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Red, White and Purple...

Remembrance is important - as the saying goes, those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it.

Remembrance is complex - it stirs strong feelings, sometimes intemperate feelings, with people taking sides and misunderstanding (or even choosing not to understand) either the histories or the stories of others.

Remembrance is nuanced - it recognises that this cannot be about 'us and them', cannot be reduced to 'just war theory' or to a utopian ideal that 'the world will live as one.'  Many - often most - military deaths are conscripts and/or young people from less privileged and even disadvantaged backgrounds.  Civilian deaths - sometimes expressed using a 'civilian casualty ratio' are significant, and can be as high as those of military personnel. 

More recently there has been an interest in animals in war, perhaps arising from Michael Morpurgo's children's classic 'War Horse.  I read this week that an estimated 500,000 cats were deployed to the trenches in World War I, to say nothing of ships' cats.  Horses, dogs, homing pigeons... animals who do not choose political causes but are taken - and sometimes trained - for combat situations... sniffer dogs are more 'expendable' than soldiers.

So, I choose to remember, to enter the place of discomfort, to name and honour those who died... to wrestle with the big questions of war and peace and justice and rights and goodness knows what else... I choose to remember, because to forget is yet more dangerous. 

It's no secret that I love cats, and these two, today, are sporting purple poppies of remembrance for animals who also served... 

Sophie poppy.jpg

sasha poppy.jpg


  • Thank you. A lovely comment on an ever difficult subject. Made more so by the current conflicts. I was in a conversation today where the subject was one should forgive and not remember the wrong. My response being, 'of what value then was the forgiveness?'
    The cats as always look splendid. Give them a kiss from me. And a hug to yourself.

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