Oct 31 2006

Remembering the fallen

I wore a poppy today.

The pin kept coming out of my sweater and I continually had to pick up the red plastic flower, dust it off and put it back on. My international students noticed it and asked about it. I told them that we wear it to remember our soldiers who fought for Canada in war.

Of course, that was pretty much all I could say. Most of my Japanese students are probably not even aware that Canadian soldiers fought Japanese in bloody battles in the Second World War. I certainly wasn’t going to say much about it with the German student. And any discussion of this topic with my Korean students present was likely to touch off a firestorm that might end up destroying friendships they’d formed with their Japanese colleagues – friendships that one by one are helping to reduce some of the traditional emnity between their countries.

Despite our ongoing mission in Afghanistan, or perhaps in part as a result of it, Canadians have an impression of war as being something that happens to other people in distant lands. Canadians only go to war because they choose to, not because they have to (notwithstanding Canada’s conscription debates of the First and Second World Wars).

Remembrance Day will likely boost coverage of our Afghanistan mission. That’s a good thing. Hopefully, the information overload will help reduce some of the overblown comparisons by leftist spin doctors of Afghanistan and Iraq. People in this country are free to criticize any of our military interventions overseas – but they should at least have all the facts on hand before they agree to leave Afghans to the medieval thugs who terrorized the country and turned it into a haven for Osama bin Ladin’s terrorists.

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