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HARRY'S GAME

28-07-2009

WWI War grave

This autumn, a service will be held in Westminster Abbey for Harry Patch, the oldest surviving Tommy from the trenches of World War One, who has just died at the age of 111. Barbara Panvel considers an alternative memorial.

What would be the greatest tribute to Harry Patch? A state funeral - or listening to his wise, heartfelt words and acting on them?

His experience led him to believe that war is organised murder and nothing else
the calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings - not worth one death let alone all the millions”.

Perhaps remembering the practice of single combat centuries ago, between two warriors selected as the champions of their respective armies, he said:

"If governments want to fight, give them a rifle each and let them fight it out together."

Would Tony Blair have risked his own skin and faced Saddam Hussein?

Or would he gladly have followed Harry’s advice and used his ready tongue to “settle peace round a table” without losing millions of men?

It’s too late to ask Harry for his opinion of peaceful and prosperous countries such as Sweden and New Zealand, whose foreign policy prohibits them from attacking others - but not too late for readers to campaign for this country to develop a civilised foreign policy.

As another wise man wrote on the Stirrer message board “War is and never was the way to solve problems between people and nations”.

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