Today is Remembrance Sunday throughout Britain and The Commonwealth. It is also a day which comes after a week that has poignant meaning for France as well. On the 11th of November, the most tragically unnecessary war in modern history, The Great War/First World War, came to an end.
The war claimed the lives of millions of men, some of whom were still actually boys, all of whom died in vain. This does not make their sacrifice any less valiant nor does it take away from their honour, dignity and heroism. If anything it adds to it, they died to expose to the world, the folly of the poor political leaders who sent them to their graves.
Remembrance Sunday is a rather different day than the 9th of May, Victory Day in Russia and the wider fraternal post-Soviet realm. It is true that the 9th of May is a solemn occasion in many respects. It is a time to reflect on and mourn the millions of Red Army heroes who gave their lives in the fight against fascism in order to preserve the freedom not just of Soviet men and women, but of the world.
But the 9th of May is also a day of joy and pride, because it was on that day that good triumphed over evil. The war against fascism was a just war and the victory is one that is rightly celebrated throughout the world. By contrast, the war which ended in 1918, made the world a far worse place.
The irresponsible re-drawing of much of the world map, unleashed the hell of nationalism which led to the birth of fascism in Europe and simultaneously, continues to cause bloodshed in the Middle East. At the same time, many Greeks and Armenians were cheated out of the lands they were justly entitled to.
The First World War ruined the world and it sadly took and even deadlier war to right these wrongs. Therefore, on this Remembrance Sunday, let the world resolve to avoid war and to be vigilant against the sowing of the seeds of war, whether it be in the fields of Europe, the sands of the Middle East, or the warm waters of the Mediterranean.
After 1918 people said ‘never again’, though they failed to notice that the settlement of the war paved the way for extremist far-right regimes to once again threaten the peace.
Since 1945, there have been many wars, though luckily not a world war. The outgoing American regime has pushed the world closer to world war than it has been at any time since 1962, if not since 1945. I hope that the new political leadership emerging throughout the world understands both the lessons of 11 November 1918 and those of the 9th of May, 1945.
We remember the Glorious Dead. May the suffering caused by war never befall any future generations.