The Ten O’Clock News: Celebrating D Day (and by D Day I don’t mean the one where they stormed a beach)

If I’m being totally honest, I’m at a point in my life where the first thing I think of when someone mentions World War II – specifically D Day – is this gem of a music video. Then I think of Saving Private Ryan and then I think of my grandmother, who remembers seeing troops come back. Yeah okay let’s not discuss my priorities… the thing is, I know my priorities are a lot better than the Internet’s. Tumblr is celebrating National Donut Day and apart from on actual news websites, I’ve seen relatively little coverage  (of D Day in 1944, not Donut Day in mildly obese 2014).

Given that only a few countries were involved directly in D Day, it’s understandable that social media isn’t making a huge flap – especially since it’s commemorative of a time when loads of people were getting bombed or shot, and when most of Europe was a totally shit place to live. But – and this could be Politics revision stress showing itself – I kind of feel like it’s being ignored a bit by the public as a whole. If you think about it, every anniversary of 9/11 gets splashed across every news outlet available. When Osama bin Laden was killed, logging onto Twitter was like seeing the American flag dance. I’m not begrudging the American people their right to celebrate or commemorate events as they see fit (although celebrating with fireworks the death of one dude who was one part of an organisation which almost definitely isn’t as big as the US government made out does seem from a reasonably neutral standpoint to be slightly disproportionate given by that time the impact of the War on Terror on middle eastern states). I’m actually pretty jealous of Veteran’s Day, which let’s face it all countries should have, and hey, Doggles.

From kyousaya.tumblr.com
If all armies don’t actually use these then GET ON IT PEOPLE. From kyousaya.tumblr.com

But how often do we hear about the German casualties of the Blitz? Or the non-Western families torn apart by the War on Terror? Fun revision fact: between 80 and 90% of terrorism victims in 2012 were from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. As part of learning about humanitarian intervention in Politics we looked how 1971 Pakistan was called West Pakistan and East Pakistan – all the way across India but the same state – wanted independence to be Bangladesh. The East Pakistani government sponsored a genocide which killed between one and three million people in West Pakistan over a little less than a year. This is why a lot of Bangladeshi people moved to the UK around then. As someone with amazingly racist family members, it’s quite useful to know that those people weren’t benefit scrounging immigrants. But the thing is, would so many people be racist if they knew about the genocide? Quite a few probably would and we must console ourselves by hoping that they one day owe their lives to non-British-born doctors, or failing that fall in a puddle of mud somewhere public… I digress from D Day.

My point is, the bittersweet fuzzy feeling I get when I read stories about this guy should occur way more often because I should be seeing way more stories about people who fought for their freedom, and the freedom of others, to celebrate National fucking Donut Day, as started by – I presume, since every other nation knows biscuits are better – the good people of the USA.

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6 thoughts on “The Ten O’Clock News: Celebrating D Day (and by D Day I don’t mean the one where they stormed a beach)

  1. yeah – but there’s Krispy Kreme Donuts. And there used to be Dunkin Donuts, but no longer in the UK.
    Anywho – I’m joking … D-Day should be celebrated by EVERYONE, regardless of whether their country was involved in it. Lots of countries were involved in the war, and D-Day was part of that, so it’s part of their history. I was pants at history at school – but basically wasn’t it a major turning point in the war? If it hadn’t happened, the outcome could’ve been very different.
    Maybe we’re just too British to really go to town and celebrate. But maybe the anniversary (well, any year really, not just this one) should be a time for sombre reflection and dignified remembrance. And maybe as a nation, or even further afield, we’re starting to forget that we need to remember. I realise there’s been other wars since, but not of this magnitude. That so many died, from so many countries, had such an impact on whole communities & families, on our economy, on our lives (well, not ours, but our grandparents/parents). and now, as the numbers of survivors/veterans diminishes, so does our understanding of the enormity of what they did, what they sacrificed, what it really meant for everyone. It’s kinda sad. Maybe it just doesn’t resonate as widely as Remembrance Sunday.
    Ah, racism … why do you torment me this week? I got involved in a minor fracas on Facebook cos someone was moaning about PETA being too graphic in their campaigning and that they didn’t want to see it on facebook. My argument was that I would rather see stuff from people actively campaigning for a change to something they felt strongly about than to see the racist & pseudo-political crap moaning how foreigners should go home, keep Britain for the British etc etc. I hide all that stuff when people post it cos I really really don’t want to see it. It’s insidious. What constitutes ‘British’ anyway? white middle class UKIP voters? If you’re born here, doesn’t that make you British, regardless of your skin colour, ancestry, heritage, whatever? Why do we need to keep everyone else out who doesn’t fulfil some arbitrary notion of Britishness? (Im)migration needs to be depoliticised in order for it to be discussed sensibly. I don’t know enough about it to get into a debate here … which is why it annoys me on Facebook, in real life, or wherever – cos people don’t really understand it and share these stupid images and instruct me to ‘share if I agree’. No. I don’t damn well agree!
    Anyroadup … I digress (it must be contagious). I think racists will be racist irrespective of knowledge of genocide or other atrocities. You have to be somewhat ignorant to be racist, so probably if you told a racist about the genocide in Pakistan or any other reason for the mass migration of a large group of people, they would have some racist remark as to that group deserving that treatment, or it being a good thing in reducing the number of that group etc etc, you know the kind of thing. Even if they’ve had their life saved by a non-British-born doctor, they’d likely have some comment about not being able to understand them or some jokey remark about ‘just as well I wasn’t conscious cos I’d have stopped them and asked them where they got their degree from, (insert racial slur here)’. Maybe I’m tarring all racists with the same brush? Maybe I should be less judgemental.
    But hooray for D-Day veterans who have the balls to get up off their comfy couch in the care home and trek a long long way (having told no one they were going) to join in the anniversary celebrations.

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    1. I keep hearing about these ‘Britain for the British’ Facebook pages and I’m always tempted to message everyone who shares those posts asking them to provide documentation proving at least three generations of purely British heritage… I’ve never met anyone who was 100% from their country of origin, it’s just that some people look less ‘British’ than others. (Is there a ‘British’ look?!)

      Then you meet people who try to turn remembrance days into political and/or racist statements and it’s icky because WWII especially was about freeing Europe from a government that was politically racist, to put it mildly… yuck.

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  2. Maybe it’s also a generation thing? I’ve tried but not managed to use twitter however many FB friends have posted about d day. I am of an age where my grandparents were actively involved in WW2. My mother remembers rationing as though not around during WW2 it carried on. My grandparents really didn’t talk about the war though when snippets were told you listened. Maybe as we move further away and those involve die it’s significance becomes lost?

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    1. There’s definitely an element of people my age empathising less because D Day is now more of a historical thing than a current events thing (though I’ve heard people call 9/11 history which makes me feel old!). Then again, the over-arching themes of WWII are still very relevant in terms of the Holocaust and oppression – and hopefully the significance of people serving and dying in any war will never be understated or forgotten, even if it just serves to put future generations off starting wars… not that it’s worked so far!

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      1. I get what you mean about WWII & D-Day being historic not current – and as the number of survivors diminishes, their stories & recollections are lost to us. My grandparents were also around for WWII & most of my uncles/aunts were war & post-war babies – my ex-husbands uncles fought in the war … and yes, they rarely spoke of it, the memories being too painful.
        And that’s kind of sad – were they able to convey the true horror and magnitude of all that they went through, perhaps it would be enough to stop it happening again. And the danger is, that as it disappears into the annals of history and we no longer feel any impact of it, maybe the likelihood of it being repeated increases?
        I realise there have been many truly evil people in world history, many atrocities committed in the name of a cause but I think the Holocaust and the brutal annihilation of so many groups of people is something that people should learn about in order to avoid it happening again. Well, really, I suppose the whole thing, WWII, should be essential learning. How it came about; the long & short term reasons; why countries formed alliances; how Hitler came to power and was able to effect his policies & plans and persuade people to support his ideology; how battles were won and lost; and how it was brought to an end.
        It’s just such a massive thing. The whole Nazi movement – the systematic destruction of groups of people considered ‘different’. Just in terms of today’s society learning tolerance and not becoming ‘ist’ or following an ‘ism’ (the bad ones, not the good ones!) – it’s just ‘look what happens if you don’t show tolerance and understanding… millions of people die’. And I don’t mean that in a demeaning way – just that if we all just accept the status quo and don’t stand up and say it’s wrong, shit is gonna happen. Of course, Pastor Niemoller said it far better than I can – people should learn about him too. Learn from history!! And people should be made to watch Schindler’s List in order to appreciate what a single person can achieve when they stand up for what is right. There’s probably loads of other great war films & ones about WWII particularly but it’s one of my faves – incredibly well written & acted.
        Just realised how dictatorial this all sounds! People must learn what I want them to – they will be taught about tolerance and they will have no choice but to learn. Hmm, need to think about this!
        Ah, yet another late night rant. I blame the pineapple slices … they were lovely and cool, straight from the fridge. And I’ve eaten them all. So now I shall stop. Eating. And ranting. Thank you for listening.

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      2. Haha, you’re welcome! I actually haven’t seen ‘Schindler’s List’. It’s now on my to-watch film list!

        I think you described History GCSE… let’s make it compulsory!

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