Monday, 20 December 2010

"Xmas was 'tray bon'



When you fined yourself standing in the eye of a storm, as we seem to be in the renewed class war, you will obviously wonder where on earth does one go from here.

That’s where we are at this very present moment of Christmases fast falling calm; silents falls upon the trenches and dugouts of the front lines, memento mori; remembering that famous moment during the First World War "The Christmas Truce" -  the impromptu, Dec. 25 laying down of arms by German and Allied soldiers during the First World War.

The best known Christmas truce from the First World War took place in 1914, when German and Allied soldiers are said to have sung Christmas carols together and otherwise fraternized in a brief moment of peace amid the killing fields of the Western Front.

I always think about it at this time of the year, an all too brief truce with marvelling feelings of wonderment, at just how fantastic a display of momentary defence by ordinary working class solders, and how it must have unset the officer class.

"It is thought possible that the enemy may be contemplating an attack during Xmasm or New Year. Special vigilance will be maintained during these periods." 
From General Headquarters at St. Omer- to all units
24th December, 1914.

That particular Christmas demonstrates and in illuminance for me, that which is wrong about the whole class system then and as now. I am imagining these wolfs, forcing lions to fight their extraordinarily pathetic war. The domination of one small class over another has much to answer for, and here is an example of a brutalizing and ever faster spinning cycle of violence that griped the world back then and really has never left it.

We often hear from others that wars are fought and won so we are able to enjoy the freedoms we have today. Such lies fed like bait, and anything that serves as an enticement and holds us in place.

One young solder wrote home to his family the following:

"Here we are again as the song says," he wrote. "I had quite a good Xmas considering I was in the front line. Xmas eve was pretty stiff, sentry-go up to the hips in mud of course. ... We had a truce on Xmas Day and our German friends were quite friendly. They came over to see us and we traded bully beef for cigars."

The passage ends, "Xmas was 'tray bon,' which means very good."

That young solder 23-year-old Pte. Ronald MacKinnon - was killed in the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917

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