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A Pensive Script In Making Democracy Safe for the World

By Robér P. Lemmon
On November 16, 2018

Finding the Quiet on the World Front

This year makes a centennial and solemn reminder of a conflagration which the world should never forget, nor shy away from. The end of the Great War.

It was called ‘the war to end all wars’ and yet war would be fought in other theaters through the armistice, through the interwar period, be remembered as the primary catalyst for its second more terrifying successor and still more violence to this day, fought over many of the same scores.

A global war with its epicenter in Europe, a continent which today can be safely considered one of the most peaceful places in the world. A fortunate transition which belies its own problems of remembrance as the passage of time gives way to different historiographies. 

The immediate aftermath was characterized by the victors preaching moral points but succumbing to some of their vengeful instincts. This engendered hostility from both the moderates at home and those who lived in the defeated countries throughout the 20’s and gave way to the isolationists and appeasers of the 30’s and early 40’s. 

These lessons of magnanimity in peace and having determination in seeking freedom are painfully relearned whenever forgotten. World leaders met in Paris this year in commemoration of the armistice of the 11th month of the 11th day at the 11th hour; to recount these lessons learned and in the shared hope that we can make good so that those who fought did not die in vain.

Yet we know that time can heal wounds and sometimes it leads to surprises. The Middle East, carved up at Versailles, is still making headlines today as a war-torn region. Recently, due to a labor shortage in the Israeli tech sector, Israeli recruiters have begun to look for talent from the West Bank. The result is a fast-growing Palestinian workforce within one of Israel’s most important economic sectors.

A small win-win amongst the chaos in the same modest way that poppies returned to Flanders when the guns of the Western Front fell silent.

Armistice Day (now known in the United States as Veterans Day), marks a day to remember those who fought and defended values of freedom and its meaning. Universal suffrage, freedom of the press, of assembly, of petition, of religion, without want or fear. 

The cause and struggle for freedom is still undone but steps towards this noble end form of our fellow humanity have been made.

In many ways, it must continually be sought out in order to obtain, in all countries, including the United States. The end of the First World War continued seeing more democracies emerge and rights obtained such as women’s’ suffrage. Yet there are countries in the world whose citizens do not have liberties or have never exercised civil rights.

November has two bookends, Armistice Day and Thanksgiving. Let us walk through this month pondering reasons for why one should endeavor for rights of liberty for all and to remind ourselves that through all the gloom that working for this cause makes the world a better place. A safer place for democracy.

Here are the words of the Canadian poet John McCrae, written in the trenches he fought from and later fell during the Great War.


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.

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