The First World War: Commemorating, not merely remembering

In 2014 the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War will be widely commemorated. And everywhere many will wonder – and question yet again – what 10 million deaths achieved, especially as the flawed “peace” that followed led to the rise of totalitarianism and the bestialities of the second-half of the 20th century. When it comes to “We will remember them,” much will depend on speaking honestly about the politics of memory. Continue reading The First World War: Commemorating, not merely remembering

Remembrance Day – avoiding “tinsel platitudes”

Poets have always found inspiration in war: from jingoism to lamentation to bitter denunciation. Remembrance Day commemorations may cite sentimental lines, but there are many others that recognise the ultimate futility of war. Continue reading Remembrance Day – avoiding “tinsel platitudes”