to reconcile the contrasting images of the ww1 soldier, on the one hand conscripted to fight and die in a pointless war on the continent, then on the other arriving in Ireland as a black and tan.

    90% of those killed or injured in modern wars are civilians and anyone fighting overseas in the British army today is there by their own choice.

  • joeCanuck


    Presumably, like me, you hate the words “collateral damage”. What a disgusting thing to call people blown to bits.

  • JJ Malloy

    So I choose not to wear a poppy…and that makes shameful and embarassing? Come off it.

  • JJ Malloy

    A million civilians killed (not sure where you got your numbers but…. Who killed most of them?

    I’ll give you a hint…it wasn’t the US or British.

    Just like it wasn’t either who bombed 76 people to death yesterday in Bahgdad or who killed 50 hostages in a Christian church the day before.

  • JJ Malloy

    They didn’t have a problem ‘raising the match” against all kinds of their betters in those troubled times, so I find that explanation curious. Whomever lived in the house probably “donated” some funds to ‘the boys’ is my guess

  • JJ Malloy

    Some would say Peiper got the justice he deserved.

  • JJ Malloy

    The Germans sent guns to the UVF of 1912, to be used against their own British government if it didn’t back down. So what is your point?

  • JJ Malloy

    Nuetral in name only. US supplied massive aid to Britain and the Soviets before their entry into the war.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Frankly if I was British Id be very wary of the politicians wrapping themselves in the flag and poppy especially at this time of the year.
    They have managed to astutely deflect criticism of their war by constant references to our heroes and our boys.
    Any noble sacrifice of this and indeed previous generations is hopefully not compromised by the politicans and the PR people in Whitehall.
    All these statements issued by regimental colonels saying that the latest casualty was the bravest of the brave, great soldier, much loved……I kinda think that statistically some of them would have been in trouble a few times after a boozey night in Aldershot, Colchester wherever. Statistically soldiers (any army) have high incidents of domestic violence and petty criminality (like the fictional lad from Coronation Street) yet all of the victims of the current wars are exemplary. Now I dont expect anyone to speak ill of the dead……but that just seems a bit odd.
    Likewise the deliberate delay in releasing names (and there is a bigger delay than say five years ago) is not entirely for the benefit of the relatives….it enables the MOD people to get to the relatives first and get them onside with the “doing a job he loved” line.
    The last thing the British Government needs is a loose cannon like Mrs Gentle or the families of the Redcaps asking awkward questions.
    Im afraid that the “heroes” campaign is little more than a cynical attempt by politicians to hide behind men and families who have genuinely suffered.

    “Dont hit me……I have a baby in my arms”

  • Neil

    I got my numbers by taking the number of civilian casualties the last time I checked (approx 750k) and arbitrarily adding 25% as it was a while ago. Since you mention it, I’ve just googled the string Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan and the first page cites a figure closer to 2 million, whereas the wiki page has well over a million in Afghanistan alone.

    Who killed most of them?

    Cause and effect old boy. We know that Al Qaeda was not present in Iraq prior to the invasion, but whaddyaknow, their there now. Why? Well, because the infidels are there plundering the countries oil resources – the main reason for the invasion as we all know.

    The truth of the matter is that the British army are there in furtherance of British interests and that is the only reason for the chaos there. Just like every other country the British army landed into uninvited and proceeded to butcher the locals and plunder the resources. It’s been going on a long time.

    Perhaps you’re of the opinion, shared by many past British army personnell, that the British are entitled to Ireland, India, Hong Kong, the Falkland Islands etc. due to the fact that, well, their British old boy. A higher race entitled to whatever they desire and fuck the savages that live in whatever impoverished country they’re robbing these days.

    Or maybe your like most of the people in the world who know that the British have fuck all business in the Falklands, or Ireland, or India, and were only there as a bully; a force taking posessions off others because they’re bigger and stronger.

  • joeCanuck

    The Canadian Legion always starts door to door canvass/collection on 1 Nov. At least in my area.

  • Rory Carr

    Frankly I don’t quite get this campaign to have the San Patricios awarded a post-humous pardon by the United States. Indeed I find it almost an insult to their memory. Their ghosts neither ask for nor merit a pardon from the U.S.A., a nation they fought against as it attempted to extend its imperial conquest over Mexican sovereign territory. If anything it is the United States that should be seeking forgiveness from the descendants of the San Patricios for the criminal barbarity it perpetrated in executing prisoners of war.

  • “Perhaps you’re of the opinion, shared by many past British army personnell, that the British are entitled to Ireland, India, Hong Kong, the Falkland Islands etc.”

    I do wonder if the above statement is true, officers, especially those from an upper middle class background may think like that, after all they have that type of attitude instilled in them from birth and throughout their schooling etc, but as far as most squadies are concerned, including the more intelligent NCO’s I doubt this type of attitude is the majority take, although few would say it publicly whilst still serving.

    I know there are a couple of ex squadies who post here, I would be interested in what they have to say about this.

    Neil’s right about the number of Iraqi dead and about where responsibility lays, it matters not a jot the heartless maniacs of Al Qaeda in Iraq killed many Iraqis, the sole responsibility lays with the occupying power who under international law have responsibility for the well being and safety of those they occupy. The fact the USA and UK government failed to factor this in when they invaded Iraq and have admitted as much, makes it more than probable they would be found guilty of war crimes if by some miracle they were brought before the international court.

    To blame the Iraqi people for the murder and mayhem the Bush administration deliberately let rip in Iraq, is yet another obscenity in a long line of them the Iraqi people have suffered; and for what, having the misfortune to be governed by a nasty dictator who was nurtured by the US government and its satraps in the region like the house of Saud, poor souls.


    Good post.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘As part of the war effort, ther British Royal family changed their name and started learning English for the first time (they are Germans)’

    There’s nothing I like better than to sit by the fireside of a November evening reading the diaries of Queen Victoria. They must be in some weird Ulster-Scots version of German because I can understand every word written by the Empress of India.

  • Alan Maskey

    Yes, good post FJH.
    Mick Hall: Must try harder. You are not seriously arguing the American etc uber class give a proverbial about dead Iraqis, Afghans etc?
    I have met serving officers in the Royal Marines etc (where I watch my Ps and Qs) as well as quite a few dangerous GIs. They tell me they are building democracy and the locals are too thick to understand. Yeah, right.

    JJ: Peiper was a good, if rather over zealous SS officer, who had already done his time before cowardly French resistance yobos murdered him. My point was not so much about Peipwer but about his sta long after the war ended. My statement was that the wanton killing by Bomber Command of his soldiers’ kith and kin angered them and made them take out their relatively minor reprisals at Melmedy. My question: should we remember the German civilian dead? How about the Iraqi and Afghan civilian dead?

    Why not ban the wearing of poppies and lillies completely or only allow any such hate symbol to be worn on one day only. say April 1st.

    Incidentally, wasthe Dublin Fusiliers not founded in India? And did they not rename it to fool the Micks into signing up?
    Also the Royal Irish Regiment. Is there a Royal German Regiment or a Royal Icelandic Regiment? Why Irish when Ireland is not a part of Britain.
    Do we speak of the UK Empire or the British Empire?
    I feel, my Protestant and Loyal friends, ye have been sold a pup.

  • JJ Malloy

    As for Iraq, if you mean dead it is around 100K (total) by almost all accounts. Dead and wounded you may be right.

    The war was a disaster and a huge mistake. It set a terrible precedent and was based on faulty intelligence and hubris. It was insanity to think that with a hundred thousand troops and a few hundred billion dollars you could transform a society and culture that was essentially 1000 years old. Also, the idea that you could create less Islamic enemies by having soldiers occupy part of mesopotamia is absurd.

    I ask you this, though: If the US and Britain were there solely to loot the country, why bother with all the expensive peacekeeping and nationbuilding? Why not just cooperate with the Kurds and control all or most of the oil fields and let the rest of these people kill each other? It would have been much less costly and straight to the point.

    As for responsibility, much of it goes to Bush and his advisors. They should have realized that there were playing with fire when they sought to remake the Middle East into some kind of beacon for democracy and/or gain oil contracts. Not to mention their completely inept plan for occupation and criminal stupidity/indifference.

    But don’t overlook that many soldiers have lost their lives trying to contain sectarian violence and help build a new Iraqi nation. It would have been easier to cut and run in 2006 and let the country go to complete hell.

    Also, don’t let off the hook those who are actually planting the bombs in marketplaces, hospitals, school, and those who are formenting hatred by blowing up Shia or Sunni holy places. Underestimating the fundamentalism, intolerance, and hatred that exists over there was another problem with the whole enterprise.

    I don’t think britain has the right to be in NI, let alone the other places you mentioned. But that doesn’t mean I think British troops go around ‘butchering’ locals. Times have changed. You should try broadening your reading on what is going/has gone on over there.

  • joeCanuck

    relatively minor reprisals at Melmedy

    *Shakes head in disbelief*

    84 prisoners brutally mowed down and murdered. A lucky (if you can call it that) 43 survived.
    Perhaps that is “an acceptable level of violence” to you, with a nod to a former SOS.
    You have outdone yourself this time, Alan.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Billy Pilgrim,

    My reason for saying, “People … should direct their hate towards the politicans and leave the soldiers alone” is because a soldier does not chose to go into a theatre of war, they are sent there by their political masters.

  • JJ Malloy

    It was somewhat of an isolated incident on the Western Front, where the ‘rules of war’ were generally followed in combat.

    On the Ost Front, however, that type of thing was so routine it wouldn’t have warranted documentation. That is probably why he calls it “relatively minor”. That or that it pales in comparison to the amount of noncombatants killed in the preceding months by Allied bombings.

    It certainly was not viewed as minor by those Allied troops in the vicinity, of which my Grandfather was one. (83rd Infantry)

  • Alan Maskey

    Here is your dilemma: Bomber Command were bombing German civilians round the clock. The SS under Peiper took reprisals because their families were being incinnerated by the terrorists. Are you arguing German soldiers giving a few score Americans their desserts was worse than the Allies incinerating hundreds of thousands of German civilians and that we should commemmorate the Yanks but not the German women and children?
    A problem in Ireland is that such an abacus is all too familiar.
    Operation Gomorrah, the British and American terrorist attack on Hamburg, killed 42,600 people. That is approximately one thousand German for every single Yank and Hamburg, as you all know, was not the worst atrocity vommitted by the terrorists of Bomber Command.
    When Heydrich, number two in the SS, was assassinated, retaliated by wiping out the males of Lidice, They “only” killed 173. So, using that high profile example, the SS were less brutal than Bomber Command.
    You must be fair and balanced in these things. Sure the SS were rough, tough and did not always play by the rules. But don’t pretend the Western Allies did either. The less said about the Soviet rapists, the better.

    Meanwhile, I watched Chelsea play tonight, then a little of The Apprentice and then Dubliner Dara O’Briain interviewing the Peruvian Pavlova who was kicked off The Apprentice tonight. Both O’Briain and the Preuvian had poppies, though two others on the panel did not seem to have them.

    JJMalloy: I am happy your grandfather survived. I know of one guy who was named after Patrick Pearse who copped it on the beaches at D Day. In some ways, we should not commemmorate these things at all but try our damndest to forget them.
    A good start would be to only allow poppies, lillies etc to be worn for one day only. Nobody likes to see old legless squaddies papraded out rattling a can like freaks on a circus.

    Which reminds me: Did you see that movie: Born on the 4th of July. Good one thast, much better than all the Audie Murphy crap.

  • Alan Maskey

    Checking out the soccer results on BBC’s website, I see the young Muslim who knifed the pro war London Labour MP and ex Minister got life with a minimum of 15 years. I found this rather steep and I also found his explanation on the BBC website a little condescending.
    In the Daily Mail one, he wears a poppy.
    If the Muslims end up like the Provos, they would create real mayhem.

  • joeCanuck

    Nobody likes to see old legless squaddies papraded (sic) out rattling a can like freaks on a circus.

    What a disgusting remark. I think you need a period of self-reflection.

  • Kevin Barry

    The poppy is a very curious thing to be frank.

    I can fully understand people wanting to wear a poppy to show their respect for those who have fought for their country in what they may think to be wars of necessity.

    Pip notes that we should remember those Irish who fought in WW1 as they fought for us (I would note that they were clearly duped and fighting as part of some grand imperial adventure is certainly not a fight in my name (and as someone will quickly point out, my name sake didn’t think so either)) and also the Irish who fought in WW2 as it was a war of necessity (or cleaning up a mess created thanks to the previous one and was entirely avoidable), ok, fair enough.

    However, my problem with the poppy is that it is an indiscriminate symbol; you are also celebrating those who had a choice whether to join the Crown’s Forces, who went off to wars in foreign lands and killed, raped and plundered their way around the world. In Ireland, we have the infamous Black and Tans, but elsewhere the locals had it way worse than us whether in Africa or elsewhere.

    People will say things such as ‘they’re soldiers, they were only following orders, it’s the generals/politicians who made the orders’ or ‘my wearing of the poppy is in honour of [insert relative] who fought in [insert war] and all he did’, ok, but you
    cannot wear a symbol commemorating all of those who have fought for the Crown and then say that with all sincerity. The poppy also symbolises the human rights violators, the cold killers who fought to steal the resources of those less fortunate than us and may have even enjoyed it. If you can put some kind of caveat on your poppy then be my guest, otherwise, it is a symbol of all of those who fought for the Crown.

    In Japan, for years Junichiro Koizumi went to the Yasukuni Shrine to pray and was roundly hounded by the Chinese and Koreans as the shrine honours 14 executed class A war criminals who took pleasure out of murdering their countrymen. He said he went to pray for peace and to honour all of the dead.

    The point I’m making is that the poppy may be linked to a lot of good and misguided men, but is also linked to some people who, if they were on a losing side, would be war criminals and are rightly hated in foreign lands. I would much rather this emblem were binned as it is far too divisive and helps glorify imperial adventures by people coming out with tired excuses of ‘people didn’t know better’, ‘they were only following orders’, as we have seen of late, most should have known better and these kind of commemorations only help perpetuate the glory of death and war and allow governments to continue with unnecessary wars.

    Better something to commemorate those killed by the men of arms than celebrating the men of arms

  • HeinzGuderian

    Some Catholic Priests……………Well,yes,indeed………….maybe best left like that,huh ?? 🙁

  • HeinzGuderian

    Hated in foreign lands,you say Kev………………..what,by 3 Billion members of the Commonwealth ??

    You want the Poppy binned….it is to divisive ?? To whom ? Narrow minded nat/rebs…………who hate everything British,but the money ??

    If it wasn’t for those ‘men of arms’,you nonce…………….you would be speaking Russian or German………………get on your knees,and give thanks !!!

  • Kevin Barry

    Ha ha ha, very good Heinz, loving your anger and the drive by of a post you left behind, keep it up.

    I would imagine what with the Commonwealth being a club with a lot of leaders who have not been democratically elected by their people it isn’t exactly representative of the views of those it purports to represent, but maybe we could save that for a different thread. Also, their is a large difference between nations joining a little club because it offers advantageous treaties with others and people being thankful to a nation Just because nations have treaties or are in the same club doesn’t mean they like each other, eg the EU.

    Also, I don’t believe a man who is free should ever be on his knees, but maybe that’s how you like it?

    How about instead of lobbing insults you try and go through what my points were; that the poppy is a very divisive emblem (as clearly illustrated by my post and your somewhat hysterical reply), that while commemorating many who fought with good intentions it also commemorates those who freely and knowingly joined the Crown’s forces in imperial adventures that meant that the chances of locals being killed indiscriminately would be high and in some cases they may have even wanted to kill a few

    Oh, and for your information I speak Russian already, poorly admittedly, but that is an aside. Furthermore, due to the folly of the men of arms we nearly were made to speak Russian or German, rather than choosing to. Can you not see how close we were to that due to the sheer idiocy of the wars of the last 100 years and the men of arms?

    Am I fan of the British Army; no, no points for guessing why. Am I fan of any Western army that goes to war (I shall make an exception for WW2 and Britain’s involvement also ); again, no. How very presumptuous of you to assume that my dislike of the poppy is merely a ‘oh, they’re for Prods/Unionists, I should automatically dislike them and all they stand for’. Poor at best. I have stated above my reasons for disliking it, and it isn’t for your typical us vs them reasons, so please get over yourself.

  • alex B

    Ireland is part of a group of islands called the “British Isles”. Every Irishman is geographically British whether he likes it or not – only the Irish separatists are the ones in denial.

    In the same way the word “Irish” is not restricted to those with Irish separatist views such as yourself.

  • Alan Maskey

    Not really. We generally give to beggars to get rid os us. They stick their stumps in fornt of us to put us on a guilt trip.

  • joeCanuck

    cannot wear a symbol commemorating all of those who have fought for the Crown and then say that with all sincerity

    I imagine that when you stand in front of mirrors you think what a handsome and clever guy you are.
    But do tell us who made you the Supreme Judge of People’s Sincerity and Keeper of the Meaning of Wearing a Poppy?

  • Kevin Barry

    Hey Joe, tell me, where do you pin the caveat against all of the monsters it also happens to represent?

    The poppy doesn’t commemorate them also?

    So, before you and someone else comes back with a quick little and truly awful jibe, how about you counter my point, and I shall copy n paste it here as I’m getting tired of writing it

    “that the poppy is a very divisive emblem (as clearly illustrated by my post and your somewhat hysterical reply [HeinzGuderian), that while commemorating many who fought with good intentions it also commemorates those who freely and knowingly joined the Crown’s forces in imperial adventures that meant that the chances of locals being killed indiscriminately would be high and in some cases they may have even wanted to kill a few”

    As for my questioning of your and anyone else’s sincerity in wearing it, I do have the right to do this, welcome to a democracy and also, to a blogging website. Are you telling me you haven’t questioned someone’s sincereity on this website before? Please?

    The reason for my questioning of people’s sincerity is simple; if you know that the symbol you wear also happens to represent truly awful human beings how can you then pick and choose who you wear the emblem for? The very nature of an emblem, being a physical and visual means of expressing support or disapproval for something in its entirety means that you cannot attach a caveat to it thereafter. So you may think that the beginning of this reply is bitchy (probably), but still, where do you pin the caveat for all those whose actions you disagree with?

    So please, go ahead and support those who fell in WW2 fighting the fascists, I have no problem with this. You even have my permission if that’s what you are looking for Joe. But when at a service I ask you, is the service in honour of ALL of those who have fought for the Crown’s forces? There in lies my point about the whole poppy and the commemorations surrounding it

  • Kevin Barry

    And yes, I am one hell of a handsome and ****ing clever guy, it was good of you to notice, thanks

  • joeCanuck


    You obviously haven’t read my earlier posts and there’s no reason why you should.
    I don’t commemorate anything. I simply try to imagine how ugly war is and to think about the young men and, today, young women who are sent off to fight in useless and unnecessary wars. WW1 is an older example, Iraq a present day one. And that’s the young men and women from all sides.
    Every army will have pyschopaths and sociopaths. I don’t admire them.

  • Kevin Barry

    Apologies Joe for the delay with my reply, just back from work.

    Your intentions are honourable Joe for this weekend’s commemorations that you will be attending and as I have hinted above, a lot of people’s are also, but I stand by my point that unfortunately the poppy and commemoration services also represents those who are quite unsavoury and do not deserve to be remembered beside others who though I think were foolish in the extreme but where at least of noble intention.

    Your knowing that this emblem and that the commemoration also represents the unsavoury killers is my main criticism. Every army may have a few(?) or quite a few psychopaths, but that is no excuse to wear something that commemorates them or to go to something that also commemorates psychopaths, these people deserve to be vilified. Hence, why I would much rather remember those whose lives were stolen before their time.

  • joeCanuck

    Thanks for trying to understand me, Kevin.
    I don’t glorify any army. War is sometimes, unfortunately, necessary but such wars are few and far between. Most have been due to the desire of elites for conquest and booty.

  • Kevin Barry

    Joe, I may not agree with what you’re doing, the poppy or the remembrance commemorations in their current form but I won’t vilify you or others for it; at least your intentions are honourable.

  • Geoff Keate

    It’s an interesting question, and as someone who has lived in London for over twenty years, an issue about which one had to make a decision fairly quickly.

    I don’t wear a poppy because those who fought and died for my freedom were shot by the British Army in Kilmainham Gaol in 1916. For me, and for many others in this island, to wear a poppy is an act of treason against the Republic, and a profound insult to the memory of our patriot dead.

    I respect those who belong to another tradition, and who retain the loyalty of their ancestors towards the British Crown. For them the courage of their fellow Irishmen who fought and died in Flanders field is an enduring memory, an act of supreme sacrifice, and the blood offering by which they are bound for ever to the Queen and her successors. It is not a tradition to which I belong, as I am mindful of a different bloody sacrifice, offered in the Stonebreakers’ Yard in May 1916, one by which part of this island was freed from foreign tyranny.

    So, living in England, what do I do? I don’t wear a poppy, but I observe the silence on the 11th of November, if I am in the UK. I make a point of attending a service in the Church of England on Remembrance Sunday, as an act of courtesy towards the country in which I live, and to honor the memory of their dead.

    Peace now exists between the two traditions on these islands, those loyal to the Crown, and those true to the Republic. Both sides have died for what they believed, and killed for it too. That time is over, no more killing, no more blood, no more weeping in our homes, no more children following the coffins of their fathers, no more fathers heartbroken before their sons’ graves, no mothers holding the dead body of their child in their arms, like Rachel who shall not be comforted.

    We are richer for the mix, the blend of Catholic and Protestant, of Loyalist and Republican, each fiercely proud of their people and history, and at the same time respectful of their former enemies, who in time might be friends and brothers.