Friday, June 08, 2007

On Siegfried Sassoon

My goodness this stuff fires me up indeed!

Here's an extract from Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time Newsletter which is normally sent out following the BBC Radio 4 Programme of the same name that airs on a Thursday morning.

The subject of the programme this week was "Siegfried Sassoon - the poet who survived"

Here we go:

"I got the date of the declaration wrong. I said it was printed in The
Times in June; in fact he wrote it in June but it was printed in The
Times in July. Given what’s going on in the world at the moment and
what people are saying about the wars that British soldiers are now
fighting, I thought you might like to read the whole of it. It’s
extraordinary to think that this was on the front of The Times in 1917:

"I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military
authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately
prolonged by those who have the power to end it.
I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I
believe that this war, upon which I entered as a war of defence and
liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I
believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow-soldiers entered
upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it
impossible to change them, and that, had this been done, the objects
which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have
seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be
a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil
and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but
against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men
are being sacrificed. On behalf of those who are suffering now I make
this protest against the deception which is being practiced on them;
also I believe that I may help to destroy the callous complacence with
which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of
agonies which they do not share, and which they have not sufficient
imagination to realize."

I hope the BBC don't mind me using this. they get full credit, especially Melvyn. . . I love his work!


At 16:33, Blogger Ray Mutch said...

There was a correction issued in teh last day or so saying that the article in question was not it seems on the front cover of the Times but inside the paper.

Academic if you ask me. The fact that it appeared at all was a minor miracle in my view.



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