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Washing up liquid and war

poppy | red summer flower
A while ago I was washing up and I got a bit of washing up liquid in my mouth. (I was eating the scraps off on of the plates I'm ashamed to say.) They put a substance called Bitrex in some washing up liquid, because the fragrances they add make some smell like food. It has no smell, but is incredibly bitter and the taste remained in my mouth for the rest of the evening.

I happened to finish a book set before and during the First World War on Remembrance Day. Parts of it were like that tiny bit of Bitrex, one scene particularly so. However I can only imagine that for those living through it it must be like drinking cups of it every day.

I remember a programme during 2007 when the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery was being marked when one person was a bit exasperated by the subject and just wanted to move on, rather than being reminded over and over what his ancestors had done. Well, yes and no, I thought. It's not the sort of thing that needs thinking about every day, but only every 100 years would be too little.

Last week Simon Schama wrote an article in the Guardian about six things every child should learn about history, and it had two wars in it. Yes, we should never fail to remember and think about past and current wars once a year, whether or not we're involved in one at the time. Maybe we'll learn something that will lessen the chances of them happening in the future.

Poppy from paperparia


Paul Merrill said…
Good observation, Paul.

I think we all have tendencies to want to avoid anything difficult. It is healthy to be reminded (or to learn about) things that are in our collective pasts - maybe as a way of avoiding repeating them.
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