Reflections on Tony Blair, Iraq, Harry Patch, Racism, the Historic Abuse of British Soldiers and the Unknown yet Magnificent History of Africa
The Chilcot Report was recently released and we have confirmation of what was obvious, namely the chicanery of Tony Blair, ardent Christian, blood-brothers with George Bush, and the initiator of the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses; which, including the ill-fated expedition in Aghanistan, resulted in sending hundreds of British servicemen and women to their deaths, as well as the tens of thousands of injured and scarred soldiers.
The working class once again sacrificed for the misguided machinations of an elite class who deemed the sacrifice worthwhile. In Tony Blair, yet another Private and Boarding School attendee, we have the archetypal example of a skilful man who is so trapped within his RMP Left-brain, so divorced from his empathetic right-brain, that while at an event as Prime Minister in 2006 he sought a photo-op with the last remaining British WWI veteran and war hero, Harry Patch. Why was the decision by Mr. Blair to approach Mr. Patch an absurd one?
Mr. Patch was ‘the last fighting Tommy’, ‘the last surviving combat soldier from any country’; except he was actually more of an anti-hero than a war hero. He called War “calculated slaughter” and said that the dead were “victims of governments”. He said he had no time for “‘thieving politicians’ lies”. Surely, these public statements by a very well known cultural figure in and of themselves should have convinced Mr. Blair, who, under false pretenses, had recently sent troops into Iraq, that seeking a photo with the legendary anti-war-hero was a terrible idea.
It gets better. What makes Mr. Patch extraordinary, in the truest sense of the word, is that during “the war to end all wars” him and five friends made a pact not to kill any “enemy” soldiers. Yes, you read that correctly. Him and his mates all went to the Western Front and did not kill any Germans. These soldiers decided that they would rather be killed, maimed or shot for treason than to harm another human being who, just like them, had been forced to suffer the brutality of war in order to play out the twisted machinations of their arrogant and cold-hearted leadership. Mr. Patch, a man well ahead of his time, was so conscious and empathetic that it was an impossibility for him, a “peacenik”, to kill people who he was told were his mortal enemies; when he knew very well that he had infinitely more in common with the terrified young man in the opposite trench than with his own leadership that had sent him and millions of other British men into a most horrific conflict (700,000 British soldiers perished).
So, when Mr. Blair sidled in to ingratiate himself with Mr. Patch “he was met with Harry’s sharp rebuff. Harry regaled him with the Harry Patch remedy for conflict resolution, namely, that politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder.” This is the man a warmonger approached for acknowledgement; for personal gain.
Humiliated, Mr. Blair slinked away. The question is, how on earth did such a seemingly intelligent man (a la Mr. Cameron) manage to make such a gross miscalculation? Do his actions not contravene even the most rudimentary rules of “common sense”? Shouldn’t he be steering well clear of Mr. Patch? Here again we run into this patterned unconsciousness that governs our culture and our leadership and leads them to betray the people – and themselves. Sadly, the assumed “intelligence” is only one-dimensional.
Speaking of, common sense (CS), this from another of my pieces: “There is much lamentation in our culture regarding the dearth of common sense. Common sense is commonly conflated with logic, hence why our culture regularly jokes that woman’s ‘unpredictability’ makes her susceptible to lapses in CS. Yet, taking a wider view of things, it’s easy to see that in fact it is the world of men, which controls the levers of power in all of our institutions, which consistently acts with a disconcerting and dangerous lack of CS – while hamstrung by the difficulty in seeing past the unfeeling logic, which is only one component of common sense. Actually, sense only becomes ‘common’ when the right-brain gets involved. The absence or dilution of the ‘return’ to the right-brain results in the debilitating excesses that are threatening our very survival as a species.”
This is the insanity of the rational mind that can create convincing justification for anything from thin air. The issue is that Mr. Blair didn’t and doesn’t feel what he has done. He has so little access to his right-brain, where the instinct resides, that somehow it makes sense to him to seek a photo-op with his human antithesis. This is the level of incongruence, the level of cluelessness, that resulted in the killing and maiming of tens of thousands of British soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
The assumption on the part of some citizens is that corporate and government figures like Mr. Blair do what they do on purpose; that they are fully aware of their actions – as well as the consequences for themselves and others; as if they are like the odious Mr. Burns character from The Simpsons, gleefully rubbing his hands together at the prospect of screwing the people over.
The reality is that Mr. Blair, like most Western leaders, was simply on automatic pilot, trapped within the rigid confines of his left-brain; divorced from the empathy and common sense that is required to make good and moral decisions, personally and professionally. Despite taking some artistic license with the intelligence, he determined, and/or was led to believe, that however illegal and unjustified the invasion of Iraq was, it was preferable to any alternatives.
Undeterred by the damning Chilcott Report, Mr. Blair is still in fine RMP form. Though the emperor has no clothes, or more accurately has had the clothes ripped off him, this time, astoundingly by the authorities, he maintains his position that invasion was the correct course of action, regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Can it be anything other than abject denial when today Mr. Blair says, “I can regret the mistakes and many things about it, but I genuinely believe that we acted out of good motives … I sincerely believe we would be in a worse position if we hadn’t acted in that way.”
Surely, it’s the realm of the fantastic to suggest things could be any worse in Iraq and the Middle East. So why does such an intelligent man continue with this charade? Because as crazy as it sounds he believes it. He has created his own logic which enables him to protect himself from the agonizing truth that he has a direct hand in setting off a chain of events that has caused untold and ever-continuing death and suffering. Steadfastness to the last. The Chilcott Report begs to differ with Mr. Blair, as do the millions of British people who knew back in 2003 that going to war would be disastrous for Britain and the world. Not even the stark clarity of hindsight is enough to elicit an iota of self-reflection or remorse, at least for public consumption. In our RMP culture, and especially for our leadership, it’s all or nothing; usually nothing.
Privilege means rarely having to take responsibility for your actions or to receive any meaningful punishment. So, despite the authorities finding Mr. Blair convincingly culpable, the cherry on top is this headline which perfectly encapsulates why more and more people are fed up: “Outrage as war crimes prosecutors say Tony Blair will not be investigated over Chilcot’s Iraq war report – but British soldiers could be.” What else but travesty can be expected? If there is anything surprising it’s that anyone is surprised. The people, especially soldiers, always take it on the chin for the misadventures of their leaders. The architect not only gets off scot-free but the stratospheric insult to injury has Mr. Blair not only coming to the defense of the very soldiers he has wantonly put into impossible situations, with ruinous consequences, but actually considering saving Britain by once again gallantly taking the reins. We might forgive some soldiers who question Mr. Blair’s sincerity.
What must it be like to be an avowed and ardent Christian, a follower of the Prince of Peace, and yet have behaved in a fashion that runs so counter to what Jesus stood for? Actually, Harry Patch was Mr. Blair’s real life quasi-Christ figure. He unwittingly went to Mr. Patch for forgiveness and absolution only to be rebuffed. Only maybe Jesus himself could be forgiving towards Mr. Blair. In his absence, we are all charged with seeking out our own compassion for a man who has to live out the rest of his days with his naked shame forever spotlighted for the world to see, even if he can’t see it himself. What of Mr. Blair’s children? What of the trauma and betrayal he has passed down to them? Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Another element of Mr. Patch’s disdain surely concerns the shocking lack of support for our veterans. If all of their unnecessary suffering wasn’t insult enough, we see that these poor souls are not being taken care of, especially in the long term (in Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia).
Still, it’s not really shocking is it? It makes perfect sense. It should be a crime to not take care of those who have sacrificed so much. There is a reason they say “War is Hell”. That’s not just some platitude. But when the leadership doesn’t really feel the magnitude of sending young, lower class, men and women to war, then they cannot emotionally understand the nature of that sacrifice; what killing other humans does to a person, regardless of the alleged justification, let alone the debilitating physical and mental wounds that are left behind.
Consequently, the returning soldiers are betrayed. It’s not personal. It’s not on purpose. If decision-makers actually allowed themselves to feel the agony of so many veterans, war would truly only become a last resort. It is the hyper-rational mind that produces the dissociation required to make these horrendous decisions; dissociation learned within the culture and the educational system – in a highly focused way in Boarding School and the top Universities.
I feel for Mr. Blair. He is a Shakespearian Tragic Figure (we haven’t even touched on how he might be connected to the suspicious death of Dr. David Kelly). As with many of us, he is a slave to the Rational Man Project. Like many in our culture, he lost himself as a boy but jumped through all the right hoops in order to survive and thrive. Success made him believe that he was playing the fiddle masterfully, without realizing that, in fact, he was, and still is, the fiddle and the RMP has been playing him like a Stradivarius. Like many leaders that came before him and after him Mr. Blair became a marvelous, emotionally-enfeebled technocrat. David Cameron fittingly called himself “the heir to Blair” when he became Prime Minister. The results of his tenure, including his mangling of the Brexit vote and his disgraceful Libya follies, confirm the redundancy of Mr. Cameron’s statement since it scarcely matters who holds the reins of power and which party they represent.
RMP failings are extremely visible in the hands of our leadership. It’s easy to sit back and scrutinize our leaders for their shortcomings, but if that’s all we’re doing we’re missing the boat. Granted, it’s difficult to admit that they are an accurate representation of us within the political sphere. We don’t want to see that, or can’t see it, in the same ways that we create revisionist history – and denial – in our own lives in order to avoid pain; to avoid looking at the past; to avoid looking within and taking responsibility for how we are living and what we are putting out into the world.
How many of us regularly take the opportunity to unleash our incredulity or anger on a random person, even over a harmless infraction? As pedestrians, cyclists and drivers we are ready to wag an accusatory finger at one another over some apparent advantage taken, or a moment of unawareness, that might have delayed us from reaching our destination by thirty seconds? No worries. We’re on it. We’re on high alert at all times for these situations where, based on one moment, we can identify a person or a group of people as being lesser than us. Less intelligent. Less aware. Less considerate. And while we are fiercely condemning them for their act, we instantly take in their appearance, their race, their gender, their age, their sexual orientation, their fitness level and come up with a personality profile that is born of ego, fear, judgment and bias; that conjures vulnerability in the other; to make us feel better; superior; to give us the justification we need to avoid recognizing our role in creating that very experience; to show us our state of consciousness.
Meanwhile, on some other occasion we’ve likely made the exact same unforgivable mistake as the moron who is currently invoking our wrath. But it was probably okay when we messed up. Oopsy. Whatever. We wonder why the accuser is getting so bent out of shape. “No big deal. Take it easy. Oh really? Well fuck you too…”, as we size them up and concoct a violent insult cocktail to deflect and protect from the over-the-top reaction that is being hurled our way. “Served them right for getting carried away.”
Empathy on life-support. This is RMP left-brain gymnastics at its finest and most ubiquitous. Many of us are masters at it. Ready to defend. The need to feel a semblance of control over something… anything that’s easier to latch on to than the confusion that reigns when we have limited access to our right-brains. We are perpetrator and victim all rolled into one, based on a recipe consisting of systemic, collective and personal betrayal and trauma; masculine and feminine, dissonant.
Our leaders? They are like you and me though the higher they go, and the deeper their childhood RMP training, the greater the RMP commitment. How else will they be able to justify taking advantage of people or having a hand in condemning soldiers and innocent civilians to experience hell on earth? I don’t envy our “privileged” leaders who are playing this role for us in our dysfunctional culture. It’s a heavy burden to bear when acting with a limited emotional toolbox. It lends itself to potentially deadly and immature tit-for-tat responses that encourage the worst in us, the endgame victory instead of cooperation, the greater good always sacrificed at the altar of perceived right and wrong.
What do we expect from our Leaders when so many of us can barely behave like adults in our little lives? Projecting our frustrations on to others; left-brain justification on over-drive; self-reflection and empathy an afterthought. There is a straight line between this low-level type of buck-passing and the mass-scale obfuscation and violence practiced by our leaders, in government and corporations.
The RMP culture creates an infinite stew of divisions among the people, personally and globally. Historically, but especially currently, race, which is an anachronistic concept, is unfortunately at the forefront.
Much has been made of the racist component of the Brexit vote and the notable uptick in racism towards immigrants since the vote. As is politicians’ wont, Mr. Farage has always sought to use whatever leverage, in this case race, in his efforts to exert his and his backers’ influence. Understandably, the majority of the country looks down upon xenophobic Brits as an embarrassment. They are rejected as being lesser than; less intelligent and progressive; dangerous anomalies.
The Age of Reason has glossed over what until very recently used to be naked racism. Let us recall that while America is always taken to task for slavery, it began with the arrival of the first slaves in 1619. American Independence occurred in 1776. It was under British rule that slavery began, expanded and thrived. It was under British rule that treaties with the Canadian First Nations were made and broken, and where children were forcibly removed from their parents, placed in Residential Schools, forbidden to speak their language and abused and murdered. The rational British mind did not understand or respect the traditions and ways of the heathens of the world. Whether they wanted it or not, the savages were not in a position to know better; they would be introduced to a superior mode of living and thinking, with a side dish of Christianity.
Africa: endlessly fascinating and historically devastated. In researching for this article I came upon information about Africa that twisted my head. How is it that I am relatively well-read, have attended university and have interest in the genuine history of humanity, and yet had NO IDEA about this information. The material in this link should be required reading for every single person in the world, especially those from the former colonial powers. There is nothing more shocking and revealing in my piece than understanding the history of Africa. If you only click on one link in this piece, let it be this one. The centuries of revisionist African history, as written by the victorious colonial powers, has allowed untold misery to be visited upon the very place where humanity originated from.
Except for Egypt, Africa has always been presented to us as having been a primitive, uncivilized and savage place. Because of centuries of this belief in the lesser-than nature of Africans it’s incredibly confusing and shameful when non-Africans are told by science and anthropology that humanity has its origins in Africa; that we are all actually Africans that gradually spread all around the world. There’s an awkward and bizarre incongruence when we look at African history of the last hundred years. It’s a catastrophe. How can we come from these people? If the history of Africa that has been presented were accurate then this question might have some legitimacy – especially from a limited left-brain perspective in which everything develops from a linear equation.
So what happens when we find out that Africa was actually always at the cutting edge of human knowledge, architecture, art and technology – that is until the 1800s when the colonial powers, including Britain, destroyed the African legacy. If only this were exaggeration then the reality, and the consequences, would not be so mortifying.
Please click on the link above to read about many examples of various advanced African empires, cities and cultures since medieval times. While Europe was suffering from plagues, famines and relentless religious and ethnic conflict during the Middle Ages, Africa was flourishing. With China and The Middle East, it was a world centre for cutting edge human existence.
It’s challenging to provide just a couple of examples of not only historical African excellence, but in some cases, superiority. The irony is so fantastic as to leave me speechless.
Some examples of actual African history:
(1) The 13th Century city of Benin (now in Nigeria) “was built to ‘a scale comparable with the Great Wall of China'”. There was a vast system of defensive walling totaling 10,000 miles in all. The 1974 edition of the Guinness Book of Records described the city as: ‘The largest earthworks in the world carried out prior to the mechanical era.’ Another European visitor wrote, “They took an estimated 150 million hours of digging to construct, and are perhaps the largest single archaeological phenomenon on the planet.” Another European visitor said, “These people are in no way inferior to the Dutch as regards cleanliness; they wash and scrub their houses so well that they are polished and shining like a looking glass.” Benin artwork and sculpture was, and is, regarded as comparable in quality and creativity to any produced in Europe. So, what happened to the kingdom of Benin that had been flourishing for centuries? British Industry wanted control of their palm oil, rubber and ivory resources. Benin refused to become a colony so the British wiped out their entire kingdom. In 1897, led by Admiral Harry Rawson (who attended Boarding School at Eastman’s Royal Naval Academy), Benin was invaded, looted and razed to the ground.
(2) The City of Timbuktu – In modern culture, Timbuktu has been utilized in humour and jokes. After all, it’s a funny sounding word, right? How many people know that the city of Timbuktu was the capital of one of the great empires of human history, that it has been called the Paris of the medieval world? In the 14th Century, it was ruled by Mansa Musa. Heard of him? Probably not. Some facts about Mansa Musa and Timbuktu: (a) The richest empire in the world at the time, when Mansa Musa “went on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324, he carried so much gold, and spent them so lavishly that the price of gold fell for ten years. 60,000 people accompanied him.” (b) He founded the legendary Timbuktu Library. Despite French Colonial treachery between 1894 and 1956, whereby thousands of manuscripts were looted or burned, it is estimated that some 700,000 ancient books still survive, largely within private collections. “The most profitable trade items in Timbuktu were books. Buying them was considered a socially acceptable way of displaying wealth and a great source of prestige”. Trading in books? Doesn’t sound very savage does it? According to Michael Palin, in his series, Sahara, The Imam of Timbuktu “has a collection of scientific texts that clearly show the planets circling the sun. They date back hundreds of years… It’s convincing evidence that the scholars of Timbuktu knew a lot more than their counterparts in Europe. In the fifteenth century in Timbuktu the mathematicians knew about the rotation of the planets, knew about the details of the eclipse, they knew things which we had to wait for 150 almost 200 years to know in Europe when Galileo and Copernicus came up with these same calculations and were given a very hard time for it.” Again, how does this square with the notion that Africans are lesser-than?
There are many more examples of African excellence, from all areas of the continent, in the link provided. The startling truth of the history of Africa shatters the myths that have been peddled by the colonial powers that it was a backward place that was in need of their superior knowledge and rule. As is often the case, the truth is the direct opposite, but in the days of colonial conquest, highly inconvenient. Because the only way for the colonial powers, who have pillaged Africa for its incredible wealth of gold, diamonds and resources (and continue to do so), to justify their horrors was to paint the African as being savage – so primitive that even their mass murder and destruction of their cultures was justified.
Does this mean that the wide range of Africans were all exemplary humans before colonisation? Obviously not, but whatever activities they may have participated in were certainly no more brutal than anything engaged in by Europeans. In fact, as we’ll see in Part 7, African transgressions paled in comparison to those of Europeans.
The British (French, Dutch, Belgian, Spanish and Portuguese) people have never been presented with the well-documented evidence of their genocides in Africa (and elsewhere). For the Germans, The Jewish Holocaust happened in the middle of Europe; there was no hiding it. Of course, as the victor earns the right to record the “official” history, if the Germans had won the war, the Holocaust would certainly not have the place it has in the world today. It would have been glossed over, as has been done in Africa.
Many wonder how so many regular Germans didn’t know about what was being done in their names. After all, it took many thousands of German soldiers to run all the concentration camps. How did these soldiers’ families not know? As we have already heard, very few of us discuss massive trauma. Why? Regardless of the type of trauma, revealing it entails divulging the shame associated with it – whether one was the perpetrator or the victim. Germans had for a decade been on the receiving end of propaganda that painted Jews and Slavs and Gypsies as less than humans; as rats. Of course, it’s one thing to start to believe that, it’s quite another to be one of thousands of German soldiers who participated in the mass extermination of human beings.
The reason why the Holocaust was even possible was that Germany as a nation was so traumatized and humiliated because: (1) firstly they had been pushed by their leadership into an absolutely unnecessary war (WWI) with an unprecedented loss of life and destruction of property; (2) the aftermath of WWI, where the Treaty of Versailles saddled them with decades long and debilitating reparations and economic catastrophe; and (3) the coup de grace which was the global Great Depression. Millions of Germans were living in desperation. They were vulnerable to manipulation. Enter: Hitler, who appealed to the former glory of the Germanic people and lay the sole blame for the country’s ills at the feet of the outside world – and the Jews (self-reflection be damned).
Despite how deep the indoctrination went, it makes sense that the unconscious shame Germans must have felt was not something most of them would allow to come to the surface – for them to actually feel it and share it with their friends and family back home. If they allowed themselves to feel what they were doing it would be impossible to continue. This is the hyper-compartmentalization that is possible when we succumb to the twisted logic of the left-brain. It allows us, any of us, to abandon our humanity. That is why it is incumbent on us to take care of ourselves and each other – so that extreme circumstances are not allowed to arise whereby the unthinkable can occur.
The defeated Germans were shamed before the world for their atrocities (by the other Great Powers who have absolutely no business taking any country to task for their misdeeds). The vast majority of Germans know the real history of what their recent ancestors wrought. Though one can argue about the sincerity and depth of German repentance, there has been extensive discussion of the subject in Germany and the world, and many Germans feel profound remorse. Germans, rightly so, are not permitted to forget what they did; and there is a visible monument in the form of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, though some suggest it is not explicit enough in outlining the wrong-doing.
Now, let us discuss the various African and Colonial Holocaust Memorials in London, Paris, Brussels, Rome, Lisbon and Amsterdam… Any large memorials in the UK, US, Canada and Australia to show the colonial brutality committed against the Indigenous Peoples; against Africans?
Needless to say, the white-washing by the Great Powers of their many global atrocities (more on the specifics later in the piece) was much easier when their victims were half a world away – and during the 1800s and early 1900s when access to information was infinitely less available.
Some present day Europeans are aghast at what is transpiring on their continent, beset as they are by the threatening, dark-skinned hordes. If they knew the history, they would cease to wonder why, and take the difficult steps required to address the horrors that their recent ancestors inflicted on the world. They would readily recognize that we are witnessing the long-term consequences of inhumane actions. For example, how many Belgians – or any us for that matter – know that a little over 100 years ago their forces murdered an estimated 10 million Congolese over a 23 year period ending in 1908 – half of the entire population. 10 million. 10 million. Pause and think about how deeply we are affected in the present day when terrorism claims 50 or 100 lives in a major European city. While these attacks are undoubtedly devastating, how can we even fathom 10 million people, including millions of women and children, massacred? Furthermore, the Belgians instigated a system of punishment whereby many thousands of Congolese who resisted or who did not manage to meet their rubber quotas had their hands and feet chopped off as a deterrent.
Mass Rape was also a staple of the Belgian way. Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness is based on these Belgian atrocities, except the reality of the situation was far more heinous than in Conrad’s shocking novel. This is what the traumatized hyper-masculine mind is capable of.
“He [King Leopold II] used great sums of the money from this exploitation for public and private construction projects in Belgium during this period. He donated the private buildings to the state before his death.”
In the West, we relentlessly attempt to lessen and relegate our nations’ misdeeds to the distant past. Meanwhile, the Belgian people today unconsciously benefit from and utilize buildings that were built upon the mountain of mutilated and massacred Congolese – without an iota of admission or remorse. And while this mind-numbing level of brutality under King Leopold II came to an end in 1908, Belgian colonial rule, which continued to subjugate and abuse the population, persisted until the Democratic Republic of Congo gained independence in 1960. The Belgians also controlled next door Rwanda. So many in the west decry the violence that they have seen from Congo and Rwanda in the last 30 years. Only the compartmentalized Western mind is unable to recognize the barbaric levels of trauma that these poor Africans endured for decades under white rule. Instead, in warped irony we dub them savages – for perpetuating the policies and actions they learned from their colonial masters. How could it be otherwise from RMP societies that live in perpetual denial and avoidance?
In almost every case, British and colonial powers first established friendly and trade relationships with the “natives”. But as time went on and the visitors learned the lay of the land, they eventually did what they knew best. They betrayed their new friends. It was not personal. It was just the way of the world. If the savage was too naïve and unsophisticated to comprehend the rules of the game, they did not deserve what they had. It would be taken from them and if they resisted, as any people would do, they would be made to suffer.
Why were the British the most successful of all the Great Powers? How did they build the grandest empire the world had ever seen? Because their colonial leaders received the very best RMP training available from the time they were young boys – Boarding School. Their indoctrination happened early and it was comprehensive, which allowed them to be least effected by potentially irksome influences such as conscience, morals, ethics, feelings, etc.
“… the role of such schools was clear: they broke boys’ attachment to their families and re-attached them to the institutions – the colonial service, the government, the armed forces – through which the British ruling class projected its power. Every year they released into the world a cadre of kamikazes, young men fanatically devoted to their caste and culture…”
What is the legacy of such an approach? The three greatest areas of conflict in the world in the last thirty years have been Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine – all former British Colonies. Syria “belonged” to the French. And Nigeria, the location of the former Empire of Benin, is in freefall.
The abject shame of those returning British soldiers from Africa ended up being an energetic match for the betrayal and the shame that was, and is, inherent in the culture. Hence, moving right along. Nothing to see here. Meanwhile, the returning soldiers of past and present, without an outlet to address their trauma, slip back into normal life. They become husbands and fathers; their confusion and rage leaking out into every aspect of their lives; seamlessly absorbed into society as a whole.
As with the German soldiers, what of the thousands upon thousands of British soldiers who, over a 250 year period, returned home having participated in the brutal subjugation, exploitation and murder of countless humans? This is the reality, and most Brits have no idea. No idea of many generations of young, working class British men who were obliged by elite British men to carry out heinous acts in the name of Empire. War and genocide was, and still remains, an exercise in political and economic control; though the foot-soldiers are always led to believe that there are more noble reasons behind the madness.
Then these poor soldiers returned home and re-integrated back into society. Unlike the German soldiers in WWII, their ethics and morals were not questioned; victors rarely ever are. On the contrary, they would have been praised for serving their country, the Empire. And yet, it is practically inconceivable the immense trauma they would have experienced in destroying, maiming and murdering. On an infinitely smaller scale we can see the effects of recent, and unjust, wars on our returning soldiers. Beyond the thousands of injured, there is rampant PTSD. A major component of that PTSD is the inhumanity these poor soldiers are forced to confront in themselves – the self-betrayal – in order to carry out the machinations of their leadership – against people who are only doing exactly what the British would do, and have done, if they were attacked on their own soil: defend themselves. The shame is unbearable for some, including those who commit suicide.
Veterans in Britain, America, Canada and Australia are all in the same boat. The care for returning soldiers is, and has always been, woefully inadequate. The reason for this is obvious. How can the unconscious RMP leadership that betrays their young men by sending them into morally confusing and repugnant circumstances then take proper care of them when they return? Consequently, they are abandoned and left to their own devices; dealing with rampant depression and suicide; their families left to pick up the shattered pieces.
At every turn, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) seeks to minimize the issues, nonsensical double-speak always the order of the day. In one breath, the MoD says that there is a downward trend in soldier suicides, while in the next it “blames administrative difficulties in keeping tabs on hundreds of thousands of ex-military personnel spread across the globe” Actually, the MoD “doesn’t track what happens to veterans, no one knows how many are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or have taken their own lives.” This glaring contradiction is allowed to persist. Why? Because the entire society is beset with normalized contradiction in which most people can readily see the incongruity, but are not moved to act – because to be moved would be to feel. Instead, the family and friends of these poor returning souls are often hopelessly left to standby as their irretrievably ravaged loved ones try to reconcile the insanity of what they have experienced. If it were even possible, how could they share the crushing shame they live with? How can they admit that following orders entailed them betraying their own souls? ‘What will Mum and Dad think of me?’ Invariably they will undertake this bleak journey alone. For some it is much too much, let alone for the thousands who will walk through the rest of their lives as damaged goods.
One mother of a Soldier who was diagnosed with PTSD and hanged himself one year after being discharged says, “I rang his platoon after he died as I was angry. I spoke to a desk sergeant. All he said was he was no longer their responsibility.” What of the poor Desk Sergeant who is burdened with representing a system that abandons his brothers-in-arms?
In addition, the vast majority of the discussion by the authorities and families of the thousands of troubled soldiers, especially the ones who take their own lives, is how they were damaged primarily because of witnessing the killing and maiming of their fellow soldiers, their friends. No doubt this is true, but isn’t there something missing? How about the effect on the soldiers from witnessing, and sometimes perpetrating, the suffering of the people in those countries they are occupying? It’s almost never mentioned by anyone. Can you feel the incongruence? Can you feel the historical racism that values the life of the Brit over the foreign unmentionables? Might our poor soldiers not be even more adversely affected by the anguish and killing of locals, especially children? We don’t know. We don’t ask that question. That question is not within the realm of acceptable inquiry. The answer to that question introduces far too many extra variables into the equation than is possible for RMP systems to compute. It is not even attempted. This bypass is not on purpose. It is endemic to the system. It is not being consciously ignored. It is unseen. Once in a while, under duress, the blinders involuntarily fly open, only to be glued back shut as quickly as possible, lest we dip in to that shameful place. This is collective moral and soul self-preservation. This is survival.
For the British, unjust war and mass murder has for centuries merely been the furthest, logical extension of the unconsciousness fomented in a Boarding School-influenced leadership and culture. Naturally, leadership that perpetually betrays and takes advantage of its own complicit people will readily do the same to those far away people that are racially and culturally different. Who in the culture are tasked with carrying out the eternally noble RMP actions in distant lands? Who in our culture will pay the highest price for our distorted ways of being? Who will represent those most unconscious and violent aspects of us? Who will be the sacrificial lambs sent to the front lines, forced to deal with what can only be imagined as the insanity of it all? Our Soldiers: the very same working class folk whom the leadership has, by default, already betrayed; the very same people who have been abandoned and disenfranchised; those deemed to have less to lose; those whose lives are undoubtedly valued less. We are not equipped to comprehend quite what that means. If we did; if we could feel what the consequences are for our Soldiers, the “enemy” and our society as a whole, we would stop the killing. Granted, from a deeply embedded RMP perspective, this can only sound like a naïve fantasy.
Bard Azima is a Writer, Photographer, Filmmaker, Empathy Miner and Boarding School Survivor.
You can read more of his work at: www.empathyrising.com.
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Here are the other sections of this article:
Brexit: An Invitation to Dig Deeper – Part 3 – Reflections on David Cameron and Boris Johnson: Boarding School, Systemic Betrayal and the Subjugation of the Feminine as Outgrowths of The Age of Reason
Brexit: An Invitation to Dig Deeper – Part 7 – Reflections on Donald Trump, Ridicule as a National Pastime, The Sheer Scale of Humanity’s Endless Trauma, The Continuation of Global British Influence and the Troubling Legacy of Winston Churchill