Poppies are not patriotic. They are worn to remember the terrible slaughter of war, irrespective of the poor victims’ nationalities. For this reason it’s wrong for the International Football Association to ban players’ wearing them for international matches; but equally wrong for this decision to be objected to on patriotic grounds. Unfortunately that was the argument of one Tory minister six years ago; to which I responded with this letter to the Guardian:
‘“Wearing a poppy,” writes our sports minister to Fifa, “is a display of national pride, like wearing your country’s football shirt” (Report, Sport, 9 November). I have worn a poppy at this time of year for as long as I can remember. For me it has always been in sad remembrance of the slain of two world wars, with no shred of nationalism attaching to it. Talk of “national pride” and “football shirts” cheapens the gesture. If this is what it really signifies, I shall not wear one again.’
I am wearing one this year, believing that most people share my interpretation. But in sorrow and sympathy; not with any particular ‘pride’.
As in other years, on 11 November and Anzac Day (25 April) in Australia, I am wearing a White Poppy and expect to have several interesting conversations as a result. Available from Peace Pledge Union. Or, knit them! Happy to share the pattern:) Chloe
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Yes, Chloe, I remember we had those in the 1960s. The trouble, as I see. it, is that it pushes the red poppy buyers into the ‘patriotic’ camp, where I don’t think they should be. I’d rather re-claim the red poppy for anti-war people like us.
Fortunately, we are not subject to a lese-majeste law.
Chloe: if this link works, it confirms my view of the. origin and significance of the red poppy: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1502282606474654&set=a.464994456870146.97222.100000787875342&type=3&theater