To remember is to work for peace

Another Remembrance Day, another year of wearing my MCC pin… at least this year nobody asked me why I had the state of Texas on my peacenik badge. It would have been nice to have a version en français, but then, Canadian Mennos are mostly an English (and German) speaking bunch.

Remembrance Day actually seemed more meaningful to me this year than it usually does, mostly because I’m in the middle of Roméo Dallaire’s book Shake Hands with the Devil, and it’s giving me a new perspective and appreciation of the military. I will probably always have a strong bias towards non-violent conflict resolution, even when they seem like a more difficult choice, but even so sometimes nothing but well-trained and equipped professional soldiers can stop a catastrophe like Rwanda. Not that this is a new revelation for me, mind, but I’ve never read such a personal account of a soldier working as a peacekeeper before, and it’s helping me to understand a little what it’s like to do such work.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’ll always be proud that my Menno grandfather was a conscientious objector back in WWII. But here’s to all the soldiers who, with true humility and respect, have risked their lives in the thankless task of protecting basic human rights in civil society’s disaster zones. Good on you.