Friday, January 03, 2014

The old lie, dulce et decorum est...

I have no words apart from "A la lanterne!" for this. Apparently Michael Gove has had a go at historians and TV for the "Blackadder myths" about the First World War, saying it was not really that bad. (I won't share the link because it is from the Daily Mail.) No, Gove, the First World War really was that bad. The mud that sucked men down to their deaths, the trench-foot, the lice that made men's clothes move on their own, the endless pounding of the shells, the gas ("if in dreams you too could pace behind the wagon that we flung him in, and watch him guttering, choking drowning"), the death and maiming of comrades, the utter waste of life, the incomprehensible slaughter of thousands in a single day for a tiny piece of land. The horrific carnage of Gallipoli. So do NOT repeat to us the old lie, "Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori". It is neither sweet nor meet, it is death, too early, and in horrific ways that an idiot like Gove probably can't even imagine. 

1 comment:

Steve Hayes said...

All war is horrible, but that one was more horrible than most. The words attributed to Sir Edward Grey were prophetc, and summed it up pretty well, "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time."
He died in 1933, and they still hadn't been lit then.