Jaw on War

According to the British Library Lavinia Greenlaw is  “one of Britain’s most eminent literary figures.” I as a mere Arsenal supporter  had never heard oif her. So I took their word. And of I went to hear her chair a symposium of writers Steger,Smith, Kehlmann,Mortier, Shamsie and Guo discuss, inspired by Graves immortal Goodbye to All That, the conflict between Life and Art. All part of the centenary of 1914. Unfortunately It was like being at some six form poetry class ,oh they could hardly articulate an original though and when they did it trickled out like tepid water from some desert tap.

Far from coming out with anything of merit about the First World war this bunch of Guardianastas  long listed  novelists and poets revelled and rolled in relative  victimhood. The Chinese had sent  100,000 coolies to the Western Front, why wasn’t I told  moaned  Guo. 500,000 Indians fought for the British Empire,why  oh why  wailed Shamsie. The Slovenian claimed that per capita the Serbs had taken the biggest hit and they were on the losing side. The Belgian  wen t through the litany of what a crazy mixed up place his country is. The German of course went through the guilt of WW2 and how that meant they hadnt  got round to thinking about WW1. How one’s heart sunk.

The audience was nearly as bad. My dad was a D day, my uncle never talked about it, I represent the No More Glory pressure group, surely we must stop all war, on and on went  the vegetarians. I yearned just for a small bit of a Big Mac. I remember Max Hastings  promoting his WW1 book  by saying that if he had been an officer  in WW1 he would have shot deserters. Way to Go Max.

Give me a  bleeding break. Everyone lads from the Highlands and thr  Manchester c slums. Corsica and Industrial Lille joined up   to get away from their tedious  manual work and  outside loos, and maybe  a bit adventure. All wrapped up in patriotism, duty and manhood. The same reason that  the warriors from the Punjab and the Sind flocked to the colours. Even today 30,000 Nepalese  compete for 300 British Army places. Why-guaranteed  work, escape from  subsidence living and 40 per cent unemployment, and the reward of a life time pension.

Nothing has changed. Every day  Muslim  lads from  Cardiff and  Burnley  g o off to Syria  to prove their  manhood, faith  and in search of excitement.

 

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One Response to Jaw on War

  1. Nick Leslie says:

    late reply old boy…one of your best N

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