Friday, November 11, 2011

Facing the Threat, Work Towards Peace

In the last decade, our modern societies have been ruled and controlled by fear and intimidation. One of the reasons why the Occupy movement has struck such a nerve is that people are tired of being afraid. Many of these people have spent the last 10 years being afraid, having their worst fears stoked and amplified until they acted without thinking, letting others do the thinking for them. There is only so much people can take that kind of manipulation before they break down. When that happens, they can either curl up into a ball and accept it all, or they dig their heels into the ground, let their courage give them the strength to start moving forward, pushing their fears aside.

The Occupees are facing the risk of arrest, violence, and as winter approaches, the unforgiving elements of nature. And yet, they continue to peacefully assemble to protest a system that has victimized not only the 99% of yesterday and today, but also the other 99% of tomorrow. They are sacrificing themselves now so that others will not need to sacrifice themselves later.

When we wear the Red Poppy at this time, we are remembering those men and women who had to push their fears aside to face an enemy that threatened their families, their loved ones. This remembrance applies to all those warriors, on all sides of the conflict: the Canadians, the Americans, the French, the British, the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Germans, the Japanese, the Koreans, the Mexicans, etc. This also applies to those people who are protesting and calling for change, often in the face of violent opposition by those who can only benefit from their efforts. These social warriors are exercising their courage so that the rest us won't need to.

Personally, I have only recently heard of the White Poppy, which is worn as a symbol of peace, but the White Poppy has been in circulation for almost as long as the Red Poppy (a difference of only  5 years). There is some debate over the wearing of the Red/White poppy, but I don't understand why we can honor the sacrifices of the fallen (Red Poppy) and recommit ourselves to peace in the present and future (White Poppy).

So wear your poppy, red or white, in remembrance of those who found the courage to face the threat in the past, in recognition for those manage to find the courage to face the threat today, and for hope for a peaceful, better tomorrow when the need for that courage is less.
Copyright© 2010 John David Hickey