"Do You Ever Stop And Ask -- Is it All Going to Happen Again?" 100th Anniversary of the Somme Battle

One hundred years ago today tens of thousands went 'over the top' along the Somme frontline. 54,000 men became casualties and 19,000 were dead by the end of July 1, 1916.

All wars are bankers wars, and there is no 'good' war.


The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.
— https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2009/jun/08/poem-of-the-week-wilfred-owen
Have you forgotten yet?...

For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,

Like traffic checked a while at the crossing of city ways:

And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow

Like clouds in the lit heavens of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,

Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare. But the past is just the same—and War’s a bloody game... Have you forgotten yet?...

Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz— The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?

Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench—
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?

Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack— And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then

As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?

Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back

With dying eyes and lolling heads—those ashen-gray

Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?...

Look up, and swear by the slain of the war that you’ll never forget!
— http://www.pbs.org/greatwar/chapters/ch4_voices2.html
Harry Patch, the longest surviving British soldier from the First World War, died aged 111, in 2009. A few years before he died, he gave this interview on the pointless mass murder of WW1. Music: Adagio for Strings. Played by New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.