November 12, 2013 | 6 Comments
Below, Jared has penned some lovely thoughts about Remebrance Day, and the lives and sacrifices of Canada’s veterans. In past years, I have presented some controversial viewpoints on the matter, and in the current socio-political context, I just can’t hold Remembrance Day in the same esteem as others. Perhaps if Canada abandons our creeping militaristic and war-happy ways, I’ll be able to jump back on the poppy express. Should that happen, I will be filled with joy, as a showing of true remembrance and understanding is warranted.
However, if we are ever to move to a state in which remembrance can live in proper focus, we must treat the matters of war and veterans with honesty. Jared refers to our veterans as “heroes”. The word “hero” is thrown around a lot these days, to the point that I’m not sure there’s an accurate definition anymore. I’m unwilling to give a blanket description of “hero” to all veterans. I think the glorification of veterans quickly bleeds into the glorification of war, but I understand where Jared is coming from.
Nonetheless, there is another matter in which Jared is certainly wrong; a matter in which he is perpetuating a great lie that is rooted in racism and is used to buoy warmongering. Jared writes:
Today is a day for remembering those Canadian soldiers who risked their lives for our freedom.
This is nonsense. Since confederation, Canada has entered numerous wars and military actions, but never once as a result of a direct threat to our nation. No Canadian soldier has risked their life for my freedom. Despite the fact that this notion is blatantly incorrect, we keep hearing it. There’s really only one reason that it lives on, xenophobia.
All of Canada’s military activity (FLQ crisis aside) has been to (supposedly) help non-Canadians. Jared, as I would expect, understands this:
In uniform, they fought to protect those who would come after them, not just in their homelands but all over the world.
But the myth persists.
The only reason that this lie is still thrown around as justification for our militarism is because protecting others isn’t considered sufficient justification for the death of Canadian soldiers. It’s okay, apparently, for our boys to spend a decade or more dying in Afghanistan for us, but not for those people.
The next time someone says that our soldiers died for our freedom, remember what you’re really hearing: that foreigners aren’t worth as much as us.