Saturday, 28 October 2017

Robert Fisk: The poppy has become a symbol of racism – I will never wear one again


Talking of liberals, Robert Fisk often seems an interesting journalist when writing about the Middle East or Algeria, though his enthusiasm for Europe taking as many refugees as possible from the Middle East horrifies me. I now regard him with disgust after he equated wearing a poppy for Armistice Day with racism, in his latest utterance headlined

The poppy has become a symbol of racism – I will never wear one again

Apparently mourning our nation's dead not the dead of foreign countries is racist.

Do not laugh. This is the sea of ideas in which people in England and the developed world are swimming.
Brexit has convinced him that we English are racist.

"When Poles fought and died alongside British pilots in the 1940 Battle of Britain to save us from Nazi Germany, we idolised them, lionised them, wrote about their exploits in the RAF, filmed them, fell in love with them. For them, too, we pretend to wear the poppy. But now the poppy wearers want to throw the children of those brave men out of Britain. Shame is the only word I can find to describe our betrayal."

As I recall the British laid down their lives for Poland rather than the other way around and defeated the racist governments of Germany and Italy.

Everyone as he gets older finds himself living in a foreign country. I suppose many or most people who grew up when Mr Gladstone was Prime Minister were horrified by flappers and the Jazz Age. But this age in which we find ourselves marooned, like travellers stranded in in an uncomfortable and garish hotel (the phrase is Conrad's), does seem stark, staring mad. Take this, from Fisk's article, for stark, staring madness.
On Britain’s international television channels, Christmas was long ago banned (save for news stories on the Pope). There are no Christmas trees any more beside the presenters’ desks, not a sprig of holly. For we live in a multicultural society, in which such manifestations might be offensive to other “cultures” (I use that word advisedly, for culture to me means Beethoven and the poet Hafiz and Monet). 

And for the same reason, our international screens never show the slightest clue of Eid festivities (save again for news stories) lest this, too, offends another “culture”. Yet the poppy just manages to sneak onto the screen of BBC World; it is permissable, you see, the very last symbol that “our” dead remain more precious than the millions of human beings we have killed, in the Middle East for example, for whom we wear no token of remembrance. 
Fisk is mad and unfortunately he's not alone. He has no idea what nations are. Or perhaps he does and hates them.

We are living in one of Michael Wharton's (Peter Simple in the Daily Telegraph) dystopian fantasies. He died years ago, but actually it's not just (to use a cliché) a generational thing. As my poetess friend Eva, who is in her late 20s, says
I want to go back to the real world, but it no longer exists.


  1. Its funny how people keep asserting British or Polish pilots saved Britain from Nazi Germany even though it has always been clear that the Germans' objective was to stop Britain bombing Germany not to conquer Britain.

    British soldiers didn't lay down their lives for Poland because Britain never attacked Russia either at the beginning or at the end of the war. They laid down their lives because they had blinkered politicians who wanted to destroy Germany at whatever cost to Britain's interests.

  2. How dare people be so disrespectful 😡
    I am more determined than ever to fly the flag in the face of any adversity. James

    1. How dare you presume to tell me what, and who to respect?