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White Poppies - Should They Be Banned?
November 8, 2006 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Nip White Poppies in the Bud - Edmonton Journal Article The White Poppy emerged as a symbol of peace in th e1930's, and has been sold by a women's peace group and activist store in Edmonton, Canada for the past several years. This year, The Royal Canadian Legion has ordered a cease and desist, saying that the sale of the poppies is "illegal." Every year the Legion sells red poppies for Remembrance Day. This is an article from the local major daily newspaper offering views from both sides of the debate.
posted by livingsanctuary (23 comments total)

 
Sounds to me like wearing both poppies is a fine compromise. I find it difficult to believe that the legion types are threatened by this. My personal preference would be a small white turban pinned to my lapel. I've never forgiven them for the "no turbans in the legion" vote.
posted by fish tick at 11:15 AM on November 8, 2006


War® and Peace™
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:17 AM on November 8, 2006 [4 favorites]


The Legion has always been absurdly protective of its "registered symbol". Last year they tried to prevent the Drudge-esque website Bourque Newswatch from displaying it online (story).

That said I'm not sure I agree with fish tick that wearing both is an appropriate compromise. In theory the messages of respect for veterans and advocacy for peace are complimentary, but in the current political climate, they really aren't, and I suspect most of those wearing the white poppies know that, and intend to highlight it. I'd be willing to bet none of them has attended a "Red Rally" - even though showing support for the troops is not necessarily incommensurate with supporting peace.

I've never forgiven them for the "no turbans in the legion" vote

Given the sacrifices they and their generation have made, I am willing to accept that most of them are products of their time, for good and ill; I am grateful for the former, and yes, I forgive the latter.
posted by Urban Hermit at 11:48 AM on November 8, 2006


I'm distributing chartruse ribbon pins for us all to wear until the two parties work this out.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:56 AM on November 8, 2006


It's a tough choice. Nobody in the peace movement actually thinks the less of individual soldiers who sacrificed their lives, whether the cause was right or wrong, yet that's the way it comes across (or is spun). Equally, I'm reluctant to give to Earl Haig's blood fund. That's why I wear nothing, not because I'm tight.
posted by imperium at 12:02 PM on November 8, 2006


Screw the current political climate; I'd wear both or neither, myself.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:04 PM on November 8, 2006


Me too, imperium. While of course I respect the soldiers who served (or are serving), I know the various ways that this support can be spun - and few, if any, of these reflect my actual attitude. I would rather opt-out.
posted by arcticwoman at 12:05 PM on November 8, 2006


I stopped wearing the red poppy when the Legion decided it was 'theirs' and prevented others from using it to show support for the veterans.

I am 100% in support of the people who made my country safe. I have relatives who were medalled and recognized heroes in both world wars and a few other conflicts. Those men and women did not fight so that some clubhouse back home could restrict who can legitimately support them.

My father (not a veteran) is a member of the legion just so that he has a cheap place to drink beer. I have no such urge to continue that family tradition.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:34 PM on November 8, 2006


Equally, I'm reluctant to give to Earl Haig's blood fund. That's why I wear nothing, not because I'm tight.
posted by imperium


So you're a loose nudist?
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:06 PM on November 8, 2006


The Legion just does not have the right to ban the use of white poppies. I'd wear a white one. I won't wear a red one, not because I don't remember the dead, because it seems to imply a glorification of war and the military.
posted by orange swan at 1:17 PM on November 8, 2006


In Flanders Field the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row...

Dude could write a poem.
posted by mistermoore at 1:20 PM on November 8, 2006


The Royal Canadian Legion has ordered a cease and desist...

Order away, nobody needs to listen to them. I also don't think they have much of a trademark case. No one is likely to be confused.
posted by caddis at 1:22 PM on November 8, 2006


Kickstart70 - I agree with you wholeheartedly. I had not known until today that the Legion "owns" the red poppy. That is really awful, and seems unethical. I haven't worn one in years as a protest against the glorification of war, but now I have another reason.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:04 PM on November 8, 2006


Fuck the Legion. I'll consider wearing a poppy when they let my grandfather -in-law wear his turban to the local Legion.
posted by docgonzo at 4:13 PM on November 8, 2006


Sadly what gets lost in all this is that the poppy campaign is to raise funds for Canadian and Commonwealth vets, mostly in hospitals and care facilities. This money is entirely seperate from other legion monies (it doesn't go to buy cheap beer). These people need only be vets (or their dependents) and not Legion members to to receive this assistance.

The reason the RCL so vigorously defends its poppy turf is that with less money coming for these services from governments, the Legion tries to fill the void. But I think they go overboard with it sometimes.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 5:52 PM on November 8, 2006


I guess that makes me a bad person, then. I brought a box back from Scotland to Toronto, and they were at the Meeting House.
posted by scruss at 8:14 PM on November 8, 2006


I used to think almost everyone over 40 was full of shit. Now that I am myself over 40, I'm sure of it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:38 AM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Nobody in the peace movement actually thinks the less of individual soldiers who sacrificed their lives, whether the cause was right or wrong, yet that's the way it comes across (or is spun).

I would avoid this generality if I were you. There are some here, including myself, who do not support the troops in the way you claim that everybody does. It isn't all spin.
posted by srboisvert at 2:36 AM on November 9, 2006


I won't wear a red one, not because I don't remember the dead, because it seems to imply a glorification of war and the military.

I don't get that implication. I was alway taught that the wearing of the poppy honoured those who served in past wars, not those serving in current ones. And the sentiment also doesn't imply support for the Legion or its policies either. I see no need to politicize the issue.
posted by rocket88 at 7:12 AM on November 9, 2006


I've always been a strong proponent of wearing poppies. I had always thought they were an extension of the idea "Lest we forget" and that "Lest we forget" meant lest we forget the people that died so that we could have freedom.

FREEDOM is not so when you get to use trademark law to suppress it. I wholeheartedly understand the idea they do not want their trademark diluted. I also believe that no sensible person would EVER confuse the red and white poppies, especially with how the white ones are sold.

I shall no longer wear my poppy, for now and for the future. Lest I forget that the "Lest I forget" poppy really only stands for supporting the war dead and NOT what they died for.

It is a very sad day for this country when those who fought for our freedom decide we have too many.
posted by shepd at 9:24 AM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]



I am 100% in support of the people who made my country safe.


Yes, because Germany was this close to invading Canada.

The history of war has always been working class folks getting slaughtered so the rich can redraw some lines on a map. The tragedy of war is compounded by the irony that vets feel they can only get recognition by glorifying slaughter.

To wear a white poppy, to me, would be to show much greater respect to those who fell.
posted by poweredbybeard at 3:07 PM on November 9, 2006


To wear a white poppy, to me, would be to show much greater respect to those who fell.

The whole point of wearing a poppy is to show respect to others -- in a manner which will be recognized by them. It is certainly not respectful to say to them: 'the recognition you think you are receiving is in fact the perpetuation of a tragic deception' -- even if that is the case. Which it is not.
posted by Urban Hermit at 3:52 PM on November 9, 2006


I think the Urban Hermit has it, why wear a white poppy if no one knows what it means?

"...vets feel they can only get recognition by glorifying slaughter." -- poweredbybeard

I think you are way off base on this one. The vets I know feel the exact opposite and in many cases they personally don't want recognition of what they themselves did.

All they want is for the general public to remember war as a very very bad thing that was fought for our present day freedoms. They want us to value our freedoms and remember those who sacrificed for them. Thats it.

If you were to say something like that to my grandparents, they would either tear you a new one or dismiss you as a nut.
posted by maxpower at 12:12 AM on November 10, 2006


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