Why Robert Fisk is wrong — 2 Comments

  1. I knew quite a few survivors of the great war when they were nearing the end of their lives, and in both the UK and Ireland. What I found was their opinion on the Poppy was not mixed, and fit more to Fisk’s stance.
    They saw the poppy as something that fit to those that ran busses during the general strike. I saw it was something that split between class and where one lived. Or to put it another way, it became an visible extension of those that supported or were the establishment.
    This is Fisk’s piece from 2011

  2. I don’t doubt the experiences of those who encountered poppies in times past. In Ireland I don’t doubt that it was seized by unionists and blueshirt elements, but symbols change in their meaning. Twenty years ago, I would have recoiled at the sight of an Irish Tricolour flying in a street, it symbolised those who carried out sectarian murders of members of my community. Now, I can look out of the Rectory window at the parish National School across the road and feel relaxed that the Tricolour flying there is a symbol of an Ireland much closer to that envisaged in 1916.

    The poppy now is much more acceptable as a symbol of lost lives. A friend who is Catholic and Nationalist wears it in memory of an uncle who died pointlessly in the hell of the Western Front. It is a symbol that keeps the hideous memories alive, and, so, open to question.

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