11 November at 11 am
The history of the day.
After I read this post last night, I got to thinking about our veterans.
Men drafted to go to war just after they finished school. Every man. As long as they were white were, by law, required to do their duty to their country. There were those that did not go for whatever reason, some just deserted, but most went.
And I think, all of them came back with some kind of knock.
And that’s the legacy they deal with every day.
Of course, they were fighting against the people we currently call “The Government”. They were fighting people that posed a threat to the country as a whole. At least, that’s what was told them. I have no reason to disbelieve the government of the time, since the lot we have in power now is indeed a major threat to society. And they use any means necessary to make life as unbearable as possible against those they see as “The Enemy”. Only problem is, they are harming everybody by their actions. It seems that the war those young men fought was for naught – the enemy is in our midst, using politics and economics as their weapon of choice.
I was never in the army. I never had brothers and fathers that had to do any kind of civic duty to the government of the day, so I have no real experience. When I met my ex, he was still in the army, but by that time, most of the actual warring was over and done with.
What I can speak of is the aftermath.
Men who place no emotional value on anything. Men who tend to use people as a means to an end, and not as a continuance of their lives. Men who compartmentalise their lives in such a way that a part of themselves are always kept off-limits. always hidden from the world. Men who can’t commit to anything real – they know how quickly that can be taken away.
While Veterans day seems to be mainly an American custom, and as such not celebrated here, I don’t suppose any of our veterans will get any kind of recognition for their sacrifice.
And in South Africa, doubly so. If you are white, and fought in any kind of war, you are treated as a second class human being. The fact that you got screwed up by the war, that you have to deal with that legacy for the rest of your life means less than nothing to the rubbish we currently have in government. They still see you as the enemy. They relegate you to the edges of society because you fought against them in a time when they were the enemy.
Now, we have a stupid Freedom memorial, right next to the Voortrekker Monument, (audacious, not so?) and the freedom memorial celebrates the Cadre. The many men who killed women and children, who planted car bombs, landmines on back roads taking kids to school, are being revered by the current government. Streets are being named for them – not necessarily a bad thing – every time I drive over them, I, well, drive over them. But that’s just me.
We have many people in this country that fought in wars. We have people that fought in the World wars. We have people that fought in the Boer war against the infernal British, trying to take us over. Just imagine! The might of the British Empire brought to heel by a few farmers wearing guns, armed with minimal weapons, and a great knowledge of the land. Eventually, the only way the British could overpower them was to kill their women and children. And they killed them horribly. It’s called The Scorched Earth policy.And that’s how the ANC fought as well. And the way they still fight. Damage those that can’t look after themselves, can’t defend themselves, and the ones that can, can be brought to heel. They could not overpower the Army, so they overpowered the army’s children.
And I have to revere these people? I have to keep memory of them? The war they fought was not clean. It was dirty, not by the rules. It’s still not by the rules, although they disguise it as such. And we can’t do anything to stop it from happening.
Now. Put yourself in that white young man’s shoes. To see the people you fought against, the hardships you faced, all being made off as nothing because the same dickheads you fought against is now your leaders. How do you think you would feel? Do you not also deserve some kind of recognition for your sacrifice? Why should you be negated just because you fought on the side that’s now lost? And believe me, we are indeed lost.
Lost in the wilderness of broad based black economic empowerment. Lost in the depths of a mire that you can’t escape. Lost in the memories of a time when everything worked, albeit not quite as openly as it now is.
We can never go back to where we were. We can only change the future. And even that looks shaky.
Therefore, even if we don’t really observe Veteran’s day, I would like to take this chance to say thank you to the men who gave up their lives and sanity to protect me. To give me a chance to have a happy and free childhood. To give me time to become a person. To give me enough memories to fall back on so the current bad situation is not all I can think about.
Since, even with sanctions against South Africa by the world at large, we managed. We worked. We were educated. We were the best.
Now. Yes well, now we are mediocre at best, beset with stupid politics and strikes and burning – general chaos. Which would seem the way Africa operates best in.
As a last thought.
What is in the past was wrong to a degree. What’s currently happening is not quite right either. But 2 sides fought on opposing sides for many years. And one side does not deserve more reverence than the other.
I will, however, revere the side that fought for me. The other side can revere their own soldiers.
Hope today is a good day for all.