A FB poster put up a comment on the relevance of the song The Green Fields of France (TGFoF), better known as 'Willy McBride' on today of all days.
Searching through Google I came across a scenario that plays out thus: Willy McBride replies to the lyrics written by Eric Bogle to the original song. A song that is lauded by many as a great anti-war, song. The lyrics to Willy's response are penned by Stephen L Suffet.
The reply sung now by Willy himself is performed using the same tune as TGFoF. The people on the site I found this song regard this response to be a great tribute to Eric Bogle's original. I think it misses the point of not only what Eric strove to achieve; I honestly think that Suffet, the lyricist, has distorted history and has taken Willy in.
Down the decades Willy and the hundreds of thousands of the butchered and slain have heard the shrill reminder of military bugles blown in their honour. No peace for these heroes as the great and the good take over the show every November. Sombre faces, graver than even the rows of stones that keep the young fallen on eternal parade.
Indeed, so great is the hypocrisy of a ceremony that was intended to mark the war that ended all wars, that as each and every war is filed away and buried, so the dead are paraded in the grisly roll call of the deceased. Why would we end wars, when we have a cast of unemployed actors willing to perform a dance of death around the cenotaph every year; and soldiers from poor backgrounds willing to make up the roll call.
Hate to break the news to you Willy, you being dead and all. But, there was a massive difference between the causes of people of Flanders and their Irish counterparts in 1914. Little Belgium was never going to be permanently subsumed into a Greater Germanic Empire; she would have returned to being little Belgium after the end of hostilities.
Your Ireland on the other hand, despite promises made to gain support from Irish nationalists prior to the war, was never going to gain independence by peaceful means. Ireland was even denied independent representation, granted to other small countries such as Belgium, at the Peace Conference of 1919.
"So young Willy McBride they fed you a lie
All neatly packaged and easy to buy
For oppression was also their stock in trade
And out in no man's land you were finally betrayed
When a capitalist bullet ripped from you your breathAnd lying in agony you went on to meet death."