Saturday, November 11, 2006

Vimy What ?
The local Winnipeg Free Press published an article today entitled 'Vimy What ?' by Rudyard Griffens of the Dominion Institute ( ) regretting (sic) the "historical ignorance of Canadians vis-a-vis the battle of Vimy Ridge, April 1917. The author makes a pitch for the government to offer a state funeral for the last unfortunate WW1 veteran (victim ?) to die in Canada, despite the fact that state funerals are reserved for governors generals or prime ministers. The author justifies this by the usual claptrap of saying that Vimy Ridge was a 'defining moment" in Canadian nationhood and deplores "historical amnesia" about the so-called "stunning military victory" achieved by the Canadians that day.
Which "historical amnesia" do we refer to ? Is it the "historical amnesia" that outfits such as the Dominion Institute wish to promote in forgetting the actual causes of WW1 ? Or is it the "historical amnesia" that they would like to promote in terms of how ruling class officers sacrificed millions of working class victims/soldiers to their military goals that consisted of "yards" of territory. My father, God rest his soul, avoided service in WW1, and his line was:
"Why should an Irishman get his legs blown off so that English capitalists can crack a whip over the backs of black people rather than German capitalists ?"
That pretty much sums up the "goals" of WW1, with the Balkans, Poland and trade balances thrown in for good measure. Great victories ??? Defending democracy with the Tsar of Russia doing most of the fighting until the Revolution.
As to "stunning military victories" Vimy Ridge was indeed kind to the Canadians. There were only 3,598 killed and 10,602 wounded which contrasts with about 150,000 French causalities in a previous attempt to take the ridge. The gains,however, were still minimal. As the wikipedia article on the battle says:
"...little was actually achieved after the Canadian victory."
The whole idea of Vimy Ridge as a defining moment in Canadian nationhood is a myth. It's a great lie. Canada entered WW1 at the command of Britain, just as we entered WW2 at the same command. Historical amnesia is indeed a bad thing, but some seem to think that only some things should be remembered.
For further info on the battle of Vimy Ridge see:

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