Saturday, July 28, 2007


"Despair during the inglorious Western Front."

I just watched a magnificent movie called 'Joyeux Noel' again. It was a re-enactment of an incident on the gory WW1 battlefield, one in which, at Christmas in 1914, for a period of hours, the weary soldiers on both sides stopped hostilities and celebrated the Festive Season together. I was very moved by the many strong messages that this movie conveyed. I shed tears. The reason?

It showed clearly that war is madness, a madness utilized by powerful men and women who seek profit and power. It showed that the people who actually fight wars are indoctrinated and conned and manipulated by the divisive forces of nationalism and religion. Both sides were assured that, 'God is on our side', that their country and the alliances it had was in the right; that the other side represented the forces of darkness and evil.

But when the soldiers who, hours before were totally intent on killing each other actually confronted each other, hesitantly began to talk to each other, sang Christmas carols, had a Christmas drink together, played a game of soccer, gathered and buried their dead, exchanged gifts and addresses, the whole dynamic changed and, for a short time, humanity and decency and a longing for peace re-asserted itself. Of course, once the unofficial truce was over the senseless carnage immediately began again and continued until 1918 with huge losses on both sides.

Following the incident military generals on both sides were scandalized. The idea that the peasants could think and act for themselves and actually did so was a big no-no! Accusations that they were traitors were leveled at those who participated in the accidental truce. Treason was mentioned, a charge that could lead to a firing squad. Only the large numbers involved stopped such punishment. Eventually the German soldiers and officers involved were moved to the Russian Front and certain death. The French and British soldiers and officers were moved to another sector of the Western Front.

The point of this post? This is the year 2007. Wars are still being fought. Unscrupulous people are still profiting from it. We, the people, are still being indoctrinated with religious and nationalistic falsehoods. We are still the ones who die on the battlefield. God is still supposedly on our side. Our enemies are still evil. Nothing has changed in nearly a hundred years!

Then nothing has changed in nearly 4,000 years. Wars are happening right now. More are being considered. Bush is still trying to push his country to invade Iran despite the catastrophe that will ensue.

We, the people of the world, need to shed our shackles, depose the evil ones who manipulate us for their own selfish ends (folk like Bush, Howard, Murdoch et al), and, uniting together, let's stop war forever!

P.S. Cross-posted at the Peace Train.


Renegade Eye said...

I remember in the early 1960s, at the start of the Vietnam war, an antiwar activist was rare. Atleast today despite ruling class attempts for years, the "Vietnam Syndrome", remains and is growing stronger.

Fleming said...

I love that movie, Daniel. It's one of my top favorites. I'm glad you put a spotlight on it and applied it to the current situation.

Lucyp said...

The Xmas truce in the first World War has always been fascinating for me. I always thought that it showed that the majority just wanted to pack up and go home and it was only the tiny minority of politicians and war leaders, safely sitting hundreds of miles away, wanting to keep the fight going.
Old men sending young men to do their fighting while they sit back with their feet up cheerleading from the safety of their armchairs.

Naj said...

Paths of Glory, by Kubrick, have you seen it?

Also, the War, by Timothy Findley.

WeezieLou said...

that movie has been so powerful for me over the years - there's also a book abt it - forget the name right now

Daniel said...

Fleming, it's a must-see movie!

Lucy, the situation is unchanged except there are a liberal sprinkling of younger men now who also send our youth off to die so they can be rich and powerful.

Naj, I haven't seen those but will try to.

Weezilou, thanks for dropping by. Powerful is the right word!


earlbo said...

Daniel, thanks for offering this post for Peacetrain, this is a truly powerful movie. We added some of the stills from the movie along as the YouTube video of the song from the Tube.

Daniel said...

Earlbo, anything I can do to promote peace in this dangerously conflicted world I will.

Thanks for allowing the thoughts of a DownUnder person to help the cause!

Mary said...

Daniel- I was able to watch this film last night. You are right. This should be mandatory watching. It so clearly illustrates how the actual people fighting and dealing w/all the ugly parts of war were just pawns for warmongers who don't feel the pain of any of that. These warriors negotiated a truce quite easily and were quite capable of peace. I found the children doing the recitations in the beginning quite scary. War is archaic. It should not be. To me it's as ridiculous as taking someone out to the town square and stoning them.

Daniel said...

It sickens me, Mary, the extent of the deception being perpetrated on the people of the world. Yet generation by generation, the same deception is continued by those who manipulate us and war continues.

Our lack of proper education (being taught to think) is mainly to blame.