1918-2018: Never Forget/Instantly Forget (Delete as Appropriate)
If it seems a bit stale to be reading about Armistice Commemorations a few days after the centenary, it only underlines that much coverage of memorial and wellbeing of veterans is done on autopilot: lazy, transient and probably quite cynical. Each year, generic articles and homilies are wheeled out, including the endless back and forth about poppies of varying hue.
Approximately 13,000 veterans are estimated as homeless, for all the good done by various charities on their behalf.
It’s easy for politicians and corporate media to adopt a solemn posture 1 week each year, only to abandon so many who have served for the other 51.
The reasons for this betrayal are never much challenged, though excuses are endless for the wars and weapon sales that make new widows and orphans each day.
So when Aaron Bastani of Novara Media went further than attacking media and politicians, setting his sights on the failure of The Royal British Legion to address systemic issues behind the betrayal of veterans, it was destined to be first class gammon-bait.
Some of the social media reaction was, shall we say, not in line with the peaceful aspirations held by so many after 4 years of carnage, where millions died in the mud for very little.
Some mainstream organisations, such as Huffington Post, quoted Labour MPs slamming Bastani’s comments, through solutions to the ongoing problems he raised were thin on the ground.
Novara then gave voice to Joe Glenton, a veteran of the Afghan war, who dismantled so much of the crass nature of what remembrance has become. His voice, and those of many like him, will be generally ignored.
Being based on the end of World War 1, establishment remembrance (as opposed to those on the personal and local terms) has also long been ahistorical. It sells the war as something to do with freedom when it was little more than an industrialised massacre at the whim of cousins and dumb nationalists.
Apart from the odd bit of hype for things like Help For Heroes and Invictus Games, tinged with pro-militaristic propaganda, we can expect meaningful concern for veterans to return to its’ natural minimal state for another 12 months.