Thursday, November 05, 2009


It was Churchill who said,

"Except for brief and precarious interludes, there has never been peace in the world and before history began murderous strife was universal and unending. But up to the present time the means of destruction at the disposal of man have not kept pace with his ferocity. Reciprocal extermination was impossible in the Stone Age."

Sadly, the second half of the twentieth century and the first years of the twenty-first bear him out. My generation, the baby-boomers, now nearing our sixties, grew up in a false sense of security, believing, like our parents, that never again would men and women be stupid enough to allow themselves to come within an inch of annihilation; that never again would the world witness genocide; and that never again would civilian populations suffer as they had in World War 11. My parents' parents, in their turn, had genuinely believed that World War 1 had been "the war to end wars".

We now know only too well what the heroes of 1918 came home to: betrayal upon a massive scale comprising depression both economic and emotional. In Germany the starving children of that period grew up to become the Nazis. Therefore what we do in Churchill's "interludes" of peace matters as much as what we do in war. And I would ask what we actively do to prolong the interludes of peace. Not much, I fear, as I remember how eagerly the flag-waving crowds of Thatcher's heyday saw the Falklands warriors off on their journey to "give the Argies some bargey". Why not "give the Argies some blarney" instead? Thatcher would have been just the person to do it, although not with charm. When the weapons of destruction are so terrible that they can annihilate, surely it is better to go on talking? Churchill again:

"To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war."

For Churchill, unlike many politicians who send troops into action, had seen the horrors of war. No one, in my experience, hates war as much as a war veteran, so I have never understood why peace demonstrators are often accused of not showing respect for "our boys". Surely not wanting "our boys" to risk slaughter again is the greatest tribute that we can pay them? My grandfather, to whom I have dedicated my peace globe, was blinded at the Battle of Jutland and. as far as I know, did not feel that there was any glory in it. Once when I was on the brink of womanhood I asked my father why nations glorify war: "There is no glory in war but sometimes men do glorious deeds in war", he replied and that is the wisest answer I have ever received to this question.

I am not naive. Neither am I a pacifist. I wish I was. But I cannot honestly say that I believe that we could continue, in this era, without a standing army or that some perpetrators of crimes against humanity can be stopped by anything short of force. The problem is that we are not logical about where, when and how we use that force, are we? If Saddam Hussein's régime deserved to be ended by western intervention, why not Mugabe's? Thus we come to the awful hypocrisy of it: we wage war when and where it suits us and we send "our boys" into unwinnable situations. It makes me sick when I hear a British Prime Minister expressing sorrow over the deaths of soldiers and a few hours later announcing that he is sending more young people to meet the same fate.

Is there a "just war" then? Perhaps the question should be, "Is there a just peace?" for if we could attain this, it is possible there would be no need for war.

Yes, I believe in the "just peace". And I believe that my own country, Britain, that self-righteous old coloniser, could help achieve it. We're a little country. Little enough to do without nuclear weapons if not without our military. Could we not be a brave country once again and take the lead in disposing of the means of "reciprocal extermination"?

All I am saying is, "Give peace a chance".

John Lennon - Give Peace a Chance

Bobby Darin - Simple Song of Freedom

Serge Reggiani - Le Déserteur


secret agent woman said...

A happy BlogBlast to you! Peace.

Marilyn said...

I love the line in the second song that goes, "lets build them shelves where they can fight it out amongst themselves..." Great stuff.

catsynth said...

It does seem like modern time is both incredibly violent and yearning for peace. Perhaps that' has just always been true.

Wishing you peace today.

Laura said...

Thank you. It seems so simple to me. Peace-

Tom Paine said...

Blog Blasts don't extend the "interludes of peace"; soldiers do. As for the hypocrisy of John Lennon (who funded Irish terrorism by assigning the royalties of "The Luck of the Irish" to NORAID) why don't you post this song by way of balance?

"Ready, aim, sing!"

If you want peace, prepare for war. Old wisdom, but wisdom yet.

Barbara said...

Hi Welshcakes,
My my; look at Simone in your peace globe :) Well done !
Peace to you both !

I have partcipated in at least 3 editons of blog blast in the past. But...this year is complicated.And I'm not going to sadden everyone with my problems.

I ended up closing my blog after problems with my sister. But I have begun fresh and new here :

You are most welcome to come over !

Peace/Paix/Pax to all .

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Heelo, secret agent woman and welcome. Thank you and I hope you had a peaceful and happy day, too. Pace. Hi, Marilyn. I love that line too. I have never understood why Bobby Darin's song did not become one of the great peace anthems. Hello, catsynth. I often wonder if our era is the least peaceful of all. Wishing you peace always. Hi, Laura. Yes, so simple yet so hard to achieve. Pace. Well, Tom, you are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine. If blog blasts join people together and make them think about peace, then there is hope and they have achieved something. There is no disrespect to soldiers in my post but I cannot agree that the only way to achieve peace is the military option. John Lennon, like many of us, did what he thought was right at the time. I will always believe that he was a man of peace and, in writing "Imagine" he was prophetic. I'll post what I think is appropriate on my blog, Tom. Hi, Barbara. Simi is happy that you like her globe. She worked very hard on it and her auntie Anne in Oxfordshire helped her! I'm sorry you're having a difficult time and have had to close your blog. I'll be visiting your new one. Pace.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I agree that the entanglements of the present government are disgusting and pointless. What do we hope to achieve in Afghanistan? We really should have learned the first time around!

Yes, too, we are a little country. And yet, and yet, people take notice of us (or perhaps that should be "used to take notice of us") because we can (could) project power and violence around the globe.

It's not a nice thing to say, but it doesn't matter how softly you speak, if you carry no stick at all nobody will care much.

We'd all like to give peace a chance, but faced with a Mehmet, a Tamerlane, a Hitler or a Napoleon, the chance wouldn't amount to much, would it?

And my grandfather was at Jutland too, fwiw - he was a leading stoker on HMS Calliope; I've still got his medals.

James Higham said...

One needs to understand the process of why peace does not happen and who benefits from this and to counter this before peace gets any chance at all. This is realpolitik.

jmb said...

Excellent post Pat. I looked here several times yesterday for the peace globe post but then I missed it when it did come. lol

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Thanks for participating in the BlogBlast For Peace

Two wonderful Globes and some stirring words to go along with them

Peace to you all


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Weekend Yachtsman. I agree about Afghanistan. And I've often agonised about the "naked into the conference chamber" argument. I just think someone has to be brave enough to start the process, that's all. Interesting to know that your grandfather was at Jutland too. Hi, James, Yes, but someone's got to be idealistic! Thank you, jmb. I was very late doing it. Hello, Bond. Thank you for your kind words. Pace.

Unknown said...

Excellent, Pat. Very, very good. My highest compliments. Thank you, my dear friend.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Love Simi's 'Woofs not Wars' peace globe!

Funny how a blog blast event can make a person uneasy (Tom.) That's because it's a blast!

I really enjoyed your post. Peace to you, Welshcakes Limoncello.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, Nick. That means a lot. Welcome, Julia, and thank you. Perhaps you're right - it's because it's a blast! Simi is happy that you like her globe. Pace to both of you.

Anndi said...

I'm left with tears in my eyes. From the globe you dedicated to your grandfather... to the poem by Rimbaud... a poem I learned in High School. It remains a most treasured commentary on the ugliness of war. I hadn't heard that last song in such a long time.

Merci... les mots de Rimbaud sont gravés dans mon coeur.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, Anndi and welcome. I learnt the Rimbaud poem at school, too, and it's never left me. En te souhaitant de la paix.

Travis Cody said...

This is an impressive post. And your grandfather was certainly a wise man.

I know that my country's logic on when to apply force is based in self-interest, often disguised as Patriotism.

Peace to you and yours.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Many thanks, Travis. Pace to you.

Mimi Lenox said...


I thought surely I commented on this post earlier but I don't see it here. Your thoughts are well laid out and true. I have feature them in a post of my own starting a 20-day countdown to this year's BlogBlast For Peace starting today.

Thank you for writing such a stirring blog post.

Mimi Lenox
BlogBlast For Peace

Unknown said...

Wow! Thank you, Pat. Thank you, Simi. I love this post.

Shalom, my dear friends.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, Mimi. I am honoured to be featured in your post today. I'm sure you commnted before too, because you gave me the number of our peace globes. Blame blogger! Peace to you and thank you for all that you do for all of us.

Hi, Nick and thank you. Love to you and Alex.


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