White Poppy protesters miss the point

Every year we have the same debate from religious group and the peace lobby arguing that people should abandon red poppy's for white ones. The BBC highlights it here.

I would like to remind them, aside from their arguments, that the British Legion's poppy appeal raises millions for ex-servicemen and women and support those who have been disabled and affected by wars when serving their country. It also reminds us of the suffering, the struggle and the sacritice of those who dies protecting this country.

Millions of soldiers died defending this country so that people "can" talk freely about the virtues of wearing a white poppy, because had they not fought, Nazi Germany would have prevailed.

My great Grandfather died in World War One. He was a farm labourer, called up very early in the war, and died just days after landing in Belgium. My grandfather had no memories of him, my father never met his grandfather, they all wish he hadn't died, they all hate war, but like them, I wear a red poppy because it shows a solidarity with those who fought bravely to defend our freedoms.

So yes, the white poppy brigade can have their annual five minutes of fame, but they should also show some respect and remember if it wasn't for those people that the money from red poppies support, they wouldn't have the freedom of speech they are making use of today.


Steve said...

None of which takes away from the fact that we'd all be better off if people could solve arguments without killing each other. Or that we should be trying work towards a world where there is no war. Or that we should mourn the loss of life of all those who die in war, be they civilian or soldier on our side or theirs. The white poppy symbolises a desire to work towards an ideal - one that I think most would agree with.

Wearing the white poppy is also a way for those of us who feel uncomfortable with the militarism apparent in parades and so forth associated with the red poppy to both mourn and express our desire for a peaceful future for all.

What is so very wrong with that?

cassilis said...

Beat me to it on this one Nich (I may post on it anyway).

Couldn't agree more - the white poppy has always struck me as adolescent, gesture politics at their worst. The red poppy symbolises absolutely nothing politically - it's just about remembering people who gave their lives for their country. To hijack that for political ends is not on...

p.s. thanks for the link in your blogroll...

Gary Elsby stoke said...

Why not pick another day for the white poppy? Pick the 9th hour on the 9th month or something that is significant.
Many of us would probably appreciate this and support it.

But to hijack the 11th hour of the 11th Month is disrespectful and antagonises those that may give it some thought in another setting.


Ryan Morrison said...

I don't like the idea of wearing a white poppy, but then I don't much like the idea of wearing a red poppy.

In fact I don't tend to wear any visual statement of support for any cause, concern or movement.

I do however put money in the poppy pot and every other kind of pot there is, I just don't take the poppy.

I'll also sit and quietly remember the sacrifice you've talked about on the 11th of 11th at 11:11 (and at other times of quiet consideration as well). But I don't see why I need to visibly show it and declare "look at me I care" with a loud red emblem.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I treat the red poppy very much as a reminder to me to give some money to a good cause. it's like wearing a red nose or a pudsey bear badge in many ways.

I agree with Gary, if the white poppy is so important, why hijack 11/11 ? This day, after all, is a day associated with war (or the ending of it). If white poppy wearers don't want to remember the war, choose a different day.

The other comment I disliked was that Christian groups were trying to claim it was more Christian to wear a white one. A sad argument.

Gary Elsby said...

Fairn enough Ryan, but remember a few things. Some volunteered for the first war as 'pals' and most were conscripted. They knew absolutely why they were there.
The red poppy is not a political symbol, it is a gesture by today's living towards those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

The white poppy is political. It's meant to say something that most people probably agree with but choose not to be associated with it because it is deliberate and its main purpose is to deviate from the respect in hand.


Norfolk Blogger said...

Gary I agree. The main concern for me also is , where does the money go from white poppy sales ? I guess it goes towards supporting people's political aims and NOT supporting people who are in need of support, which is where the money from red poppies goes.