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Thread: The poppy - listening to your wishes

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    Default The poppy - listening to your wishes

    I served in the British Army and generally wear a poppy in the week before Remembrance Sunday, to remember the dead of past conflicts and their grieving families.

    To me, this remembrance is not about militarism, but rather about the human suffering caused by war, as reflected by the nature of Remembrance monuments and ceremonies -

    The Cenotaph - literally an "empty tomb" - is a funereal, not triumphant monument.

    The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - an ordinary man, but the only grave in Westminster Abbey that is never walked over. During the burial in 1920, the front rows in the Abbey were allocated to women who had lost their husbands and all their sons. The thoughts of these women would have been of loss and grief, not militarism.

    To my mind, it is very unfortunate that, for some people in Ireland, the poppy has aquired connotations of triumphant militarism. To me, it remains a symbol of the loss and grief of conflict - including those of all sides whose lives were lost in our conflict here. But in order to honour the original meaning of the poppy, I have decided to wear it in Northern Ireland only if doing so is acceptable to all significant strands of opinion.

    So please have your say. If you ask me to do so, I will not wear a poppy in Northern Ireland (other than during the Church service on Remembrance Day itself).
    Last edited by DavidCaldwell; 9th November 2012 at 01:09 PM.
    An East Irish

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    One suggestion - perhaps leave arguments to another thread. You do not need to justify wishes; you do not need to explain why the poppy might have unfortunate connotations to you (such an explanation might be controversial to other people who feel differently). Just ask me if you prefer me not to wear a poppy in Northern Ireland.
    An East Irish

  3. #3

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    Hi David. Firstly, I really do respect you for caring about both sides, it is a great reflection of your character. Too many people in Ireland love the controversy of the poppy.

    Although as a republican I am biased, I would like to give you an honest answer (I'm not from the north myself, I may as well tell you, but I do know many nationalists, not necessarily republicans, there).

    They say that the poppy has become seen so often that they ignore it on people they don't actually come into contact with. They don't like it, but if they are to rage about every single one they see their stress levels would rocket! However, they certainly would be wary of someone that they were to meet for the first time who is wearing it. There is definitely a bitterness towards it, there is no doubt about that.

    Ultimately though, nationalists are opposed to the wearing of the poppy and see it as 'British pride' and support of an army that caused quite a lot of hurt. It is not viewed as a symbol of memorial but of offense, to be quite frank.

    But that is just the views of those that I know.
    "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots" - Marcus Garvey

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    The population of the p.ie Northern Ireland forum is the last place you should seek guidance for on an issue of conscience.

    You should have the strength of your well articulated convictions.

  5. #5
    Castle Ray
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    I think people should wear a poppy if it and its meaning is important to them, rather than the thoughts of others on an internet forum.

    I don't have a poppy this year simply because I haven't got around to buying one yet. That said, I have a standing order from my bank account to the poppy appeal so I don't feel bad about it. When I get one I'll wear it as it means something to me and I think that others should do so if it means something to them. I don't think any more or less of those that don't; it's their choice.

    Like any symbol or flag, if the purpose of displaying it is to antagonise or offend, I think it is unacceptable. However, if the symbol or flag is being displayed for a valid reason then it's up to whoever does so to make their own mind up and not be unduly influenced by others. Equally if criticism of those displaying a symbol or flag is for the purpose of antagonism and offense, then I think it is unacceptable.In the case of the views of people on an internet forum I think that is undue influence and that you should make up your own mind, David and follow your own conscience.

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    Michael Moore..."While your kids die in Iraq and Afghanistan, their kids are at Harvard and Yale". What a waste of young (mostly working class) life....

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren H View Post
    The population of the p.ie Northern Ireland forum is the last place you should seek guidance for on an issue of conscience.

    You should have the strength of your well articulated convictions.
    I have made up my mind not to wear the poppy in Northern Ireland if it causes significant offense. There is no point in wearing a symbol of the costs of war (and, by implication, the benefits of peace) if doing so stirs up old animosities.

    My question is to gauge the degree of offense (with the hope that asking this might defuse some of the offense, which, I believe, is mostly caused by a mis-understanding or lack of information of the same nature as those that underlay many conflicts - see Hobbes' ideas on "diffidence" and the prisoners' dilemma in game theory).
    An East Irish

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCaldwell View Post
    I have made up my mind not to wear the poppy in Northern Ireland if it causes significant offense. There is no point in wearing a symbol of the costs of war (and, by implication, the benefits of peace) if doing so stirs up old animosities.

    My question is to gauge the degree of offense (with the hope that asking this might defuse some of the offense, which, I believe, is mostly caused by a mis-understanding or lack of information of the same nature as those that underlay many conflicts - see Hobbes' ideas on "diffidence" and the prisoners' dilemma in game theory).
    I'm looking forward to Mickeymac's and GlobalJustice's treatise on Hobbes and Game Theory. Why you would let people like that decide whether you wear a poppy or not is baffling.

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    David , you know my political beliefs.

    in short. wear your poppy
    #3amigos

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren H View Post
    I'm looking forward to Mickeymac's and GlobalJustice's treatise on Hobbes and Game Theory. Why you would let people like that decide whether you wear a poppy or not is baffling.
    So am I. Although I do not agree with their views, I respect them as people, for reasons that include the following
    - I held (and sometimes still do) feelings about Republicanism that mirror their feelings about Unionism.
    - None of us are as rational as we think - our emotions drive much of our opinions. Their experiences (either traumatic or simply lack of exposure to reasonable people of different views) may have been such as to lead them to be prone to some over-simplifications. "There, but for the grace of God..."

    My decision will be based not on their reasons, but on their feelings
    An East Irish

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