View Full Version : A Pacifist's irony

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Guilty Spark
11-19-2006, 05:19 PM
I came across this story on another forum. The thread was removed (Thank you Internet trolls) and I couldn't find the exact article so here are two others. I'll try to find the one I'm talking about.

The missing article I had basically went on to say this Christian peace worker went to Iraq to document all the human rights abuses by the evil invaders. Him and others were naturally kidnapped and held captive. British soldiers, ironically, rescued this guy from his captivity. (One American hostage wasn't as lucky and had been executed sometime earlier).

Despite having his life saved by soldiers Mr Loney (quite publicly)refused to wear a poppy on remembrance day. I'm not sure if Americans do this for Nov 11th but in Canada we wear poppies in Nov to honour of the sacrifices our soldiers and their families have made and to show support for veterans. Loney tried (in vain apparently) to justify his choice not to wear a poppy on remembrance day to a university crowd, giving a speech about his time in captivity.

Talk about irony huh?

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-19-2006, 08:43 PM
I think it is good that we have the ability to discuss such stories without too much personal anger attached from our own positions. I cannot understand his motivations, but obviously he is courageous enough to stand up for himself. I don't wear poppies on remembrance day, though I think of it (especially as the ballet Wizard of Oz I took part in on that weekend had red poppies on the dresses of the little girls, very poignant, and strange, as it was in Japan). The soldiers do their jobs, disgusting as it may be to them (the shock of WW1 to ordinary people is palpable in all the poetry, diaries, and remembrances), and as far as honoring soliders goes, remembrance day is more of a "this should not have happened" event rather than glorifying the fighting men.

Mark Uttech
11-19-2006, 09:24 PM
A pacifist, realistically, is basically a liar. It is as simple as that. It is as hard to be a pacifist as it is to be a really good hypocrite.

In gassho,

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-19-2006, 10:38 PM
Mark, "in gassho", can you expand, since your meaning of pacifist is clearly different from that in any good dictionary. There is also the question of how much "liar" there is in any other proffered ideology.

Mark Freeman
11-20-2006, 09:45 AM
Him and others were naturally kidnapped and held captive.

Why 'naturally' Grant? :confused:

As for wearing the poppy, here in the UK it is done by many but not by all. For many that wear it, it is both a symbol of rememberance for the fallen, and also a reminder of the utter waste of countless human lives brought about by engaging in nation on nation conflict.

Refusing to wear a poppy and making some idealistic point seems a little pointless, but small beer indeed when compared to the pointlessness of the mass slaughter that the poppy is assosiated with.

The brit Kember who was one of the rescued hostages, was not wholely applauded when he returned, many commentators were critical of the fact that they went out there in the first place, putting themselves at risk and therefby risking the lives of the soldiers who rescued them. I happen to agree with them.


p.s. I sometimes wear a poppy, and my Dad stands in the street selling them every year.

Guilty Spark
11-20-2006, 11:39 AM
Hey Mark,

Naturally in that it is common place in Iraq, or very close to. What does one expect?
I also think what they attempted to do very brave, you need strong convictions to go and do something like that. Bravery aside I think it's very poor common sense to put oneself in that situation. You're also putting other peoples lives at risk, ie those soldiers. Not thinking at all.
While I would commend their convictions I think their going about it in a dumb way.

Loney when speaking to students on Nov10th would barely recognize the fact that it was soldiers, someone who he's "opposed his entire life" that saved him. How would he have felt if the soldiers rescuing him we're forced to kill his captors? No doubt he would have found a way to speak out against the soldiers actions.

but small beer indeed when compared to the pointlessness of the mass slaughter that the poppy is associated with.

Right but I think the poppy (beyond showing support for the vets) also carries the message "lest we forget" in a bigger sense. We should never forget the horrors that wars have caused and we should do everything in our power to stop them from happening again.

It's like those support the troops stickers in my opinion. Because you support the soldiers who are over there doesn't mean you support the war. Sporting a poppy doesn't mean one supports war. If anything it's a symbol of wars destruction and great cost.

11-20-2006, 12:50 PM
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Mark Uttech
11-20-2006, 04:56 PM
I guess what I meant about a pacifist being a liar, is the fact that in order for anyone or anything to live, things must die. There's plenty of ideology in there as well; if you refuse to do something, someone else must do it. I have hope that as we all evolve, someday a solution will blossom; and we will be surprised that no one ever thought of it before.

In gassho,

11-20-2006, 05:13 PM
IMHO, (one of an old US grunt), pacifists have the right to voice their opinion (even against those that rescue them and stand watch over their sleep) because some one wasn't one.

Steve Mullen
11-20-2006, 06:30 PM
It's like those support the troops stickers in my opinion. Because you support the soldiers who are over there doesn't mean you support the war. Sporting a poppy doesn't mean one supports war. If anything it's a symbol of wars destruction and great cost.

I fully agree with you here Grant, and i think its a point a lot of people miss. Those guys are over there becuase they were sent there, they may not fully believe in what they are fighting for, but unlike us, who can say i dont believe in the war, they have to fight, or quit and then have it on a perminant record for any prospective employers to see.

The difference between civillians and soldiers is that we have the luxury of being able to say i dont believe in that, or i do believe in that, and have it go no further. The soldiers are told to do something and they have to do it. I dont think it's ironic that hte pacifist was saved by the soldiers, i think its sad and ungratefull that he didnt thank them.

Michael Varin
11-20-2006, 10:20 PM
It's a tricky one, supporting the troops, but not the war. They are so often pawns for some group's political or economic benefit. It would be a lot less tricky if they were used only in defense of their nation and for not overseas adventures.

I pulled the following off of the US Department of Veterans Affairs website:

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation's history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans."

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

The problem I find with all of that is none of these conflicts posed a direct threat to the US. Not to mention that our role in WWI did a lot to precipitate the conditions that led to the subsequent conflicts. Our foreign policy still seems good at doing this.

Although I think everything should be done to avoid war (because it is destructive in so many ways), I'm not a pacifist. There are just wars. Throwing off oppressors or defending yourself from invasion is always just.

The biggest flaw of pacifism is that it limits your responses.

I didn't read the articles linked to the first post, so I don't know what this Loney's story is. It could be that he went to Iraq knowing his risks and accepting full responsibility for what happened to him and he didn't wish to be rescued. Whatever the case I don't think anyone should get too bent out of shape about this guy or his beliefs.


11-21-2006, 04:01 AM

1. Armies serve Governments not Countries

and as been said before

"Theirs not to wonder why. Theirs but to do and die".

11-21-2006, 07:04 AM
"Theirs not to wonder why. Theirs but to do and die".
IMHO, they all at some time wonder "why", but not during the fight. They "do", but not all "die". Some have to "live" with it unremembered and unthanked, all so that people can speak against them, what they did, and what they believed in. And that freedom is "why" they did it and would "do" it again.

11-21-2006, 10:54 AM
Lynn if you want to analyse - take it up with Tennyson

Here's some more for you to think about - it's not the entire poem

"Was there a man dismayed?
Not tho' the soldiers knew
Someone had blundered:
Theirs was not to make reply,
Theirs was not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to the right of them,
Cannon to the left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell,
Rode the six hundred.