Saturday, 10 November 2018

The Colours of Autumn. The Greatest War of All... still ongoing in 2018.

                                              ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
With remembrance Sunday approaching and the First World War on the news and in other media outlets generally over the last month I thought I would borrow a few poppies for an often overlooked casualty of any war and all wars throughout history. The planet and the wildlife on it. Tens of millions of horses, cattle, donkeys, elephants, etc etc... basically anything that could carry men, ammunition, guns, supplies, or anything else helpful to the war effort was gathered up and drafted in to do a job, right back to the first civilizations and often treated with unbelievable cruelty and hardship. Some acts of kindness as well but war, by its very nature, is generally not the place for sentiment or much compassion. It's too brutal an arena for that.
Canada Geese flying into the UK for the winter. Also factor in the hundreds of millions of animals killed in any war zone, the loss of habitat, and breeding areas and it far outnumbers any human casualties. Humans are on the increase year by year, greater numbers now than ever before, despite our constant 'wars to end all wars'- out-breeding the planet and its remaining resources. Animals, insects and oceans, are in steady decline, pushed out to the margins by modern consumerism and growth- a collective mania to buy things we don't really need, then throw away months or a few years later, to end up in rubbish dumps so we can buy even more junk to squeeze into the few remaining holes left- as that's the way we have learned to function. To enjoy ourselves spending on anything and everything in sight. Disposable trinkets of every description. Beads and mirrors in exchange for our souls. No more make do or mend required. To have fun in rampant commerce instead and new toys every month, throwing out the old even if unbroken. To make us all happy? Getting rid of the unnecessary Secret Santa craze every year in modern offices would be a good start. That could fill a stadium sized hole in every country by itself. A tiny part of a deliberate propaganda and business model over the last 60 years carefully cultivated by an elite group of shadowy individuals who run our world completely. Not politicians, or kings and queens, or heads of state. They are just the visible pawns but the real people who mold and shape our world, deliberately destroying and altering it to suit themselves are mostly low key and hidden from view, competing with each other for the time honored delights of power, ambition, greed, religious conviction or even just for relieving boredom. It's not really about money anymore- they have countless billions already. Like every other human on the planet they are driven and motivated  by personal obsessions- only in their case it's a need to succeed- to go further- to beat everyone else- to preserve a lasting a generations long global empire. Countries and all political parties bow down to them as they pull the strings behind the curtain. And we probably end up paying them for each new recession to bail us out again.

 Since the 1960s they have escalated this trend towards cheap disposable goods at an ever increasing rate but not to our benefit. Certainly not now in the long term. According to various reports three or four people today own more wealth than the poorest 50 percent on the planet will ever acquire.  Or put another way one percent own the other 99 percent.... a situation that's a more extreme division of wealth than ever before in the modern era. I wouldn't mind that but instead of swanning off and enjoying it they always find new ways to exploit the world make more, to change our situation year by year and gain even more control over us in the process. The 1970s/1980s is when this new disposable trend started so it's back to a future before that if we even want a future to look forward towards.  Are certain technological advances really helping us improve our lot or just dumbing us down even more- just made for greater profits and a handy collar and chain for the servant's neck? A trusty safeguard to keep us compliant. All over the world right now employees are already getting micro-chipped... for security purposes in their jobs. Tracked and coded. But once that becomes normalized in the workplace, who knows what else.  Programmable particles are also being developed in labs, tiny robots so small they can enter our bloodstream- for good or ill. Sadly, not for much longer the realm of science fiction novels like Michael Crichton's excellent 2002 book -Prey. Will we even have a choice when it comes down to it? Did we have one with smart phones? And is that a wise move forwards for humanity?

 You could argue that the vast movements of people seen today from poor to wealthy countries have been greatly facilitated by smart phones. Incentive images showing a better life, directions and methods of travel and entry, potential jobs, ease of networking and feedback from friends who have made the change already... all listed worldwide at the push of a button in mud hut or shanty town. Why wouldn't you grab that chance, however slim, compared to your surroundings when you see the opportunity of a better life elsewhere? Almost every day through your phone. A modern carrot on a stick. ( Of course wealthy countries only got that way by stealing the resources of poorer countries they exploited and controlled but I'll cover that topic in a future post soon as it's still happening today.) History is often what you choose to remember as a nation or individual, rather than the reality.

 To house computer in the corner. (my new and totally essential personal servant) " Hi little buddy, here's a question for you know every single thing about me, my bank accounts, my relations and colleagues, past lovers, and all I've ever done since birth. "
"Yes, I do my Master."
Aye, thought so.
We also need to learn how to get our fun in less destructive ways. It can be done. It doesn't take much thought at all. This is our war. Taking place now. The fight for the planet. I'm already in the resistance movement but more through natural lifetime inclination than deliberate choice.

So my poppies are for the planet. As what they are doing to it is not sustainable in any way, shape or form. And it's a deliberate act. You could argue that war memorials are part remembrance for those who have died and those affected left behind but it's also a form of propaganda in its own right. Any glance at history or around the world today will tell you that war is a large part of the human condition- and that certain people, already wealthy,  make vast fortunes in war- just as in recessions. Steady but slow peacetime prosperity is for plodders- no spectacular growth to be had there but a useful lull to get plans into place before the inevitable happens again. So war memorials serve a double purpose IMHO if peace drags on too long to remind the lazy population that they may have to do their bit again at some point---to always be ready to go off and fight as our ancestors have before- to fall into line... especially in a modern age when people are more cynical and less inclined to follow routine doctrine and may even realise the pointless futility of any modern war. What if, God forbid, the canon fodder simply refuse to fight anymore- then the generals will have to slog it out toe to toe- far less fall out involved in that scenario. So there is another reason for remembering a war fought 100 years ago. And it's not so it will never happen again.

                                                       Sunset over the River Clyde.
Unfortunately, humans, by their very nature, are easily provoked to fight. The people in charge know this only too well. All it takes is a perceived enemy... be that Communists, the Chinese, Islamic State, The backward Middle East, The corrupt West- anybody really will do. Any issue to baffle and motivate the masses.  Most of them funded and supplied of course by the elite at the top moving pieces on the board to maximize profit. Being at war means you can grab lands, resources, drain other countries wealth while improving your own - and generally have a great time- from the shadows. All things you can do much quicker and easier in a war.
                                                        From death comes new life.
Happily nature tries to tidy up afterwards, improve the chaos- but will that always be the case?
                                        Or will there come a limit to even her generosity of spirit?
Often the worst diseases appear during times of war and they can be worse than the war itself. Aids, Rabies, Plague- all flourished and spread during times of great human hardship. Our old enemy plague is still around today, lurking subdued on several continents, just waiting for a catalyst and the right conditions to stage a comeback. Wars are dangerous on many different fronts.
Many victims there as well but rarely talked about.
For two years during World War One, the 'Spanish Flu' pandemic spread world wide. The only country/continent not affected was far flung Australia which managed to quarantine itself in time by banning all ships. Being at war and vast movements of troops in close proximity meant it spread and evolved far more rapidly than a normal outbreak would do and by the end it had killed more than 50 million. It didn't start in Spain and is rarely talked about today so it was a real eyeopener of a programme for me when I watched it.
 Link here to this BBC 2 programme.

50 million is a conservative estimate as many Commonwealth countries at that time had poor hospital facilities, overwhelmed staff, and keeping records on the growing piles of dead was not a top priority. It could easily have been 100 million killed directly through this deadly flu pandemic - many times more than the total who died as a result of fighting in WW1 yet it is rarely mentioned at all. Equally heartbreaking for families I'd imagine as babies, mum, dads, teenagers, grannies and grandads all died together, often vomiting rivers of blood at the end as they gurgled and choked to death all in one house or crowded wards. Entire families and communities wiped out. The young, the old, the fit and healthy. Very few memorials or services to them around the world. I did check. So is it total numbers of dead who count in memorials- or the way they died... or the cause they died for?

So spare some poppies for them as well and the millions of babies, women and children who died then in two short years. Or are they just put in with the war dead tributes- as that's not really made clear? It's like presenting a yearly history lesson from the past that we should remember forever because it's important and missing out half the picture. Or getting handed half the contents of a jigsaw puzzle.
 " Oh and a far greater number died afterwards away from the battle fronts but we don't talk about that bit- too messy and complicated."
I'm not diminishing the loss of loved ones during wartime in any way just that it really surprised me that this flu killed such vast numbers in every country worldwide at the same time as WW1 yet is so rarely mentioned at any point regarding this war. The forgotten victims. Or maybe that's just me and it's everyday knowledge as to the numbers involved?  Apparently Armistice Day 1918 was a huge boost to spreading this lethal virus with all the hugging, kissing and sharing of wine, beer bottles and celebrations going on. A great mix of people packed very close together, touching each other. An incubation chamber to improve the strain. These are the things that should be remembered by future generations as well to my way of thinking. Nature is really sneaky like that. Yin and yang. The ancient two handed Goddess. An expert at give and take.
Evening mist over the Dusk Water Valley.
Grey squirrel in woods.
Mist inversion over Lennoxtown.
Oyster catchers in flight.
A pastel blend of autumn colours.

And a beautiful happy video to end. No, it really is. Honest. I promise. This is a joy to watch. Maybe....A film I haven't seen yet. Catchy tune and visuals that I suspect sit much better without any dialogue at all.
 But wild nature should never... ever... ever.... kiss a human child-as  it is completely forbidden for good reason.... the kiss of death unknowing- like Pocahontas helping explorers in her own lands to prosper, or John King surviving against all the odds in outback Australia when everyone else around him perished...  with local aboriginal intervention of course ... in hindsight... kill them all.. and all those who follow them....Kill, Kill, Kill, if you value your own survival at all- as first contact is often deadly for First Nations peoples around the world and the last thing you will ever regret doing before you die is helping lost strangers survive, coughing up blood, looking up at your smiling assassins patting you fondly on the head.... as a much loved pet and trusted guide through the unknown wilderness, as they quickly take over your lands and your very existence within a quantum leap... erasing your own personal stamp of 50,000 years of careful evolution and taming of the wilderness, reduced to within one generational push of modern effort and effectively claiming it all as their own work.... flattening countless generations of hard brutal effort in one swift tumble...eliminating all that past endeavour to a very brief footnote in history... A mere blip by a primitive culture. Well... that's what I see in this film anyway. A romantic fantasy....... I think not  :o)



Rosemary said...

I feel very much like you at this time - we do need to remember, but we also need desperately to learn, which I don't see happening. Governments around the world just lip service. My husband attended a lecture given by Sir Crispin Tickell at Green College, Oxford over 20 years ago when he was advocating the need to act immediately on climate change, and the challenges of plastic in our environment. Someone asked him what would change attitudes, and his reply was "only a catastrophe". Unfortunately when that happens it will be too late.

Carol said...

Very well said! especially about the poor animals who suffered in the war. I know they have the odd memorial to them and they are remembered but people seem to forget they never volunteered to be there to help us fight OUR wars in the first place! Much less die for us...

"a collective mania to buy things we don't really need, then throw away months or a few years later, to end up in rubbish dumps so we can buy even more junk to squeeze into the few remaining holes left"

This is absolutely true for most people nowadays unfortunately. I'm the opposite, possibly due to being brought up in parsimonious Yorkshire - spending makes me actively depressed and clutter equally so!

Anabel Marsh said...

*Claps madly*. It’s a rant, but a good and true one.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
I did get a poppy, almost a month ago now as they seem to have been offered on stands for ages outside shops but I noticed on the Saturday (a day before remembrance Sunday) that very few folk were wearing one around the shops- probably about 10 percent out of 200 people) yet on the news and TV they are totally compulsory for every single presenter, or so it seems. It used to be a choice to wear one or not but the further we get from both world wars the more passionate and militant the services have become. I know it's for the 100th this time but over the last decade it's steadily grown into an huge industry, far more prominent and front of house than I remember it being in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s when it was one day a year event and that was it. I like all the knitting and art related to it but I've been watching it on TV for what seems like months now. And judging by recent events over the last year World War 3 is not the remote possibility it should be if we have looked at the past and learned anything from it. There is more hatred, division and chaos in the world right now than has been for well over a decade.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Just found out on TV tonight it was the height of fashion in British Georgian society to keep black children as household 'pets', shipped over from Africa. When they died they were buried in a 'pet's graveyard'. Fashion- what's it like!
Bet that's not something the UK is too keen to celebrate or remember either :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
It wasn't meant to be a rant as there was no anger in it just a disbelief that something so huge in history at that time has not been given equal coverage until recently. Almost hidden in fact. Imagine if you had a war with three times the causalities of any other war and it's given two lines in most history books until Wikipedia.

Spanish Flu Pandemic- 1918 1919 that's usually it unless you dig for it.

Ian Johnston said...

Thought provoking words and well written Bob - thank you. I noticed this year that there were purple poppies worn in honour of the animal victims of war - but you're right about the unseen victims who aren't aren't recorded on any war memorial.

As someone who has been involved in and been close to a number of conflicts over the past 40 years, I wear a poppy - but as much from sadness for as pride in those who've gone before. I'm also very conscious that for every name on a war memorial there's a shattered family, and that for every fatality there are broken bodies and lives - the tragedy of war.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Ian,
I did think of putting it in a separate post earlier on when I watched the programme but it is something that happened during and immediately after World War One so its the same time period and certainly not something that's ever mentioned much these days given the scale of the losses. A double whammy just when people thought the worst was over.

Andy said...

As always a really well written and thought provoking post. I feel the same that Rememberence Day has been hijacked. What was once a time of solemn personal reflection for those that gave their lives, without question, has become an excuse for more insidious elements to turn it into some kind of compulsory badge and that by not wearing a poppy you are in some way desecrating that memory. Not to mention that usual round of scurrilous untruths around establishments that have "banned" people from wearing poppies and such like. As with most of modern society its no longer enough to remember, you have to be SEEN to be remembering. The irony of the situation and the freedom these soldiers died to protect seems to have been lost as does the need to learn from the past as well as remember it.