Friday, 11 September 2009

Our brave BBC boys and their killing toys……

Let us hope that the annual worship of war will finally cease this year in Jersey.

It’s a great pity that cost is proving to be the greater power rather than any sense of morality – but we should all be grateful if the annual pageant of murder machines ends in 2009.

Times past we all condemned the Soviet Red Square military parades and the thousands of strutting poseurs who saluted the weapons of mass destruction as they rolled by – but Jersey’s military adulation under the pretext of some glorious purpose is little different.

Of course, we all remember our own fallen relatives who died or were injured in war, whether they were in military service or otherwise. And, we cannot ignore the daily tragedy of the score card for the dead and mutilated in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we do not have to swallow the official government line anymore and the machine gunning of human beings was no more attractive or glorious from the cannons of a Spitfire or ME 109 seventy years ago than from a Chinook helicopter today.

We have just endured yet again the verbal excesses of the BBC Jersey team for a whole week - and with a warship in the bay and all manner of murderous machinery of past and present in the air and on the ground - we have been sold the message that all this is somehow desirable. Our team of local journalists simply cannot find enough superlatives to extol the sounds, shapes, or speeds of the various aircraft and the war zones in which they have been engaged, the weapons they carried and the weight of bombs that they could deliver on a mission.

So enthusiastic are the wide eyed BBC boys that the deadly machines are eulogised as “Warbirds” and murderous combat as a mere “chase” like some theatrical or sporting activity. The testosterone never ceases to flow. Do these gun lovers sleep gripping their joy stick mics we wonder?

Of course the whole bonanza is dressed up as a fund raising activity for brave ex military personnel but we all know that the true cost of staging the spectacle is never actually exceeded by revenue. It would be much more cost effective if those that want to donate to a worthwhile purpose did so quietly and with a true respect for the fallen or broken.

But we also know that this is all just a part of that tradition of trying to justify the unjustifiable. War and the officially sanctioned murder of millions of people has to be constantly sold to a gullible public as an acceptable – nay glorious and necessary activity – and the makers of war machinery have to be praised as keepers of the peace.

By next year, we shall all be able to wonder who was Harry Patch and some other symbol will have to be created so that the dead millions of the 1st World War can yet be utilised for the never ending purposes of perverse governments.

Yet the enthusiasm of our wonderful BBC puppets for this orgy of adulation must be contrasted with their incredible reluctance to pursue such genuine scandals as that presented by the Jersey Care Leavers or any other issue that threatens to smear the squeaky clean island image.
In a few months our boys will be donning their scandal proof gas masks and assuming voices like Alvar Lidell or Winston Churchill to crank up the Remembrance war machine all over again. Once again, death for some absurd purpose will be sold as the finest patriotic endeavour and the charitable collecting buckets will be shaking yet again for those whose lives have been wrecked but we are too mean to maintain with the dignity “fit for heroes.”

And so it is that Major Peirson, killed in battle in the Royal Square in 1781 is now proposed as the subject for yet another memorial by the Parish of St Helier and our boys at the BBC will be there at the unveiling with their dictionaries of superlatives and sentimentalities whilst the last post is played by a lone bugler for the billionth time………

Meanwhile, what memorial would be appropriate outside the Haut De La Garenne building, at the other end of this little island community and how might our favourite boys report that?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.


Anonymous said...

True, the Air Display is ultimately a glorification of war. Those war machines were not made to entertain the crowds but to ensure the state had a monopoly of violent death. I don’t think we will hear Bridget (Government agent) expressing such pacifist sentiments on the “moan-in”.

On the issue of journalistic standards, I was listening to John Simpson on BBC Radio 4 “Simpson in Afghanistan” (9am, 10.09.09) and was angry to hear him justify the Western Powers, currently in occupation, as “trying to sort things out” in the country. This was just an apology for imperialism. Other tendentious remarks included:

“A clear majority of people still actively want Nato to stay in their country”

“Contrary to what you often hear people in the west saying, there is basic dislike of having foreign troops in Afghanistan….”

The history of Afghanistan is one of a resistance to foreign occupation, be it Persians, British, Soviets, or Nato.

The British Media is engaged in a process of reassuring the public that a war that is being lost militarily is worthwhile really. The war will be truely lost when public opinion at home will no longer tolerate its continuance. When the Home Front collapses so does the frontline.

Anonymous said...

It will soon be 28th September.

I wonder if any Jersey people know or care why that date is important and is anybody suggesting that it might be celebrated or marked with a memorial?

Anonymous said...

I too am sick and tired of hearing how good we were in WW 2. We were not squeaky clean by a long way.

Let us please move on.

disabled British ex serviceman (forgotten northern Ireland Army)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we can also protest against that glorification of death and destruction that is Armistice Day?
Thank you for this piece, unfortunately the BBC is not the only one who fails to make the connection between these aircraft and the useless deaths of civilians in the exportation of "freedom and democracy".

Anonymous said...

According To Deputy Higgins this event is sponsored to the tune of £230,000 and £100,000 of this comes from us the taxpayers through a States Grant.
It also transpires that this whole blood stained celebration is becoming little more than yet another Finance promotion opportunity where over rich people are entertained.

Death is a very strange strange form of background for such hospitality activities and the role of the States needs to be examined very critically. As does the role of Deputy Higgins who says that his work planning next year's bloodfest is already under way. So are his electorate in St Helier No 3 quite content to have a part-time representative and are taxpayers happy to be making a hidden subsidy with a large part of his £40,000 salary devoted to this single event?

Perhaps Deputy Higgins would like to comment here?

Anonymous said...

It must be remembered that war is a game, yes - a game.

It is a game played by governments the world over.

Some play better, some play worse.

The tragedy is that whilst they are "playing", it is the pawns of their orchestrated game who die, become injured and forgotten - like our friend above, injured in Northern Ireland.

These young men and women are ALL some-ones son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, friend or neighbour.

So, is the air display REALLY glorifying war? I suggest the weak minded may contest that it does. But, it serves a MUCH more important purpose really, a purpose that deserves significantly higher publicity. It helps those of us who are, thank God, too young to remember the horrors of the first and second world wars - it helps us to remember those brave souls who gave their lives for our freedom.

I wonder what would happen today if the call-up happened? How many would wimp-out of their duty, or find a pathetic excuse to avoid the call - or worse...

If the subject is about not glorifying death, then why do we "celebrate" Easter, or Remembrance Sunday, or even when a friend dies?

It is all about taking a few moments from our selfish, busy lives to say "Thank you". That's all!

To our wounded ex-serviceman I say "Sir, thank you!" and echo entirely your sentiments.

Let us move on -
BUT, also let us never forget...