This Remembrance Day season got me thinking of introducing a Rainbow Poppy for next year. I’m not sure if I’m serious about it or not. What I am serious about though is the divisive tendency I see developing in the world around us – No longer do we have the red poppy, but we have the black poppy (or more specifically the BlackPoppyRose), the purple poppy and on 11 November I spotted a white poppy. They’re all good causes in their own right, but exclusive too.
The red poppy in 2015 has been a bone of particular contention. I didn’t wear a red poppy this year, not because I did’t remember or object to what the British Legion are doing but because the wearing of the poppy and the attitudes around it have become commercialised and dogmatic. Someone was telling me on Remembrance Sunday about instructions on how poppies are to be worn!
I’ve been aware of BlackPoppyRose from about 2013 and am still a little unclear regarding the definition of the term All Africans. It implies black, white, Indian and Arab but the site challenges this implication.
I come from the rainbow nation – although that is being called into dispute. However, I think the rainbow is a perfect fit. All the colours are clearly distinguishable with overlaps and mixing between some but all together creating something beautiful and full of promise – a pot of gold at the end if one is patient enough to follow the rainbow.
For this reason, I propose the rainbow poppy:-
the poppy to remember the fallen,
the rainbow for all, irrespective of faith and colour, of all sides caught up in war. I include the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – for those not always seen – those who survived and tried to make the(ir) world a little better.
The colours together produce white – peace can be achieved if all work together.
Perhaps it’s time to go back to the basics behind the silence of Remembrance (and for a slightly different account: The SA Legion): a time to remember those lost, rejoice in relief or to struggle with mixed emotions irrespective of belief and religious view.
This might appear an idealistic view, but as a famous man once said ‘I have a dream‘.