Debate: Has the poppy become preposterous?


Independent Voices
Thursday 07 November 2013 20:43 GMT
(Getty Images)

What's going on?

Robert Fisk writes for Independent Voices that the poppy, traditionally worn as a tribute to fallen British soldiers, has lost whatever symbolic value that once clung to it and turned into a mere fashion appendage, worn for the most part unthinkingly and in some cases to bolster a jingoistic militarism. Here we lay out the terms of the debate...has the poppy become preposterous?

Case for

Many people will wear the poppy because they feel a certain amount of social pressure to do so. That impetus will, of course, be mixed with sorrow at the scale of death during the wars of the 20th century - how could it not? - but it is unlikely that there will be prolonged and serious consideration of whether the poppy is an appropriate symbol at all. Too often the wearing of it becomes indistinguishable from support for military action wherever and whenever it falls. War wastes lives. It has no meaning. Is has no symbolic value. Everyone should pay their respects on November 11th. But not in this way.

Case against

So wearing the poppy offends your sense of yourself as a vibrant individual with unique tastes and interesting thoughts? So what? Get over it. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices and band together for the greater good. A generation of men and woman learnt that lesson the hard way during the two World Wars. Many men and women continue to make great sacrifices in defence of your freedom. All you have to do is drop a coin in a collection box and wear a poppy. If that's the greatest injustice you have to rail against, lucky you. The British military must have done a pretty good job.

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