Tag Archives: White Poppies

Remembrance Day with Vasco’s Bones – Postcard #63

Remembrance Day with Vasco's Bones

From an olden church and (otherwise vacant) cenotaph at Fort Cochin, Kerala, India, Dave O – acknowledging an extended medical and death related hiatus – discusses the local history of colonization by Portuguese explorers, Dutch traders, then British Raj in the context of the colonization leading to exploitation, conscription and war with no meaning to local populace. Plus the meaning of reparations and the conflict of peaceful resistance – evidenced my Mahatma Gandhi beach a stone’s throw away – contrasted with continued wars throughout the world, shadowed by disposable tourism, economic and racial caste systems.

Recorded Nov. 11, 2016, Released 11:11 Nov. 11, 2017

Gather Round for Remembrance Day with Vasco’s Bones – Postcard #63  (37:11, .mp3, 192k, 58MB, stereo)

Also of note: Vasco da Gama’s bones, black knee-high socks, French generational losses, siege of Leningrad, Churchill’s mishaps, lost human potential of engineers, poets and lovers, MacArthur’s folly, Australia’s vulnerability, the emergence of regions over nation-states, Brexit for British Columbia + Cascadia, Catalonia and Scottish successions, work of raising a child, trappings of hubris, death by disease and guns, aggressive use of intelligence, forethought and diplomacy, and unfiltered view of sacrifice and life.

Cover art photo: By Dave Olson at Fort Cochin, taken by Lomo Sardine can camera with expired B&W film.

On Remembrance Day, war stories from Vimy to Baghdad

Originally published in Vancouver Observer on Nov. 10, 2010. Republished here intact for posterity.

white poppy for peaceEach Remembrance Day, I’m sure to put forth that there is significant importance in documenting the stories from those affected by war—from veterans and dodgers to widowers and pacifists.

By gathering the anecdotes and artifacts of war, we honour the noble efforts of regular folk in desperate circumstances. Further, we aid in the prevention of costly violent errors in the future by bearing witness and sharing what already know.

Nobility of Documentation

I feel there is great power in documentation and in gathering and sharing stories.

For me, the reasons for capturing memories are most clear around Remembrance Day when otherwise pacific elders are resplendent with dusty spangles, propped by stiffened knees, and tears are rather expected.

Yet another war memorial
Photograph of “yet another” war memorial in London by author

With the fading and guarded memories of veterans in mind, I extol the virtues of archiving the oral tradition and preserving the ephemera in attics and shoeboxes with the maxim, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it,” in mind.

To my eyes, there is scant glory in the macro-reasons for war, but noble sadness (even wabi sabi in Japanese aesthetic terms), and I have utmost respect for the efforts made by the those who are obliged to participate in conflict – regardless of their roles or reasons. 

Why I Gather

While wars go on, I would be a regrettable resister if I did not study, remix and share the stories of those at war, in years present and past. I’ve seen concentration camps near Muchen’s Oktoberfest and the rusted hulks of tanks reclaimed by jungles onPeleliu. I’ve dived amongst the leftover debris of dead sailors near Guam. I’ve sat with the winners and losers of wars and listened to stories from civilian employees, special ops and draft dodgers. All are equal to my ears.

Now, with the tactile poignancy of a brother in Afghanistan (expected home soon), who also toured Iraq, combined with a crust of cynicism from the recent US mid-term elections – and watching on-going domestic political squabbling while pragmatic advice is ignored and the fallen come home, I can offer no more reason to remember than the obvious. Flanders Field on endless loop, the narrative is still the same. No change, no evolution.

While my ballot apparently is not strong enough to spare lives, I can hope to change minds for the future by compiling the stories of those in the fray,  both past and more recent.

Listen to Veterans

Lt. Magnum out n' about reconstructing in Iraq
US Navy Lt. “Magnum” makes local friends in Iraq (photographer unknown)

On this Remembrance Day, I’ve gathered two audio stories from wars,  referred to anecdotally with names like the Great War, the Just War (and the Mistake War).

The first audio podcast features snippets from diaries written in the WWI trenches read by Ian Bell, the veteran’s grandson, on Remembrance Day – last year on the drizzly steps of the Library (with whiskey to keep us warm).

The second audio documentary includes musings from a US Navy officer who’d recently returned from Iraq. He doesn’t discuss the clumsy politics, weapons of missing destruction or casualties, but rather the everyday activities of eating and meeting locals.

Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day

Vimy Rdge Diaires

Description:

 “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 of WWI as a young Canadian. From the library steps with a flask of scotch, Ian and Dave reflect on the costs and motivations of war, the importance of friendship and the ethereal experience of going “over the top” and facing the terror on the other side. Their conversation features anecdotes about capturing Germans soldiers and a discourse on the importance of personal documentation to pass forward to generations.”

Download Audio: 
Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day – Postcard # 61

Reconstructing Mesopotamia with Lt. Magnum

choogle-magnum

Description:

 “With a US Naval Lieutenant at the table, Uncle Weed traces the history of the Tigris and Euphrates crescent and discusses the ground level experience of life in Iraq. Lt. Magnum explains his rebuilding mission to Kurdistan, plus his quests to various coalition bases including the Korean, Slovakian and Polish forces. Anecdotes includeHaliburton’s food, smoking hookah in Qatar, religious concessions, cables on marble walls, hiking the rolling hills and meeting local folks just getting by in a war-torn world.”

Every Year

pipers in west van

As for me, this year on November 11th I’ll be at another ceremony. Each year, I choose a new location.

Last year was UBC, the year before was Cates Park, the year before Victory Square.

This year maybe the Japanese cenotaph in Stanley Park or a parade in West Vancouver. You might find me listening to bagpipes and wondering why we are so slow to learn.

And I’ll have my recorder in my mitten to capture any answers from seasoned minds, capturing their words to share with the future in case anyone is listening.

Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day – Postcard # 61

Vimy Rdge Diaires

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.

Sit awhile for Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day – Postcard # 61

Featuring:

Geoff Berner – Excerpts from “Maginot Line” Recorded live at the Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC, Feb. 28, 2009

Various artists (including piper Dave Ahl) – Recorded live at UBC Remembrance Day Ceremony, Nov. 11, 2009

Ian Bell reading from Grandpa Mark’s diaries

William Markle Pecover – Memory of Vimy Ridge

William Markle Pecover – On Being Bombed in Britain

Photo via CDN Veterans Affairs asks How Will you Remember? – Download Canadian historical war time photo and video packs, organized by theme and era, then remix and share via social networks.

Continue reading Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day – Postcard # 61

Meandering Past Monuments of Remembrance – Postcards #49

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.

Care for a stroll? Meandering Past Monuments of Remembrance – Postcards #49 (.mp3, 34:19, 28MB)

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Thanks to:

Jerry Garcia Band (with John Kahn), acoustic, Oregon State Penitentiary, Lonesome Prison Blues, Salem OR 050582 via archive.org

New Riders of the Purple Sage w/ Robert Hunter, April 8, 2006, Venue: Mystic Theater, Petaluma, CA
Source:
Schoeps MK4v > V3 > 744T @24/96
Lineage: 744T > Audobe Audition 16/44> CDwav > Flac16
Taped by: Pete Gilmore, Monkey Tunes
Transferred by: Dawne Sacchetti

Pete Stone – Golden Frontier via KEXP Song of the Day

Bonus: (links coming soon perhaps)

The Yuigers – repressed Muslim Chinese in Guatanamo

Moscow weather – winter 2006, winter 1812

Crimean War

More from London:

London Town Wander Night – Choogle on #46

Anarchy and Fungi in the UK – Choogle on #42

Joints on Brighton Beach – Choogle on #38

Peace to Soldiers and Strangers – Postcard #48

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 …

Sit for a spell with Peace to Soldiers and Strangers – Postcard #48 (.mp3, 16:58, 13MB)

Thanks to:

Clay Mcleod, “Why I Don’t Wear a Poppy” from the TheTyee.ca, Nov. 9 2005

Grateful Dead, Brokedown Palace, Dec. 06 ’92, Tempe AZ, (Hunter/Garcia)

Wm. Lenker recorded in his Steamboat Island woodshed by Uncle Weed

Meganpru for album photo (this peacelovin’ woman rolls in the volksvegan)

Bread the producer for albumart design

Bonus:

Canadian Legion hassling the Peace Pledge Union folks about selling White Poppies

Be sure to order white poppies early (shipped across the Atlantic) and read the loquacious discourse on this most critical of topics. Make no mistake, the way to honour ultimate sacrifice is to ensure no such future bloodshed is required from man’s inability to get along. And we (all of us) have a right to respect the fallen in a manner which suits our conscience and not a method prescribed by the Legion or anyone else.

Here’s Peace Pledge’s quick overview:Cenotaph in Vancouver

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.

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Waiting (and Resisting) in Baghdad – Postcard #47

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.

Hunker down for Waiting (and Resisting) in Baghdad – Postcard #47 (22:16, 21MB, .mp3)

waiting-in-baghdad
[bunker photo by Lt. Magnum, USN]

Music

Black Angels – First Vietnam War, Snipers at the gates of Heaven
Unknown (via Trauben)

Super Chiefs

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(Meta)Physical Conditions of the Environment – Postcard #46

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.

Cross the street for (Meta)Physical Conditions of the Environment – Postcard #46 (18:47, 26MB, .mp3)

Postcards from Gravelly Beach White Poppies for Remembrance #7

Music by:

Drive-by Truckers “World of Hurt” via KEXP

Beethoven Sonata #14

Unnamed spacey something by Merlin (and/or Jahwah) via HempenRoad soundtrack

realism in the downtown eastside (by trigger)
Sketching the Chaos of the Downtown Eastside (trigger)

discussing the conditions
discussing the conditions (trigger)

downtown eastside discourse with trigger
downtown eastside discourse with trigger

dominion building from bus stop
Dominion Building behind Victory Park and Cenotaph, New Amsterdam to left

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Awakening to the Dawn of Potential – Postcard #45

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.

Come along for “Awakening to the Dawn of Potential – Postcard #45” (17:51, .mp3, 25MB)

Awakening to the Dawn of Potential - Postcards #45

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Tune-age by:

Chris Jacobsen, “Providence” from “Houseboat” 1995 Spilt Milk Records (cassette)

Note: Chris is a quick-laughing, semi-salty, ukulele-playing, sea captain in knew in Guam in the 90’s – last heard from in Long Beach, WA or somewhere in Rhode Island – i should have a photo around here somewhere … Message to Chris: I hope to have a brew with you soon! Send a postcard.

Rock Plaza Central, “My Children, Be Joyful” from “are we not horses” Outside Music in Canada and Yep Roc Records in the States — rockplazacentral.com also features singer Chris Eaton’s Novels

See Also: KEXP Suggests Rock Plaza Central (MP3)
Note: Hear Rock Plaza Central songs or order a copy online at their Myspace HQ Rock Plaza Central
Note: they seem like nice enough lads – look for them in your town

Plus:
“New Shed Percussion Scape” by Dave Olson and Miss Sena of Steamboat Island, recorded April 2007

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Righteous Declarations for Humans – Postcard #44

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.

Listen to Righteous Declarations for Humans (.mp3, 13:24, 15MB)


Postcards from Gravelly Beach poetry podcast #44

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Bonus: Snapshots of Joe Williamson

by Baggage Reclaim

by en_ns

Military service evaders seeking justice – Laying it all out on paper

You likely know i’ve been working on a series for Postcard from Gravelly Beach podcast about war and peace called “White Poppies for Remembrance” recorded last November.
Poetry on war and peace and remembrance

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.

The essay titled Should U.S. military evaders be extradited? Yes & No arguments (.pdf) 08/04” break down the issues and conundrums facing the (growing number of) men and women who are giving their humanity and conscience priority over their military service obligations/commitments.

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…