April 27th 1916 is not an historical day; nothing much happened that would merit an entry in the history books. So unless you are related to one of the casualties of the day, it doesn’t mean a thing for historians or, for that matter, editorialists. War stories being obligatory for November when the weather gets chillier by the day, not April when it is the opposite.
Yet, in some trenches in Europe, kids from our region were trying to keep their sanity. This, in a time when no real man could lose his sanity because, if he did, he would face the execution platoon as a deserter. Yet, nobody can remain sane when you don’t know when the next round of mustard gas or phosgene is going to fall on you. Worst when you know it is falling on you. None are alive today to remember the horror. As wars go, this was the ugliest up to then. Then came WWII, ugliest too. Since then, we have learned to manage the carnage. No more casualties. Well, we should rephrase, just the right amount of casualties. Not to achieve the combat requirement, but just enough to scare the folks back home. This goes not only for our men and women, but also for the enemies. Collateral is a dirty word.
So humanity has taken a huge step from one hundred years ago. From the uncleanliness of the trenches of WWI, unions, the NDP and Québec Solidaire would rise to the front to protest the working conditions of our noble soldiers if it happened today, to the Lysol® War.
With some obviously either understanding the rules too much or not at all as this week’s beheading of John Ridsdel attests. Death is something that all can look forward to; you can dream of winning the lottery, you cannot dream of escaping death. So these ignorant, backwater terrorists are not even using a drone to behead the man! Shame on them.
Sorry for the wake-up call, but if he had been put to sleep with an injection under medical supervision would that bring him back to life? Beheading achieves the same result, but with much better media coverage. We don’t doubt that Abu Sayyaf are not nice people. As we have no doubt that the British were right in denouncing the American terrorists who wanted to separate, or the Irish in 1916. Today would have been the fifth day of Bloody Easter by the way.
What we know is that the group was financed (do we honestly have to tell you? Have you guessed?) yes, by the Saudis! Enough said!
In fact, it is as if World War One was unable to stop. Daesh is simply trying to remake the Ottoman Empire, which was destroyed during that war. And who backed them financially first?
But for the poor (they always die first in war) young man in a trench, one hundred years ago, the only future he had in mind was getting back home alive. If we had told him then that two more years of hell were ahead of him if he made it, he would have shattered in front of us.
And if we tell ourselves that this madness will end soon, then we are insane.