A visit to a care home for ex-service personnel in Belfast

After lunch today I visited a care home for ex-service personnel in Belfast called the Somme.  Established during the Great War (1914-1918) to treat the wounded coming back to Ulster from the war – still operating today to support service personnel and what the American’s call first responders (police, firemen etc).  My wife has worked there helping to manage the care home for a few years now and since this is the 2nd of July we visited as a family just to show some respect for those that have sacrificed so much for our country and the freedoms we enjoy today.

The Somme is a battle that occurred in July 1916 and led to the deaths of many thousands of young men from Ulster and Ireland as a whole.  My community (the Ulster Scots) remember this each year on the 1st of July (the first day of the battle that saw so many of our young men struck down).  Looking around the facility (which today is a modern thriving place of care for older people that have served their country, a place that still respects the sacrifices of our service personnel – both past and present – have made) reminded me of how grateful we should be for those that have bled and died to preserve the freedoms we have today.

Yet later in the day, I read with sadness the following article by Giulio Meotti: Is Guilt Killing the West from Within?It saddened me to read this article because it is so true in our society.

The Romans called it damnatio memoriae: the damnation of memory that resulted in destroying the portraits and even the names of the fallen emperors. The same process is now underway in the West about its colonial past. The cultural elite in the West now seem so haunted by feelings of imperialist guilt that they are no longer confident that our civilization is something to be proud of.

These words resonated with me because I see this so often in everyday life.  We are made to feel that if we feel any pride in our culture and heritage we are in some way bigoted racists that must be exposed as such and shamed into submission.  It reminded me of all the hype over the BRIXIT vote and how `leavers’ were portrayed as uneducated racists and bigots.  It always seemed to surprise people that I (an educated professional who has traveled the world) would be voting to leave the EU.  How could I?  How dare I?

What saddened me the most about the post BREXIT vote was the anger against older people that had `stolen’ the futures of the British youth.  I thought about this today as I remembered all these young men who had died because they believed in the British way of life and wanted to protect it.  Thousands dying within a few short days because they believed in this – millions over the years of the war.

It saddens and angers me that our cultural heritage, and all that this has brought to the world, is now being seen as something to be despised and a reason for shame.  That our salvation will come when multiculturalism has wiped the evil western system from our collective memories.

A sense of guilt now seems a kind of post-Christian substitute religion that seduces many Westerners. The French scholar Shmuel Trigano suggested that this ideology is turning the Westerners into “post-colonial subjects” who no longer believe in their own civilization, but instead what will destroy it: multiculturalism. In France, for example, a manifesto was launched for “a multicultural and post racial republic”. The result would be, in the words of the anthropologist Jean-Loup Amselle, a “war of identities” and a clash between communities.

Murray put it well in his book The Strange Death of Europe (which I believe everyone should read) when he argues that Europe is committing cultural suicide and that a headlong embracing of this Messianic theology of multiculturalism (as the savour of Western civilisation) will lead to our death as a people and all that we have to offer the world.

Thirty years ago, in a book, The Tears of the White Man, the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner wrote that, “the remorseless and self-righteous critic who endlessly denounces the deceptions of parliamentary democracy is suddenly rapt with admiration before the atrocities committed in the name of the Koran, the Vedas, the Great Helmsman…” Since then, Western elites have excused many crimes committed in the name of political Islam, as if these were the consequences of our own colonial crimes.

Is this not what we see in our societies in the West?  Do our children not come home from our schools and universities feeling that our heritage should be something to be ashamed of and totally rejected?  Yet it is the West that has brought the freedoms that we enjoy to us.  Not communism, not socialism, not Islam but Western Civilisation founded on our Judeo-Christian roots.  Lessons that we need to make sure our children learn: `Least we forget’.

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Rambler
Lived and worked in Muslim-majority countries for over 12 years while working in the international development sector as a senior director/manager. This included South East Asia, East, and West Africa (including the Horn of Africa), the Middle East and Afghanistan. Main interests in life is the study of Political Islam and how this has interacted with non-Islamic civilisations, especially Judeo-Christian civilisations, in history and currently.

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