Saturday, April 14, 2007

Letter to the Editor

The following letter to the editor appeared in our local paper two days ago, written by a local Friend. It expresses a fundamental idea with pithy eloquence:

With the grievous loss of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan at the same time as rededicating the Vimy Ridge Memorial, much has been made of the "direct line" between those two conflicts ("PM honours Vimy legacy," April 9, 2007). The connection is not one so much one of glorious nationalism as it is a cult of death.

If Vimy was our defining moment it defined us as a people steeped in the blood of both friend and foe. Like other warlike people we love to teach our young to kill and be killed. We dress death with splendid monuments, flags, parades, doleful laments on pipes and bugles, volleys over open graves and floods of tears. We promise never to forget. And we initiate each new generation into the cult which ensures further occasion for remembrance. We dress the causes and results of death with noble but false words.

The great irony is that these events come together at Easter when Christians might be expected to champion most strongly a cult of peace and life. Our beloved country has followed the wrong line from Vimy to Afghanistan. We should seek out and follow the difficult paths of non-violent service both at home and abroad. We need a moral equivalent of war.

The next day, the CBC had a heartbreaking story about the deteriorating mental health of the children of soldiers in Afghanistan.


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