On Remembrance Day in sunny, brisk Vancouver, Ian Bell (fresh from a CBC appearance “On The Coast“) joins Dave to read from Grandpa Mark’s diaries written in the trenches in WW1 as a young Canadian. From the library steps with a flask of scotch, they reflect on the costs and motivations of war, importance of friendship and the ethereal experience of going “over the top” and facing the terror on the other side, plus anecdotes about capturing Germans soldiers and discourse on the importance of personal documentation to pass forward to generations.
Wrapping up the White Poppies for Remembrance series with a narrative late-night wander through Westminster, London, DaveO meanders past military monuments, victory squares, cenotaphs, palaces, royal parks, war museum, war chambers, riot fences, war protesters, churches, parliament and finishing at St. James park for a sitdown under a weeping willow to consider monarchy, individual rights and responsibilities, and the role of class division in waging war as London’s sirens, trains, and Big Ben fill the night.
Back home on the North Vancouver porch, Dave reads from Clay Mcleod’s essay Why I Don’t Wear a Poppy while sending peace and resistance towards the decent lieutenant Magnum in Iraq and the Philippines along with earnest comrades at arms and peaceful strangers in war torn lands. Plus he admonishes the Canadian Legion for blocking the sale of white poppies while banjo-ist Wm. Lenker sings from the woodshed and The Grateful Dead leave this Brokedown Palace … on my hands and my knees, I will roll roll roll …
Last year The Royal Canadian Legion through it legal representative demanded that Canadian groups stop distribution them and that the PPU stop making white poppies available in Canada, or else. That was the gist, though expressed in more formal language. According to the RCL’s legal representatives, the white poppy infringes the Legion’s poppy trademark. The PPU replied at length; our central point was that we disagreed with their argument. We have not heard from them since but the Canadian shop at the centre of this complaint regrettably had to acquiesce. You can read more about this at http://tinyurl.com/2mc7pq where you can also find out about the white poppy project and the PPU.
Following the legal threats both the promoters in Canada and Canadians who bought the poppy from us hoped that white poppies would again be available in Canada this year.
White poppies in any quantity are available from us for dispatch anywhere in the world including Canada.
A story about Iraqi resistance fighters and their personal motivations by a young writer called Waiting in Baghdad is the crux of the next White Poppies for Remembrance episode – read from the homeporch with a Welsh mining lantern and firetrucks rolling past. Written by Chris K, a player on a dave-coached in-line hockey team in Olympia Washington in 2002.
Taking a Remembrance Day respite to enjoy a conscious discussion with ‘Trigger’ at Vancouver’s New Amsterdam Cafe, Dave O listens to the consequences and conditions of space, in tangible and gestalt senses, and reviews the paradigm shifts of Vancouver’s downtown Eastside ‘four corners’ – once one of the grandest intersections in the British Empire.
Later, he wanders and reads Walt Whitman [When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d] and Gord Downie [from Coke Machine Glow] to bring it ’round home for this part #7 of the White Poppies for Remembrance series.
Part 6 of the “White Poppies for Remembrance” series considers the opportunity cost of the lost human potential while at the Victory cenotaph in downtown Vancouver – along the way, troubadours sing about Providence, Joyful(ness) along with spontaneous percussion-scapes and city bus brakes.
DaveO examines the value of life with Gord Downie‘s swift deconstructions of existence from Coke Machine Glow, Henry David Thoreau‘s visionary stories of perseverance and the value of the mindfulness from Walden and a personal declaration of sovereignty and dignity from original Letters from Russia read in hospital to ole gramps.
Part 5 of the White Poppies for Remembrance series continues with Dave at Victory Park, this time reading the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by General Assembly Dec. 10th 1948) with riffs on tolerance, human relations, common understanding and mutual respect, including a healthy sampling of articles on brotherhood, privacy, special treatment for mothers plus a commentary about refugee status and the illegal nature of torture and humiliating treatment.
Then brings it ’round home with a snippet from H.D. Thoreau’s Walden about sovereign man being the origin of the political state while accompanied by lively jazz (via bootleg cassette) featuring Joe Williamson and cohorts in Banff from way back playing about Peace to the Children of our Universe and Common Market offering up replinishing Refresh (ment) live on KEXP.
The most recent episode “Buddhas in the Trenches” discusses conscientious objection and military service evaders. I wrote a “Pro” and “Con” argument paper while at Evergreen College in Olympia, WA in the early days of this ‘war on abstract nouns’ which (unfortunately) is still vitally relevant.
Rather than rambling on, … please note the endnotes for both sides of the argument. I encourage people to learn more about what is going on as decent people fight for refugee status and their right to not-kill and be killed for an illegal, immoral and unethical war. The situation is vastly different than Vietnam era (no more draft and extradition treaties are in place) but eerily similar (particularly as the war continues to escalate out of control).
This essay is available along with many others at…
Page France sings Chariot, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club sings about Mercy, (both found on KEXP S.o.t.D. podcast) and Bill Janovitz from Here Comes a Regular score lays down some background groove – plus some Andean flute, soulful saxriffs and American Pie wisdom from Clayton the seabus busker along the way.
‘War is a crime against humanity. I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war. I am also determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.’ PPU pledge White Poppies for Peace