More than 5,000 Victorians attended American ex-president, Bill Clinton's book fair yesterday, if the Times-Colonist newspaper is to be believed. The gathered scions of the city heard the unindicted war criminal, and butt of countless lewd water-cooler comments praise Canada its rapine entanglement in Afghanistan, but urge we also further our [sic] efforts, and send more young men and women soldiers to that benighted nation to kill and die, and terrorize the too stupid to govern themselves in "our" interest locals.
"I know it is painful for you when you lose your soldiers there, but you are doing a good thing." - Praise for Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan from former Caesar, William Jefferson "Slick Willie" Clinton
Sadly, I couldn't afford to take the day off work, and fork out the couple hundred bucks required to witness Bill delivering his pearls before the rubes at the Save-On-Foods cultural mecca, but I was blessed with the traffic snarl that followed; a mass exodus of Lexus' and Benz's, and troops of Sunday best-dressed aspirants over-flowing sidewalks and "don't walk" blinking intersections. So these, thought I, are the 28% of the populace willing to send the children of anonymous fellow citizens to their spiritual, and in at least 44 cases, physical doom in foreign adventures. They too must be among the estimated 71,763 Victorians still subscribing to the city's only daily, CanWest organ the Times-Colonist.
Happily, the lobby of my building contained several extraneous copies of the T-C today, left-over trees, shorn from our [sic] forests, pulped, bleached, and printed with poison ink that we may be informed; lest we forget the price our [sic] society's continuance demands: Today's bulletin says that cost is endless slaughter and sacrifice. Be proud of holocausts past and, reminds the rag, be proud to send your sons and daughters into the fires of war burning now in Afghanistan, and the elsewheres the Imperium and its spokespersons like the scandal and blood-tainted Bill Clinton dictate.
Blood red poppies adorned their lapels in the front page picture of the War Paper today; two old men, grey-haired and blue-suited standing, buttoning their jackets in unison following a job well done. One can imagine the applause emitting the rich citizenry echoes in their ears, as the pair congratulate each other. Bill and fellow traveller, premier Gordon Campbell, the backwater politico currently steering British Columbia into the corporate fold, twins though ostensibly from opposite sides of the political and continental divide, clasp hands, smile for the cameras, and wave to the fools desperate to receive marching orders, promises they hope to carry them and theirs through a chaotic time; desperate enough to shell out hundreds of dollars for the privilege of hearing a killer preach peace and plea the carnage continue.
Lest we forget, it was this same Clinton ordering the destruction of Serbia, a phoney war necessary he said to remove the "new Hitler" Milosevic, that dead-in-custody "dictator" and World Bank denier; the same Clinton who signed into law the predecessor to the onerous Patriot Act, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996; the same Clinton who, as governor of Arkansas allowed the prisons there become blood "milking" stations, the tainted products of which were then exported to Canada and around the world, infecting and killing untold millions; the same Clinton who now calls, between protestations for peace and the brotherhood of man, for not less but more war in Afghanistan and Iraq; the same Clinton who admitted issuing assasination orders against his enemies; the same Clinton whose wife, Hillary now presides as one of the newly made majority Democrat senators in Washington too calling Afghanistan the "good war." And for this, the doyens of Victoria and their saddled husbands stand and cheer.
The moment of silence is past on this day of remembrance. For those not taught the meaning intended by that sombre clock marker; the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is a moment meant as a silent yet determined resistance to war. Lest we forget war's horrors and repeat the folly that all but destroyed a generation, we will make war no more.
The youngsters in the crowd can be forgiven if that sentiment is news to them; they are excused if they believed this day is meant to glorify and not condemn war and the men that make it; they are innocent if they believe war is good and fun and exciting and the road to higher education and public service, because that is what they are told, repeatedly.
Canada's titular leaders, both past and present, have set a course for permanent warfare for this nation. There will, they contend, be no peace in our time, nor for the times of our children, and their children. There will be endless parades every November 11th from here until eternity, though fewer than a handful of the Great War's, the War to End All Wars, combatants survive today. There will be veterans of other wars guaranteed to fill the ranks and grandstands as the pipes play mournful, and the politicians bravely salute for forever to come Remembrance Days: So dictate the grey-haired, blue-suited men, their lapels adorned with blood-red poppies.
Lest we forget, the guns will be silent on Remembrance Day wrote Canadian bard, Brian Adams. Are they silent today in Afghanistan?
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