Tuesday 1 March 2011

Army Brat

I'm grateful I've always had a sense of history. Growing up British with a father in the Army, I was often surrounded not only by WWII veterans but also WWI vets. Germans and British depending on the country we were stationed in. 

Near one of my father's homes in Netley Abbey is a park where the largest building in the world once was. A hospital from the Crimean war where Florence Nightingale toiled and where later on American Jeeps drove down the central hall it was so long and wide. We'd head down to a pier (pictured under) now no longer, where injured soldiers arrived in all the major wars, and where I learned to do my first somersaults into the gravelly and pebbled beach below. Where the now absent struts had once supported the dying and the wounded as they were fetched into the Royal Victoria Hospital. 

My best friend and I would sneak out late at night to visit the prettiest but darkest of cemeteries with multinational graves of Canadians, Germans, Australians and more. Regiments with names like The Black Watch that I yearned to know the history of before the internet and smartphones. Names from far flung places of empires that no longer exist.

Later on as an adult I worked with the US military in Giessen just after the first Gulf War where i was selected in part because of resiliant psychographic profiling though they never knew that I merely used my wits and gave the answers I felt they needed (I later graphed the real answers and there were similarities of wave from but often with symmetries from the ones they wanted). I watched and observed the American Military machine from up close.

And so all my life I've been blessed with an unusual sense of luck at getting bogged down in a war no more bloody than the Cold War, and that even more so I'd skipped the horrific brutality of The Great War. Trench warfare in WWI was a first taste of mechanized killing through propaganda and manipulation by the string pullers. The second World War an extension of the first. And if the current slew of string pullers could have their way they'd pitch us against each other in an over populated planet's heartbeat. Of this I've no doubt. 

But maybe we're finally catching on. Realising it takes a higher type of consciousness to solve the problems that created it in the first place. Who knows.

What I do know is my idea of hell is trench warfare at the Sommes. Of being ordered to "go over" and slug it out in the poison gas and stench of rotting bodies, the cries and the senseless slaughter. I thank my lucky stardust I didn't have to see it, or if I did, I don't remember it. That so many unwittingly sacrificed all they had, stirred on by new found forms of mass media manipulation that subsequently went on to become the marketing industry through the efforts of Edward Bernays in New York, a nephew of Sigmund Freud exploiting the new found thinking in psychology and mass manipulation.

I'm blessed to have lived through the most extraordinary century ever and in terms of unwitting awareness of how it all was held together but now I know the Kali Yuga and whatever the new point of change will be, I welcome it irrespective of what my own fate is. It's nothing compared to the lives of millions sacrificed in the age of Iron and bullets.

This piece is in memory of Frank Buckles, WWI's last veteran who passed away after an extraordinary stretch of time spanning two centuries of the bloodiest years I've had the good luck ever to have missed.