Roxanne Tellier: Remembrance Day

Roxanne DBAWISLive long enough, you’ll see everything.

Back in the late 90’s, early 2000’s I had a thriving eBay business. I had 5 people on staff, and made a decent living. eBay called me a “bronze” seller, because I did so well.

And then the planes hit the towers in 2001. Immediately, America went xenophobic, and really, who could blame them? They had been hit in their Big Apple, a city so loved and blessed they named it twice … New York, New York.

America pulled in their horns. They wouldn’t and couldn’t trust anyone but their own. My international sales plummeted. The US was just not interested in purchasing esoterica and rarities from anyone, never mind from a country that may have harbored traitors in their midst.

After that, the deluge. The hysteria that was Bush’s fear of WMD’s, the war on Iraq. The envelopes that may or may not have contained anthrax. And the mindless greed of the banks and other companies that saw an amazing opportunity to grab all the cash in the world, before it all blew up.

One of the craziest conversations I ever had with an American customer happened, of course, over email. “I didn’t get my package!” she said. I asked her if she’d checked her mail box. And she told me she hadn’t been to her mail box in days. Anthrax, you know.

That was the beginning. That’s when we all started to fear.  Bush’s fake WMD’s triggered a panic in North America that has had far reaching consequences. We are all still looking for those WMD’s, still looking under our beds for the bad guys, still afraid to walk down an alley with anyone who doesn’t look exactly like us. Even though those WMD’s only ever existed in the minds of those people who wanted to put a death clutch on the world’s privacy.

I’m coming up to a big birthday, but unlike Jaimie Vernon, I’m not brave enough to say what that birthday commemorates. It’s scary and humbling to realize that you’ve walked the planet for longer than you thought you would. After all, I really believed, back in the day, that you couldn’t trust anyone over 30, and cheered along with Pete Townsend when he sang, “I hope I die before I get old.” Shit happens. I didn’t die.

So I’m of two minds when it comes to talking about Remembrance Day, and what it memorializes. My dad, my uncles, my aunt … all veterans. They fought for what they believed was right, and to make their homes and their families secure. I believe they fought righteously, with honour and pride. They fought a war to give me and all Canadians, North Americans and Europeans, freedom. Without them, our world map would look decidedly different.

fight for dignityToday’s vets … what do they fight for? There are over 500, 000 Canadians, and 2 million Americans in active or reserve placement. They are deployed wherever they are determined to be of use. But the men in power, who deploy that cannon fodder, never see combat. Those men choose our new enemy, rightly or wrongly, and send good, young, healthy, men and women, out to be killed. Or maimed, or so psychologically damaged that they cannot hold a civilian job or hold their child without crying for what they can’t forget.

Young, fit, healthy men and women coming home from war that they never started, and can never hope to finish. It’s not a video game. The bullets, the tanks, the overhead missiles … and all of those young, healthy men just trying to do what they believe is right. Whether in peace keeping or active duty, those young men will come home to a world that often forgets how much they demand of the militia, and how easily those veterans are cast aside, if they dare to ask for recompense for the damage that their years in service cost them.

In order for a member of the military to qualify for a fully indexed pension in Canada, you must serve for 10 years. However, if you have been selected to enter the Senate in Canada, or are a Cabinet Minister, you need only serve 6 years to receive not only a full indexed pension, but full health benefits, insurance, and other perks. There has been a movement recently, in our government, to remove veterans six or seven months shy of that magic 10 year mark because they are no longer technically eligible to deploy overseas.

They are not deployable because they have injuries that they received in duty. They are missing limbs, blind, deaf, or are in post-traumatic stress disorder. So – tough luck buddy. You came back broken, and if we’re gonna talk broken, let’s talk about those leaky submarines we accidentally bought, not the boys we sent to Afghanistan to fight our wars.

“Prior to the battle of Vimy Ridge, in 1917, Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden said this to the Canadian men in uniform. “As you go forward into this action, know that your courage is known to the nation, and know that no man, where he comes home, or remains in Flanders, shall have cause to reproach the government for having broken faith.” (Rick Mercer rant, November 2013.)

prepared to fight“We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia.” Or so Big Brother tells the people in George Orwell’s 1984. It’s a concept of perpetual war, waged among the super-states of Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. But each state is so strong it cannot be defeated. Allies become enemies, and enemies allies, and the war goes on forever, allowing Big Brother’s leaders to demand more money and cannon fodder from their citizens, while cutting back on their rations and services. Whipped into a patriotic fervor, the people don’t realize that they are kept underfed, undereducated and over-worked. After all, it’s only until this war is over. But the war is never over …

If we can’t defend our military, we stand for nothing.

= RT =

Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

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DBAWIS_ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. After years of doing things she didn’t want to do, she’s found herself working with a bunch of crazy people who are as batshit crazy and devoted to music as she is, and so she can be found every Monday at Cherry Cola’s, completely unable to think of anything funny to say, as the co-host of Bob Segarini’s The Bobcast. Come and mock her. She’s good with that. And she laughs. A lot. But not at you.

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