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On Remembrance Day, don’t forget the lessons of war!

Nov 12, 2019, 12:44 PM

Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who died in the line of duty.  It is a day to honour the war dead and the sacrifices of veterans. But it should also be a time to fulfil our pledge to “never forget.”

And that can best be done by working to ensure that the horrors of war are, as impossible as it seems, erased from the Earth.

Sadly, the world seems to have done very little on that front in the past few years. In 2014, in what must be seen like a betrayal of our war dead and every veteran, the Institute for Economics and Peace reported that the world had been getting incrementally less peaceful every year since 2008.

That, sadly, bucks a global trend against conflict that had been taking place since the end of the Second World War.

And things have not improved since that study. The organisation’s 2019 Global Peace Index found that deaths from conflict are up by 140 per cent since 2008.

The cost of war and conflicts is measured not just in blood, but in a loss of prosperity that dims the hopes of survivors for a better future. The economic cost of violence on the global economy in 2018, the institute says, was a staggering $14.1 trillion.

At the same time, the United Nations refugee agency reported in June that the number of people fleeing violence is the highest recorded since the Second World War.

On this day, of all days then, we owe it to the war dead and veterans to remember the hard-won lessons of war.

To do that we must practice what was learned 75 years ago when American, British and Canadian troops stormed the Normandy beaches in the largest seaborne invasion ever undertaken. It showed what can be accomplished when allies work together, and was a crucial turning point in the Second World War.

Yet the world has not kept its promise to support the multilateral organisations set up after the war to keep the peace

Organisations like the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the International Criminal Court and even the European Union are under attack by a new generation of dictators and authoritarian leaders.

““To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. / At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.” “The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.”.”