“WWI Centenary marked by European political squabbling” – Warmongering nations glorifying historic mass slaughter [Xinhua]
BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhuanet) — The centenary marking of the outbreak of World War One, which claimed more than nine million lives, begins in July this year. What should be a unifying moment of remembrance for the millions who died has instead succumbed to political squabbling [sic] as the key participants in that conflict argue about how the war should be remembered. CCTV’s Jack Barton has this report from the historic battlefields of Flanders.
A First World War museum in Flanders, Belgium where more than two million soldiers and civilians were killed or wounded. It touches on key battles, but attempts to look deeper.
“We have stories here in the museum from the German side, from the British side and Australians as well as Belgians and not only soldiers, but civilians to show what war really did to people.” Peter Slosse, Ypres, Department of Tourism said. The Flemish government wants commemorations surrounding this year’s World War One centenary to include a signed agreement by all the conflict’s protagonists that war is morally wrong.
“Which of course is something that the British and the French government had great difficulty with since with troops in Mali, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan.” Pieter Lagrou, Professor of History of Brussels Free University said.
And some Germany officials believed that Britain’s intention to inject a trimphiant tone into official event could even harm the relations between the two countries.
“That is a big moment of national pride and celebration, once more Britain had been on the right side, on the winning side beating evil dictatorships in Europe and saving Europeans from themselves. In Germany for quite obvious reasons there is little reason for national celebrations[,]” Pieter Lagrou, Professor of History of Brussels Free University said.
The centenary starts on July 28.
When the official commemorations begin there will be many who come to remember the battles, but there will also be those who come to remember and honor the soldiers as well as the civilians who died in what was supposed to be the war to end all wars.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected at commemoration ceremonies from France to Gallipoli in Turkey. People like Australian John Reid whose great grandfather died trying to carry a wounded soldier to safety.
“I think it’s remembering all the people who fought here and died here and the horror of it all and the fact that people like my great grandfather’s wife Nora May could never make it out here to see the grave or lay flowers.” John Reid, Grandson of Anzac Soldier said.
Like many John hopes that by the start of the centenary the commemorations will be able to strike a unifying and respectful tone of remembrance, free of political squabbling.
Editor: Lu Hui
Original article title: WWI Centenary marked by political squabbling