So much for re-membering the past. Clearly my mother had quite naturally bought into a story, a supportive narrative which had become real for her.
Go back further and most people have no idea how WW1 started. They would be shocked to realise that it was the result of a squabble between the in-bred royal familes of europe. There was no noble purpose. Good men died for the vainglory of their rulers.
And it continues. Why have we occupied Afghanistan? Because of Osama Bin Laden? But the Afghan government offered to hand him over to America. Why did they want Bin Laden - because of 911? But bin Laden is not wanted for 911!
Why did we attack Iraq? Over 70% of Americans falsely believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attacks on 911. In 2006 even Bush admitted that he was not, but at the same time 43% of Americans still believed it!
Where do these stories come from, how do they become so real for us? Why are they needed, who benefits?
Perhaps it is because most of us don't like war, are reluctant to kill. Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier from WW1, died last year, aged 111. He rarely spoke about the war, until when he turned 100 he was interviewed on the BBC.
Harry explained that anyone who said he was not afraid in the trenches was a liar. He said: "We never fired to kill. My Number One, Bob, used to keep the gun low and wound them in the legs - bring them down. Never fired to kill them. As far as I know he never killed a German. I never did either. Always kept it low".
That's the problem with most people, they are basically decent. You have to give them a good story, a narrative, before they will kill each other and be able to live with the fake memories.
Posted by Nicholas Moore 1:12:22 PM