Pubdate: Thu, 06 Aug 1998
Date: 06/08/1998
Source: Evening News (Norwich UK)
Author: Patrick L. Lilly

The Other Side Of The Wreath Laying Issue

In your opinion column (June 4) "Forget such a foolish tribute" you
say it is "crass" to lay wreaths at a war memorial to memorialise the
dead and living-dead victims of the drug war.

I must disagree

What is crass is to have my parents' generation fight a war against
German fascism in the name of freedom, only to have the governments of
the western democracies turned into fascist police state - which would
make Hitler beam with pride - over the bogeyman of "drugs".

What is crass is to arrest 641,000 Americans last year for violation
of cannabis prohibition, and build Americas prison population to over
1.7 million, most of whom are prohibition victims.

While the phrase "drug war" started out as a cheap political metaphor,
it is no longer so.

This is a "real" war with real casualties, but it is not, as it is
sometimes represented, a war "on drugs". It is, like all wars, a war
against people.

It is a war against people of the US, the people of the UK and,
indeed, now a war against all peoples of the world, by all the
governments of the world.

Those who languish in the prison camps operated by the perpetrators of
this war (not to mention those killed in its atrocious battles) are
just as much prisoners of war as any killed by German or Japanese
fascists 50 years ago.

The horror and the injustice of their captivity is just as real. Their
physical suffering just as real.

So it is "entirely appropriate" for those of us with enough sense,
decency and compassion to oppose this bloody war to lay wreaths to
honour its many victims anywhere and everywhere where they will be

And it is also entirely appropriate for us to invoke the spirit and
goodwill of those who were told they were fighting in an earlier era
to defeat fascism and make the world safe for individual freedom.

Patrick L. Lilly
Colorado Springs USA