Vive Le Canada

In Afghani Fields - Remembrance
Date: Saturday, November 11 2006

This letter was sent to Canadian Action Party and I reprint here with permission.

Dear Editors:
On Monday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper invoked John McCrae's famous poem, In Flanders Fields, to promote a new government television commercial linking the sacrifices of the First and Second World Wars with those of the current war in Afghanistan.

The tragic irony of Harper's comparison is that he failed to acknowledge the relevance of the poppy to Afghanistan today. Since the ousting of the Taliban, Afghanistan has become the world’s largest producer of poppies for the illegal drug trade, which has been good for the country’s economy but increasingly harmful to its stability. As one might expect, the poor are being forced to decide between a foreign concept of democracy and the very real necessity of putting food on the table each and every day by cultivating poppies in fields owned by drug warlords. For a people who have endured decades of war and years of suffering under the Taliban, this is a difficult choice made easy by the need to simply survive.

Thus, the poppy, which McCrae established as a symbol to remember ‘the Dead’, is now itself contributing to the deaths of so many in Afghanistan, including an increasing number of Canadian soldiers trying to establish peace and stability and countless Afghani citizens caught in the crossfire.
For this Remembrance Day, I've written the following poem to honour those who have died, and continue to die, in a conflict far more complex than can be portrayed in a self-serving political advertising campaign, or even, for that matter, a simple poem.

By Brett Chapman

In Afghani fields the poppies blow
But not with crosses row on row.
These poppies play a darker role,
But still exact a heavy toll
On lives of farmers, friends and foe.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We were tortured, raped and stoned
We tilled the land we never owned
In Afghani fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
But when you do, be sure you know
Which is the foe and which the friend
‘Cause Truth can fail, and faith can bend
While people die and poppies grow
In Afghani fields.

P.S. I’ve also included In Flanders Fields for those who may not remember it.

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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