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Remembering Armistice Day
Date 12/11/2009 17:06  Author admin  Hits 2483  Language Global

Brussels, 11.11.2009: Father Æthelwine, an orthodox chaplain from the University of York, conducted the service at Frere Orban Square, close to the European Parliament
I was amazed that the European Parliament does not recognise Armistice Day, or even facilitate some form of remembrance service for participant country representation in the Great War or Second World War. I have even heard the war referred to as the first European Civil War, albeit by a particularly silly MEP. I accept that one or two countries out of the current 27 member states were not participants but that it should remain unobserved is a dangerous manipulation of history.

We have much to learn from the conflicts of the last century. Perhaps the most important lesson is the rarity that democratically elected nations go to war with each other. There were relatively few wars in history which were worth the expenditure of lives and money. The price extracted from those at the bottom of society is a significantly smaller contribution than from the political and industrial sector.

We have much to learn from the mistakes of the past. When the political class becomes detached from ordinary people, when personal ambitions and dogma override common sense and international posturing and empire building, the nation state can be set on slippery slope of no return; the Balkans in 1914 and again Eastern Europe in the late 1930s. Treaties signed by ambitious politicians leave ill-considered implications for the populace who will eventually be left to shoulder the burden. Two minutes of silent reflection every November would concentrate the minds of those who would appear to have learned nothing from history.