WikiLeaks

Will WikiLeaks be publishing/leaking any diplomatic cables or secret communications from Iran, North Korea, China, Pakistan, Burma, Zimbabwe or some shady former Eastern Bloc guy? No? Thought not.

Ironic that they use the freedom of information laws and whistle-blowing legislation in a FREE country to point the finger at the same country and cry foul play.

Do the same for any of the above countries – I double dare you.

But you will not.

You pretended the previous leak was to expose cover-ups in the war with Iraq and Afghanistan and I can just about see this scraping through as an excuse. To release all the diplomatic cables is just anarchic – in the truest sense of the word.

You will publish the information obtained by treachery from someone who believes that they can decide better than anyone else what should or should not be secret. If our society believed that nothing is sacred and privacy is a problem then we would not need curtains. We could leave our laptop webcams on day and night so everyone can check we are not up to anything we should not be. We could publish the details of everything we eat and everything we drink to ensure that a potential global oversight of this data will prevent us from straying from a path which the greater society believes is right and acceptable. Facebook would not need you to approve ‘friend’ requests since anyone could be your friend and your email address and phone numbers would be searchable so that it is always possible to get hold of you. Free knowledge is power. Privacy, secrets, especially grand secrets that oil the wheels of Western society are bad…right?

I am an ordinary person. I am tangibly a member of two Western democracies. I have no political power other than the ability to vote (well, technically I can’t but soon I can again). I am not a warrior. I am not a crusader. This leaking, publishing, breaching of trust is NOT what I want.

By proxy these are my secrets too and you do not have the right to belch them up for a self-serving breakfast.

Veteran’s Day / Remembrance Day / Armistice Day

I learnt quite a while ago that the best way to start an argument is to talk about religion or politics. So this is about neither.

If you’ve read my poetry or books you’ll understand my views on war and peace. If you haven’t I suggest you read “Dawn” or “Where the children played“.

Over here, in the USA, Armistice Day was renamed to Veteran’s Day since it was felt that the day should remember all veterans of military service and not just one particular day in one particular war. It’s still held on the 11th day of the 11th month and a silence is observed at 11am.

In the UK people (mostly older folk) wear poppies and some, not all, offices even have a minute or two silence to remember the fallen. On the whole our soldiers are, to most non military Brits, an invisible clichéd rabble of hard drinkers or characters in a video game. Or the focus of a documentary; a shot-peppered young face attached to the stumps of legs. Our eyes well up as they hug their children. Then we go back to the daily grind.

British ex-soldiers do not discuss their service – not even on the 11th day. On Remembrance Sunday we see increasingly wrinkled old men wheeled up to place wreathes at the Cenotaph. The bands play, the bearskins bob as the Grenadiers stamp boots in unison and present arms.

British ex-soldiers wake up on the 11th day and go to work in factories and offices. Friends say the normal “hi”. They work, pack up, go home.

In the US ex-soldiers get free lunches on the 11th day. US ex-soldiers get asked to stand up at yesterday’s school concert and **everyone** gives them a standing ovation and the school head thanks them “for their service”….and means it. US ex-soldiers get people who do not know them walk up and shake them vigorously by the hand. Their warfare is not a dirty secret. They don’t need to have fewer limbs or eyes to be recognized.

So, today I would like to at least directly thank one ‘veteran’ for his service: Andrew O’Brien.

Thank you.