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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > General Talk > Is it legitimate to alter a very respected symbol?
Is it legitimate to alter a very respected symbol?  [message #75154] Wed, 14 November 2018 14:28 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13029



I present this story without comment, wishing instead for yours. I will offer my own thoughts in due course inside the thread.

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/images/2018/11/rainbow-poppy3_640x345_acf_cropped.jpg



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Is it legitimate to alter a very respected symbol?  [message #75156 is a reply to message #75154] Wed, 14 November 2018 16:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

Toe is in the water

Registered: October 2016
Messages: 89



I don't think it's a great idea to, as one person commented, highjack a national symbol of remembrance. The article you highlighted talks about WWI poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, is their being or maybeing homosexual of any real importance? In the case of Alan Turing it is, because he suffered terribly for being a gay man, however, I think that was better highlighted in the film of his life. So no, not a good idea, ill thought out, and it's not surprising it generated a backlash.
Re: Is it legitimate to alter a very respected symbol?  [message #75157 is a reply to message #75154] Wed, 14 November 2018 17:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW   United Kingdom

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1509



I find myself in two minds about this. On the one hand, I've worn a white poppy (Peace Pledge Union) for many years, rather than the Royal British Legion red one. Quite apart from my own pacifism, I'm disgusted by the RBL: their increasingly-close ties to the UK military, and the way they do so little for ex-Services people suffering breakdown. Over a third of all rough sleepers are ex-Forces, and the RBL seems to ignore them almost completely, preferring to concentrate on photogenic amputees. So, from that point of view, any form of Remembrance that honestly seeks to honour those killed in wars which is not RBL, tends to be a good thing.

On the other hand, the proliferation of special-purpose poppies is to me alien to what Remembrance should be about. That's a big part of me wearing the White Poppy, which since 1933 has sought to remember all those killed by wars - civilians bombed in places like Coventry and Dresden, those who faced a firing squad of their own side, because they could no longer carry on (often due to PTSD), victims of starvation, homelessness, destroyed sanitation and water supplies, and many others. The RBL explicitly remember only Services personnel, and not any of these.

http://forum.iomfats.org/?t=getfile&id=4907&private=0

I'm not sure that there are any easy answers. I certainly won't go looking for Rainbow Poppies, or buying a pack of them to hand out to friends and  acquaintances, in the way that I do with White Poppies. But, if someone offers me one, I might well wear it alongside the White Poppy.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: Is it legitimate to alter a very respected symbol?  [message #75158 is a reply to message #75154] Wed, 14 November 2018 18:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13029



I think, based simply on the fact that homosexuality is not relevant to death, injury, maiming, or other after effects of combat, that I prefer to keep the poppy unmodified. I note NW's comments on rough sleepers. I have no issue with a separate white poppy. The two petal red poppy, though, is, I think, a registered design. I suspect the rainbow element conflicts with that design.

When I was a kid the boss used to say "Haig Fund".

I prefer to remember unadorned.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Is it legitimate to alter a very respected symbol?  [message #75160 is a reply to message #75158] Wed, 14 November 2018 22:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

Toe is in the water

Registered: October 2016
Messages: 89



The poppy has an international history, adopted as a symbol of remembrance for the fallen of WWI it was taken from a poem by the Canadian physician John McCrae, In Flanders Fields (the poppies grow, between the croses, row on row...) Promoted by an American proffessor and humanist, Moina Michael, who first wore the poppy, which was later, in 1920 adopted by The National American Legion. This inspired a French woman, Anna Guérin to make the first artificial poppies which her poppy sellers sold in London, and where the symbol was adopted by Field Marshall Douglas Haig, a founder of the Royal British Legion.

White poppies were introduced by Britain's Co-operative Women's Guild in 1933 and are sold by the Peace Pledge Union.
Purple poppies represent the fallen animals of the war.
There have also been black poppies and blue, so perhaps a rainbow poppy is just another colour.

Thanks as always to Wiki for this valuable information (in case you thought I was the fountain of all knowledge!)





Re: Is it legitimate to alter a very respected symbol?  [message #75161 is a reply to message #75154] Thu, 15 November 2018 14:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
American_Alex   United States

Toe is in the water
Location: New York, upstate
Registered: October 2017
Messages: 38



It's funny how the poppy was an American invention, based on a poem by a Canadian, popularised by the French, yet it's a uniquely British rememberance. I've never been in France around armistace time, so I'm not certain if they wear these things as much as the Brits do, but somehow I think that WW2 probably tempered the French nostalgia towards the great war. I know that Canadians wear the poppy more than Americans do, but it's still not nearly as ubiquitous as in Britain. 

Here in America, you will still sometimes see veterans offering little wire-and-paper "poppies" around our "Veteran's Day", but it's much less common than when I was a kid, 40+ years ago. Seeing people actually wearing them is even less common.

BTW, Canada once put the poem "In Flander's Fields" on the reverse of the $10 banknote.



"Able was I ere I saw Elba"
Re: Is it legitimate to alter a very respected symbol?  [message #75162 is a reply to message #75154] Thu, 15 November 2018 18:30 Go to previous message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

Toe is in the water

Registered: October 2016
Messages: 89



The Bleuet is the French equivalent of the Poppy. It also grows in the fields of Flanders and is reminiscent of the blue uniform of the French soldiers which was introduced during WWI. Different to the British, the French established an organisation at the end of WWI named Les Gueules cassées, which liberally translates as The Smashed faces. The aim was to aid the horrendously scarred and mutilated soldiers who survived but whose handicap made finding work very difficult and many of whom were a walking nightmare and difficult to look at. What came out of all this was a lottery which funded aid for those injured soldiers. Later incorporated into the French National Lottery, to this day that organisation holds a 9% stake and is one of the wealthiest charities in France that continues to support injured soldiers and their families.
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