Peter Jackson's - They Shall Not Grow Old

If you haven’t watched Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old - it is well worth watching and is on BBC iplayer.

It is staggering what adding some colour and voices adds to the 1st World War scenes.

They Shall Not Grow Old:

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I learned recently that “They shall not grow old…” is not true to the original which reads “They shall grow not old…”, and one wonders why, if this commemoration is about doing justice to history, and to the earlier generations who died to preserve ‘our way of life’ , people should play fast and loose with our literary heritage.

And "… nor the years condemn… " is also a misquotation. The verb is ‘contemn’ not ‘condemn’.

An old curmudgeon speaks out! :confounded:

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Do you know John McCrae’s In Flanders Field?
It is very apposite for our times.

I had read it, Jane, but needed to be reminded to revisit it.

It’s a fine poem, beautifully crafted and a measure, perhaps, of the depths of bitterness and sense of betrayal of some of those who fought, and perhaps some of the latter who survived to be witness to the futility of war.

I can not agree with the call to endless and perhaps mindless vengeance against the foe, but then McRea does not name the foe, which lack of specificity redeems the poem in my eyes. But then, I’m inclined to idealism, if not to idealisation.

I’ve not watched it as I don’t have i player…or rather iplayer is restricted here…well for me it is…

I have seen some of those videos where colour has been added to old footage…I had a book back in uk…lots of war photos…stories told…turning each page made me cry…I was in the process of pressing a fresh wildflower between all the pages…

They are bombing Gaza tonight as I type…

Myth 10…

10. The war achieved anything worthwhile whatsoever.

The war opened up a period of endemic economic dislocation, and outright crisis. In Britain there was a decade of industrial decline and high unemployment even before the Great Depression. In effect, it was only the Second World War which brought the major capitalist powers out of the slump. The First World War saw the point at which capitalism became addicted to war and to a permanent arms economy. The war demonstrated the capacity of capitalism to create industrialised waste, carnage and destruction on a colossal scale. The remembrance of the war is appropriately a time for mourning the horror, the loss and the waste of it all, but it should also provoke a determination to resist our rulers’ insistence on promoting war to further their interests. War can achieve nothing other than to create the conditions for further wars.

Popular opinion has, ever since its ending, remembered the First World War as a time of horrendous and futile misery and slaughter, as epitomising political and military leaders’ incompetence and callous disregard for human life. That popular judgement, which has helped turn common opinion against war in general, was correct, and we must not let the war mongers dismiss this instance of the wisdom of ordinary people.”

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Just beautiful…!

“And if you want me off this stage then you’re gonna have to send security up ‘ere…and they’d better send an army…”

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A teacher showed the film to his Year 12 Class… with great results…

I can’t wait to watch this by some means or other… I’m still looking… :thinking:

@Stella just try a vpn.

I was unaware of these misreadings until I heard BBC Radio 4s ‘The Moral Maze’ the other day…

I’ve always known it as 'They shall grow not old ’

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It is of course a small departure from the original, Kouta Lakis, and may be lost on many, but not, perhaps, on elderly people for whom the resonances of older forms of speech have emotional significance still, and are worth honouring, as we honour those who died in a futile war in which there were no victories worth celebrating, and only so much, too much, to mourn.

My late mum used to go mad when it was read the wrong way round

The last two paragraphs of comment in your last post, @Helen6, are very moving for me, and show how the true sentiment of those who had direct experience of WW1 has been misrepresented and distorted in the years since.

As a young man in the 1950s working in an East End hospital I met many veterans of WW1 who were still in their 50s, many had been gassed, many bore physical scars of wounds received, almost all were mentally scarred, and I recollect none at all who believed the war was anything other than a gross betrayal of the ordinary man on both sides, and a futile waste of life and resources. Never to be repeated: “a war to end all wars”.

There are many instances of “Lest We Forget” in print and voice at the moment and although I understood the essence of what was meant I have to admin that I have no idea of what “Lest” meant. I have since looked it up.

I do wonder of the message is to be understood by more people that it could make sense to say/write “We Must Not Forget”.

In terms of Not Forget I think it should cover the fallen, the overall waste of lives and also not forget the the reasons for the conflict so that lessons can be learned.

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My speech last Sunday… was somewhat along those lines: We must never forget…

and then I went on, using some strong language, as I described what it was that we must always remember…:hushed:

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Lest has more of a meaning “that we may not forget” than “that we must not forget”, Mat.

As in “It looks like rain, so take your brolly lest you get wet.”

It is not an imperative. This is why I deprecate the unnecessary emphasis given to “We WILL remember them”, which seems to imply that to do so is compulsory. As in “you WILL eat your spinach, or you’ll be served it at your next meal”

Another instance of not-so-subtle pressure to conform, lest one incurs social disfavour.

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:roll_eyes::grin::thinking: In my opinion… We must never forget… lest we suffer the consequences… :relaxed::relaxed: (and I’m not talking about social disfavour :thinking: )

My father was rarely furious… but he certainly was on one occasion when someone blithely spouted… what we need is a b’’'dy good war…

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I do respect your opinion, Stella. Your father remembered because he had direct experience of war, even if he was not personally a combattant. Remembering is as much a visceral, felt experience, as a cognitive one, probably more so. You remember your father’s fury because you witnseed it, felt its force.

That’s true remembering. You don’t have to told that you mustn’t forget it, you can’t forget.

People with no direct experience of war cannot be made to remember it, any more than they can be made to remember the date of the Repeal of the Corn Laws or when Stevenson built the Rocket.

Today’s generation may vaguely remember a video they watched or the march-past of veterans at the Cenotaph, but to many it will be the stuff of old fogeys, grave faces and stff ceremonial involving politicians and brass bands. Yuk!

Young people are more interested in what’s happening in Yemen, assassination in Turkey, and the slaughter of their stone-throwing counterparts in Gaza and the West Bank, shot down for protesting against Israeli oppression.

That’s what they’ll remember, not what they’re told they mustn’t forget.

I suspect that you are underestimating today’s folk… especially those who now have the opportunity to see the original filming of WW1… how that stark reality varies from today’s computer-war-games etc…

War is always ruthless and bloody… that is what we must never forget…and, sadly, across today’s world… there are kids as well as adults, who have direct experience of such… :neutral_face:

I have never had personal experience of War… but I do believe it to be bloody and ruthless…from what I have seen on TV (no, not fake news) etc… and my young nephew talking (only briefly) about his time in Afghanistan … and I do believe that all carnage and horror should never be forgotten…for the sake of the future…

We can go round and round Peter… and I suspect neither of us is far apart from the other’s viewpoint… :thinking: