SIN is an unfashionable word. But waging war is a terrible sin. And those who get excited when they see it on television are also committing crimes. It’s not a game and I can’t watch.
I hate it when people give my kids a toy gun. I throw them out when no one is looking. However, I admire the military’s codes of honor, take pride in Ireland’s UN peacekeeping operations, and know that if the Russians show up, stand and fight, it’s a moral imperative. .
Or is it?
For pacifists, a just war like this puts their faith to a difficult test. Recently, I discovered that family ties are rigorously tested by peaceful principles.
In January, my parents and I attended the funeral of our cousin, former UCD classicist Mary Brennan. Mary’s mother is my grandmother, Molly Nugent, and her father is Sean, one of the smart Brennans from Bandon.
Sean’s brother Joseph was a Cambridge economist who advised Michael Collins on Free State economics and became secretary of the Treasury and governor of the Central Bank.
At lunch after the funeral, I was sitting with a lovely English woman who introduced herself as Cath Attlee.
“What’s wrong with Clement?” I say.
I couldn’t believe it when she said, “Yes, he is my grandfather. My grandfather is Tom Attlee, his brother. ”
I’m glad I went to that funeral.
It turns out that Cath’s mother, Peggy, is the daughter of Jerry Brennan, another brother of Joe and Sean. Sadly, Peggy was born 4 months after Jerry died in World War I.
But she had a Brennan brain and earned her famous PPE – Philosophy, Politics and Economics – at Oxford, where she met Patrick Attlee, Tom’s son. They married in 1941 when Patrick was on leave from the army, injured, and evacuated from Dunkirk.
Peggy, who died in 2018 at the age of 99, became a British Labor councilor. With her father killed in one war and her husband narrowly escaping death in another, she was an ardent pacifist. Cath was also an active member of the British Labor Party, belonging to the Corbynite wing.
Tom Attlee must have inspired Peggy, for while Clement fought on the eastern front in World War I, Tom was imprisoned as a conscientious objector.
Attlees is well off. Tom and Clement studied separately and went to Oxford. It was Tom who showed Clement the terrible poverty of London’s East End, convincing each of them to become socialists.
But Tom’s socialism was of a Christian type, and when war broke out, the brothers took different paths.
At 31, Clement was deemed too old to serve but enlisted nonetheless. He contracted dysentery in Gallipoli but declined the opportunity to go home. He recovered in Malta and demanded a return to the front lines. He became the penultimate man to be evacuated from Suvla. The last one was General Maude.
As Labor Party leader in Britain’s War Cabinet, he supported Churchill’s refusal to sue for peace after the fall of France.
When Labor won a resounding post-war victory, he brought about major changes to England, including to the NHS.
What about poor Tom? As a “conchie”, he was sentenced to three months of hard labor in Wormwood Scrubs and another year in Wandsworth Military Prison. But in reality, it’s a life sentence.
He was an architect and the stigma of dedicated opposition ruined him. He never really worked again.
The shame was so great that after the war the family moved to Cornwall, far from the judgment of polite society.
But as Cath said Guardians In 2014 in a piece marking the centennial of the war, Attlees’ mother, Ellen, was very proud of both sons: each acted bravely because of their convictions.
While Cath continued Tom and Peggy’s tradition of peace and marched against the wars, she realized that Clement could never have played such a historic role in the British governments without the lake. his World War I profile. And Tom himself was proud when his two sons fought in the Second World War. With Hitler it was different.
That’s the problem with principles: how far does one go? Some protested serving in the medical corps, but not taking up arms. Others are authoritarian, like the American Hofer brothers. Enlisted in World War I, brothers Michael, Joseph, and David even refused to wear American military uniforms. Their treatment in prison was so harsh, real torture, that Michael and Joseph died in prison.
Peggy Attlee’s Christian pacifism is the kind ofism that seeks to ensure it never goes to war. For example, in the 1980s, through the Catholic organization Pax Christi, she arranged visits to pacifists in Russia.
Did the West do enough to avoid this war or did they think, like Hitler and Czechoslovakia, that Putin would be satisfied with Crimea?
If the severe sanctions that are in place now were enacted in 2014, would it have come to this extent?
I am no expert on Russia, but I am an expert on bullies, and you must fight them soon. By the time their tanks arrived, it was too late to debate the ethics of war.
With our comfortable removal, we don’t have problems with difficult principles.
Tom Attlee paid dearly for his principles. Hofers paid with his life. Jerry Brennan paid with his, and the Ukrainians are now paying with theirs.
All we have to pay is higher oil prices. I won’t complain too loudly. It’s cheaper than a life.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/pacifist-beliefs-are-tested-but-when-tanks-arrive-its-too-late-to-debate-the-morality-of-war-41437935.html The pacifist faith was tested, but when the tanks arrived, it was too late to debate the ethics of war.