I quite like Remembrance Day.
I donate to the Royal British Legion (only a couple of quid), I wear a poppy, I observe a silence. I remember and appreciate the sacrifices people made to create a country I could be proud of living in – one that battled intolerance, tyranny and segregation.
Because the country I live in right now is apparently full to bursting with racist fuckheads.
I live in a United Kingdom where its apparently okay to tell people with different beliefs to ‘fuck off back to your own country’ – even when the people you’re talking to are British citizens. I live a Britain where it’s apparently perfectly acceptable to talk about ‘pakis’ when you’re selling me a poppy.
I can’t trace my family back very far, but I have a brother who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I had a grandfather who fought at Arnhem. I almost certainly had ancestors who fought in World War I, because most people alive in Britain today did (yes, even the brown ones).
My family, and all those other men who I’ve never met didn’t fight so that small-minded, ignorant fuckwits can turn this country into a place where people are not free to speak their mind.
That means that we are all free to openly dislike things like Remembrance Day. We’re free to openly protest the actions of our government, of our soldiers, of our fellow man. We’re free to speak out and say our piece, and campaign and try to get our message heard – no matter how minority our interest, or how batshit insane our intent.
Unless – and this is the important part - your freedom of speech impinges on my personal freedoms. You’re allowed to tell me you don’t like what I think; you aren’t allowed to threaten me or tell me I’m not allowed to live in my own country for thinking it.
That is the country our ancestors built. That is the United Kingdom they fought and died for – why would anyone who professes to respect their memory want to trample all over that?
Why would anyone wish to remember the dead, while deliberately forgetting the reason they fought?