I don’t normally wear statements. At least I don’t normally mean to. I never have much. I mean things like T-shirts with band names or designer handbags. I like to think that I am individual and can make my own mind up about such things. Maybe we all do.
So why am I wearing a white poppy? And why poppies?
For me, the wearing of poppies (red or otherwise) is about remembering. It’s about remembering the desperate sadness and tragedy of war. It’s about remembering the loss of life and the pointlessness of unnecessary human suffering that has happened century upon century, and which sadly still goes on. And it’s about feeling and saying that we never ever want this to happen again.
Live and let live
Perhaps I am over-simplistic on this subject (and I suspect that there are those who may rush to say this). I realise that many will wax lyrical about sacrifice and ‘our glorious dead’ and so on, but I think that actually, it is not all that complicated. It’s about being and living an ordinary and fairly peaceful life. One where ordinary and simple and peaceful things matter. A live and let live life.
Yes, I am a pacifist, and yes I understand that is not everyone’s position or view. Of course, it’s a challenge – hopefully one that it’s possible to rise to.
The white poppy campaign
White poppies have been worn for many years. They go back to the end of World War l. The Peace Pledge Union that organises the white poppy campaign explains that the white poppies stand for three things:
“Remembrance of all victims of war, including both civilians and members of the armed forces. We remember people of all nationalities. We remember those killed in wars happening now, as well as in the past. We also remember those who are often excluded from the mainstream, such as refugees and victims of colonial conflicts.
Challenging war and militarism, as well as any attempt to glorify or celebrate war. White poppies encourage us to question the way war is normalised and justified. They remind us of the need to resist war and its causes today.
A commitment to peace and to seeking nonviolent solutions to conflict. By drawing attention to the devastating human cost of war, white poppies highlight the urgency of our ongoing struggle for peace.”
I have no issue with people wearing red poppies. I have no issue with people wearing no poppies. I have chosen to wear a white poppy. It is a statement. Not an aggressive statement, but a statement nevertheless. And it’s simply this. I live, love, and hope that we and our children, and our children’s children will be able to live in a world that is kind, that is loving and that is respectful to others – whether they are ‘like us’ or whether ‘they’ are different.
This is peace.