Last Sunday was remembrance day and the weekends Sunday Times* contained two vastly contrasting stories, both of which prompted a strong emotional response in me.
The first was the story of Olaf Schmid, who was a bomb disposal officer in Afghanistan. The story was about his work clearing IEDs leading up to his untimely death. The article was by a free lance reporter who had met him on several occasions and befriended him. The story was incredibly moving and one of the best pieces of journalism I have ever read. Schmid was a true hero and his death was a tragic lose to both his family and humanity. I cannot urge you strongly enough to read this article.
The second, which was the front page story, was about the self serving, sanctimonious cunt that is Goldman Sachs who claims, that being part of a system that made him ridiculously rich and left the rest of us with billions of dollars of debt, was “doing God's work”. The fact that these two articles are even in the same news paper makes me feel sick.
And then to add to the glut of hypocrisy was the story earlier in the week that Shell had banned the sale of poppies on their forecourts. A few years back I travelled all over the World doing work for Shell, places like Brunei, Oman and Malaysia. At the time my Mum commented "you are visiting all those countries that your Dad went to". This was an interesting observation, because my Dad was in the SAS in the 1950's and 60's and the British government back then was happy to use the Army to help political establishments which would in turn secure an energy supply (some things never change). Shell were pretty happy to ride on the back of that so, I would have thought that letting the legion sell a few poppies in their forecourts is the least they could do now. But I would think that, because I have something that resembles a conscience.
We watched the Rememberence Parade from the London eye and wandered around the crowds as they dispersed afterwards. It's very moving and also very important to remember that you don't have to agree with a particuliar war to appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of those who fight in it. Lions led by Donkeys, manipulated by Snakes.
(*yes I know I said I wasn't going to read the Times again, but it was free in the hotel and soon Murdoch is going to charge for it online and then none of us will read it anyway)