I can’t believe it has been nearly a whole year since I last regularly updated this blog. Unfortunately, I am a creature of passion, and it would seem that for the past 11 months my passions have lay elsewhere. Sorry about that, dear reader, whomever you are.
So, what have I been up to then? Not a great deal to be honest. A few demo’s and actions that you can read all about over on the TP Tamarians blog, a change of job which I am sure is not very interesting, my brother has come back from the Falklands, I have read some cool books, been to the odd gig, failed to stop smoking, learnt to eat some previously unknown vegetables, and I have managed to avoid being dumped by the gorgeous girlfriend. Truth told though, much of my online time, and the main reason for my absence from here over the last several months, has been taken up with promoting peace and understanding through the medium of Facebook, with inconclusive results.
I have been embroiled in debates and discussions with members of the Armed Forces, both US and UK, and their families and supporters. It all started with my joining a group called “Soldiers Are Not Heroes”, which I quickly discovered was supposed to be a parody of other groups glorifying all things armed and uniformed. Sadly, the creators of this group had no wish to build bridges between soldiers and those with strong views against war and society’s fetishisation of the military. This group attracted hundreds of members of the Armed Forces and their acolytes, and generally enraged them, bringing, in my humble opinion, the anti-war movement into serious disrepute. I made it my mission to try and prove that not all ‘hippies’ are wankers.
Facebook has millions of people using it, and it would seem it is the communication method of choice for large numbers of soldiers and their loved ones. Eventually, in a likely futile attempt to make common cause between hippies and soldiers against the mendacious bastards in government, I was driven to create my own group called SHAT for Short – Soldiers and Hippies Against Twattery. It was to be an experiment in mutual understanding and reasoned dialogue. 88 members and several months later, here I am, wondering why I bothered my shirt.
Successes were few, though satisfying. Through the group, soldiers learnt of the white poppy, some army wives even took to wearing them, and there were many meandering debates with serving soldiers about Iraq, Afghanistan, Trident nuclear weapons, and the liars in government. We talked about freedom of speech, SOCPA, Brian Haw, Russia, Iran, the neo-cons, 9/11, WMD, sanctions, the UN, rules of engagement, international law, concientious objection, the anti-war movement and of course, football. If only a few soldiers took away the message I tried to hammer home, that anti-war activists care more about the well-being of soldiers than any number of government ministers, then my time was not entirely wasted. Yet I fear the fruits of my labour do not do justice to the effort put in. Which is a shame.
Still, there is always hope. Many words were said that may reverberate in minds for a long time to come.
This song kinda sums up how I feel right now about the whole thing –
Peace out x