Archive for the ‘War and Peace’ Category

Mighty Casey Has Struck Out

May 25, 2009


Rios

Originally uploaded by dfallis

This lovely picture was taken by my friend Dave at a recent Blue Jays-Yankees game. We were sitting up in the 500 section at the Rogers Centre. He captured the ball in motion and Rios leg twisting into his swing. I am always amazed by the quality of photographs Dave takes, so please take the time to visit his Flickr page and enjoy his work.

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, which means lots of afternoon baseball, and poignant reminders of those who died in war. Canada partakes in this activity on November 11th, and this blog featured a few posts on the topic during that month. The combination of sports and war brings to mind the stories of many professional athletes who spent the 1940’s fighting overseas. My grandfather spent a portion of his time in England playing hockey with many NHL’ers, though he was only an amateur. Many of these men fought on the front lines during the war. I wonder, if a large war were to break out today (the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are obviously a smaller scale than WWII) how many of our athletes and other celebrities would line up to serve? It’s a much different question now because they are millionaires today, whereas in the 40’s they made salaries that were more in line with the average worker. It’s an intriguing question particularly since many professional athletes have the level of fitness and discipline needed to be ideal soldiers. The average Canadian or American probably doesn’t anymore. I hope we never find out.

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I Now Remember

May 13, 2009

Yesterday I caught an enlightening documentary on the Canadian/British/American/Polish invasion of Italy, focusing specifically on the Canadian effort. I knew some bits and pieces about that part of World War II but was foggy on the details.  It made me realize that most of what I know about that war, or at least what I remember, relates to the events after D-Day in Normandy.  Thanks to the National Film Board I am able to bring you this wonderful documentary on Canada’s part in the war prior to June 6, 1944.  Some of the events are more well known, such as Dieppe, the Battle of Britain, and the North Atlantic convoys.  Yet I still think many of us forget that a lot of fighting took place before the final push from the beaches of France to the gates of Berlin. Long before the boats came ashore at Juno Beach, brave Canadian soldiers were fighting and dying among the remnants of the Roman Empire. Be warned, the following video is close to 1 hour long, but if you have the time, it’s well worth watching.  You can also see Part II and Part III of the big documentary on the NFB site.

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Violins and Tambourines

December 23, 2008
A Man and His Camel

A Man and His Camel

I have to admit that I don’t know the whole story of this picture.  I asked my good friend, Kern, to send me the most interesting picture from his crazy Asian oddyssey.  This is what he came up with.  The fellow’s uniform looks to be somewhere between  flight attendant and a green beret.  I imagine since he’s patrolling a stone wall in the desert he probably means business.  With a camel you don’t have to worry about sand in the air filter!

You might wander why I’d put up a random picture from half way around the world.  Honestly I just wanted a neat shot from Kern’s amazing adventure.  It’s also a somewhat appropriate lead-in to today’s topic: Afghanistan. Not the country specifically, but the challenges Canadians face as our soldiers fight there.  I was lead to this topic by, of all people, Don Cherry.  The Hockey Night in Canada commentator (who wears the most hideous suits) always features the pictures and stories of any soldier who dies over there.  I touched on the topic of war in my Remembrance Day post, but since Home by Christmas was a popular war related refrain, it seems like a good time to touch on it again.

War history has always been an interest of mine, along with philosophical topics related to death, dying, and evil. I think the reason that I am so into these concepts is that I am a very emotional person. I have strong experiences when I imagine myself in various situations.  So when I watch a movie about war, or play a video game, I can’t help but imagine the fear that I would feel if I actually faced enemy fire.  Now of course I can not possibly envision the true experience because I have never had to live it.  I am immensely grateful for that.  It is all well and good to say I am thankful for the sacrifices of generations before mine, and soldiers fighting today for peace and justice.  But if I fail to work towards a peaceful future, have I really gotten the point?  The lesson of the World Wars should be that violence is terrible and our children need to know that. They need to know that even though their parents, grandparents, and other ancestors saw fit to kill each other, it is not the best solution for the future. In fact it is not any kind of a solution.  It may seem that I am a pacifist advocating non-violence in every scenario.  Actually I’m not.  In fact I recognize that men like Adolph Hitler (the supreme example) need to be fought tooth and nail.  The loftier goal I have in mind is creating a generation that is smarter, more forgiving, and cooperative than ours.  We try very hard to create solutions among our adult selves, when perhaps the best we can do is to teach our children to do what we have been unable to do. To get along.

I firmly believe that humans aren’t born with the venom that can develop later in life.  Though some people seem to be predisposed toward certain behaviours, it is possible in the overwhelming majority of cases to influence young people towards a noble life.  We try very hard on the whole to protect our children, to give them what they want, and to help them succeed in life. Do I know how exactly we do this?  No I don’t.  But I want to be in the discussion. I want everyone to be in the conversation. At Christmas many people pray for peace, perhaps we need to get on our horses (or camels) and make it work. Thoughts?