Armistice Day & Remembrance Day: Finding and Keeping Hold of Always Elusive Peace in the World




The world has just honored yet another Armistice Day – Remembrance Day – Veterans Day for all those who lost their lives in armed defense of their nation’s right to exist and remain a free people. Nation’s like the United States, Canada and Israel pay constant tribute to those key battles and wars that once determined their continued existence and survival. But what of nation’s like Palestine reduced to mere fragments of what they once were, their once prosperous, happy villages, towns and cities filled with happy children, families and the commerce of a viable way of life, now turned into hostile refugee camps, cordoned-off checkpoints at gun point and walled-in enclaves of homes cut off from their fields and livestock? When can they ever hope to celebrate their own armistice, remembrance or veterans’ day and the value and identities of their own peoples’ lives that have been lost?

For almost 100 years, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, that long ago distant moment in 1918 is honored when the world finally woke up from the madness of its nightmare and called an armistice to all the needless butchery, savagery and carnage that it had collectively waged against the human and natural worlds, and, indeed, against the very essence of life itself. In that moment of fleeting sanity – out of sheer exhaustion from its blood-letting, murderous killing spree – the world finally declared a halt to its naïve, duplicious declaration of intent to perpetrate what it called, “The Great War to End All War”. Once again the world erringly failed to grasp the basic idea that War – All Wars – are nothing more than a failure to communicate and so, instead, commit itself to the pursuit of perpetual peace.

Yet since that distant moment in 1918, the watchword “Lest We Forget” is nevertheless religiously evoked every 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to recall the futility of those murderous, barbarous times and spur a remembance of all those lives needlessly lost in the process. However, no sooner does the world evoke that watchword than it forgets it over and over again as the every-continuing carnage and bloodbath of modern human history has proceeded in the intervening 100 years; waiting but a mere few decades before committing itself to yet another world war with yet a new holocaust that slaughtered tens of millions of more lives in every corner of the earth. No place on earth has since been spared in spite of that constant admonition that implores humankind to remember: Lest We Forget!

Yet at the slightest whim of whatever new would-be conqueror, megalomaniac or narcissist has the same desire to dominate the world, the crème-de-la-crème of their nation are prepared, like Pavlovian Dogs, to once more thrust themselves into the meat grinder for The Cause, whether it be for God, for King or for Country; simply more lemmings to the sea, sacrificing themselves for whatever new hopeless, meaningless, unattainabe version of ‘The Madness’.

But with every new Remembrance Day the emphasis is always on the military casualties who suffered under arms, while the names, faces and histories of all the innocent, defenceless civilian populations, who likewise paid the ultimate price with their lives and those they loved, remain buried deep within the rubble of so many massacres,all but invisible and forgotten.

So many have been willingly or unwillingly sacrificed in all the wars of the 20th & 21st centuries; the estimated deaths, all toll, due to homicide (military casualties), democide (civilian collateral casualties, genocide and mass murder) or non-democidal (war-related intentional famine, pestilence and disease) varies between 123 and 160 million. This means that tens of milions of human lives and all their rich heritage, hopes, dreams and aspirations have simply ceased to forever be without any records. The generals and their leaders often don’t even bother to account for their numbers and remain dismissive of them as nothing more than faceess, identity-less so-called collateral damage that aren’t even counted as a statistic.

Yet ever since 9/11 magically appeared, as if the fufillment of a prophecy from out of the sacred book known as the Project For A New American Century, all the world’s generals, rulers and arms manufacturers seized the opportunity to turn that dasterdly moment of a new century into still another excuse for a perpetual war of terror against a whole host of new ‘hated ones’ who generally have non-white faces, of non-Christian and Jewish faiths or Western heritage.

Rather than have dealt with that seminal 9/11 moment as the heinous criminal act against all of humanity that it was, and then summarily enlist the help of all the nations of the world to apprehend the real perpetrators responsible and then, once dealt with, move on in the pursuit of humanity’s elusive, age-less quest for universal peace in the world, something more evil and diabolically sinister happened. It instead has become a never-ending series of new moments to quote dark passages of other biblical prophecies to justify yet new ‘crusades’ and ‘jihads’. The ensuing meltdown and unraveling of civil human societies has led to widespread irrational mental disorders among the populace that continue to create ever more suicide bombings, mass murders and massacres that continue to grow in places like the United States, Israel and Palestine. Even relatively peaceful countries like Canada are not immune.

Since 9/11, in the United States there have been some 317 horrendous acts of murder, mahem and terror. Counted among the deadliest, in addition to the victims of 9/11, are the multiple murders committed in such diverse places as: Columbine High School in Colorado; Virginia Tech, Virginia; Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut; a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado; an Orlando, Florida gay night club; a Las Vegas outdoor concert, and; a Sutherland Springs, Texas Baptist church. In Canada, the violence and murderous terror has been much less, with the victims consisting of only some 23 civilians, 4 RCMP officers and one constable, scattered in provinces all across the country from New Brunswick and Quebec, to Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip are different matters altogether again that make what is happening in the U.S. & Canada a ridiculous non-event that palls by comparison. One could argue that the long history behind how Israel first came to be in the lands of Palestine and supplant its indigenous Palestinian peoples with so much betrayal, bloodshed and complicity between Zionist Jews and conservative Christian, right-wing, religious zealots in the United States, Britain and its commonwealth nations is the background story: to 1918 and its Balfour Declaration; the ensuing Nakba War in Palestine of 1948; the endless Intifada’s and Israeli military operations over illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, in violation of international law and U.N. resolutions over the past seven decades; the perpetual War of Terror throughout the Middle East, that continues to rage and spread far and wide like a deadly cancer, and finally; 9/11 itself; all rolled up into one.

Leave aside for the moment the sheer magnitude of the original betrayal that Zionist Jews and their British ally Lord Balfour and his commonwealth Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, Free State Irish nation partners perpetrated against the Palestinians when they signed the Balfour Declaration in 1917 that sealed the ultimate fate of the Palestinians and ensured a century of their persecution by Zionist Jews; for which the world ever since has washed it hands, like modern-day Pontius Pilate’s leaving the fate of Jesus totally in the hands of Jews lusting for his blood. Leave aside, too, the reality that the Balfour Declaration totally negated Arab Palestinians right to self-determination that led to Zionist militias in 1948, intent upon creating a pure Jewish Religious State, to violently expell more than 800,000 men, women and children and commit all the horrific massacres and total destruction of the Palestinian way of life that ensued over the next seven decades.

Once such realities have been set aside, it behooves the reader who is interested in seeing international law upheld and justice served on behalf of the Palestinians, to consider but a few of the known facts about what is currently going on in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people. To begin with Gaza and the Gaza Strip is nothing more or less than an open prison and series of squalid refugee camps.Because of Israel’s on-going illegal siege and onslaught against the Palestinians of Gaza in 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014 its refugee population continues to grow, making it now the most densely populated concentration of land on earth. In 2007, it had a population of 142,637 Arab Palestinians. By 2010, the population had jumped to 202,000 and then spiked again in 2012 to 350,000, which translates to an increase of some 208,000 in only five years. Just west of the city of Khan Yunis, Gaza’s second largest city, is the Khan Yunis Refugee camp that was created after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War for some 35,000 Palestinian refugees, but now some 72,000 refugees living in the camp, double the population for which it was originally intended. Little wonder that Khan Yunis, as of 2012, also had the highest unemployment rate in the Palestinian territories. Such unheard of increases in population and unemployment would challenge even the most developed Western country with the strongest capacity for infrastructure development, yet all reconstruction and infrastructure efforts to rebuild adequate homes and facilities for the refugees was halted due to the blockade that Israel imposed upon the Gaza Strip as punishment upon the Gaza Strip for its approval of the Hamas takeover of the territory.

Known as a stronghold of Hamas, considered by some to be a terrorist organization, in 2001 and 2002 Khan Yunis became the site of an Israeli helicopter attack that killed or wounded many defenseless civilians. Over the years, 1,000’s of Israeli missiles and artillery have been surgically fired upon Gaza, intentionally aimed at hospitals, schools, mosques and homes. In 2009 Israeli warplanes killed 1,400 civilians with whole families wiped out. While in 2014, Israel’s defense forces killed more than 2,314 innocent, vitually defenseless Palestinian civilians, and in an effort to inflict punitive death and destruction against the people of Gaza have used one military operation after another to either brutally occupy or terrorize Gaza. In 2014, a U.N. designated U.N. School was bombed that massacred 14 students and killed a further 750 civilians. From time to time, Israeli politicians and civilian have even called for a holocaust to occur in Gaza. In 2007, Gilad Sharon had the temerity to call for the complete destruction of Gaza, like another Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and send the Gaza Strip back to the Stone Age.

As further punishment for the people of Gaza, because of their affiliation with Hamas, Israel and the rival Fatah Palestinian Authority have restricted Gaza’s refugee camps and cities to two hours of electricity per day, without air conditioning or heating in blistering hot or freezing cold tempertures. The nearby Mediterranean ocean is so polluted that the people are even prevented from cooling down; with 50% of Gaza’s hospitals un-operational due to an inability to get supplies through Israel’s prison-like concentration border, with 97% of Gaza’s water undrinkabe because Israel denies Gaza’s ability to purify its waters.

Few Palestinians can even get in or out of the Gaza Strip, and virtually nothing that human beings everywhere in the world need to make their lives viable, if not palatable, like food, medicine, fuel and goods, can get into Gaza, further perpetuating all the severe misery. Rafah, the only door to the outside world from Gaza to Egypt, was closed in 2014 by an Israeli blockade that besieged the Gaza Strip, forcing the people, for their very survival, to dig very dangerous tunnels at the risk of their lives, to smuggle in and out much needed goods and commerce. These tunnels are repeatedly bombed by Israeli war planes and artillery, killing many inside the tunnels while maintaining its ever-tighter death grip on Gaza’s very existence. The latest tunnel to be bombed by an Isreali air strike on Oct 30th, 2017 killed at least seven or more brave, courageous heroes among the people, some of who were attempting to rescue other tunnelers trapped in the cave in, escalating even more so the level of hostilities.

So, while Israel continues to slowly bleed to death the people of Gaza, as it has done to Palestinians for over 70 years, attempting to destroy whatever human values, dignity and will to resist that still exists among the people, the battle between the Israeli government and people of Palestine has been an intensely one on both sides which has led to myriad forms of constant murder of civilian populations: in markets, shopping malls, discoteques, train stations, kibbutz settlements, synagoges and cafes. The terrorism on both sides has consisted of everything from street bombs, market attacks, aerial bombardments by warplanes, tanks and artillery, suicidal shootings, military occupations, concentration camp settings with intentional domicidal famine, disease and death caused by economic and material blockades as well as ruthless colonization by Israeli settlers.

The result has been that some 805 Israeli civilians have been killed by over 171 suicidal attacks by Palestinians. Yet the numbers of Palestinians massacred by the Israeli government or Israeli citizens is by far larger, running in the thousands that suggest an enormous disparity in the punitive, genocidal nature of Israel’s mass murdering of helpless Palestinian civilians. Put another way, for every 15 civilians killed in the conflict, 13, or 96%, are Palestinians and 2, or 4%, are Israeli’s.

Yet democratic Western nations like the United States and Canada nevertheless continue to provide their unequivocal moral support and funds in support of Israel’s murderous language of death committed on a massive scale; which clearly are the actions of a racist rogue state that for all intents and purposes are those of a state-run terrorist organization. Ignored is the billions of U.S. & Canadian tax payers monies and war armaments that are daily and annually supplied to the nefarious ends of such state terrorist organizations, with virtually no oversight how the monies are spent, which in Israel’s case are clear violations of U.N. resolutions, principles of international law, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

So in the spirit of Remembrance Day and its admonition Lest We Forget, it’s high time that Israel and Palestine agree to a similar armistice as that arrived at in 1918, declare their own Armistice Day commemoration to be revisited one year hence on the 100th anniversary of the original one. No better address could be made to the Israeli government, its citizens, as well as to the governments of the Palestinians and their people than to paraphrase the address that U.S. President Woodrow Wilson made to his fellow countrymen and women on Nov. 11th, 1919 during the 1st Armistice Day anniversary. A paraphrase of his address might go something like this:

Our enemies have now laid down their arms in accordance with our armistice, which has rendered them impotent to renew hostilities and gives to the world an assurred opportunity to reconstruct their shattered order and work out in peace a new and just set of international relations. The soldiers and people of both Israel and Palestine have fought and endured for more than seventy years to uphold the barriers of both their civilizations against the aggressions of armed force. With splended forgetfulness of all our personal antagonisms and enmities towards one another we now commit to model our industries, science and technologies for the other side to draw upon for their own renewal. We commit to concentrate our financial resources, increase our agricultural output and assemble a great army of peacekeepers to help one another so that at last our collective powers will become a decisive factor in our quest for a new and victorious way of life together. Out of this victory will arise new possibilities of political and religious freedom and economic concert between us. The long war between us showed us the great strength we possess and what could be achieved if we acted collectively together for higher purposes. The victory of all our arms we have waged upon one another foretells the equal potential that can be made in peace when both our nations agree to act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of all our men and women. To us, the reflection we will henceforth make on every Armistice Day anniversary will be filled with the same solemn pride we each feel for the heroism of all those who died in the service of our respective country’s, and with gratitude for the victory that all their supreme sacrifices and all the ugly things of the past from which we are freed and now have the opportunity to show our nation’s sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of all other nations.

Jerome Irwin is a freelance writer and author of “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey” (, a three volume account of his travels as a spiritual sojourner, during the 1960’s, 70’s & 80’s, among Native American & First Nation peoples in North America. It encompasses the Indigenous Spiritual Renaissance & Liberation Movements that emerged throughout North America during the civil rights era. In addition to being a long-time political activist and organizer, Irwin has authored over the years a number of environmental, political, cultural, spiritual articles with special emphasis on Native Americans, First Nations, Australian aboriginals, and native peoples of Israel, Gaza, Palestine and Syria. Irwin also is the publisher of The Wild Gentle Press. Email:  [email protected]



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