Thursday, May 7, 2009

What price honour

As a young (and very foolish boy) I read a book, Legionnaire by Simon Murray, about an English volunteer in the French foreign legion and then had dreams of following in his foot steps. I didn’t luckily, but it did leave me with an interest in the unit and those like it. One of the most redeeming features of the French foreign legion is that after your term of service, around 3 years, or if you have spilled blood for France “Français par le sang versé” you have the option of becoming a French citizen, with all the right of a born Frenchman. This is a clear acknowledgement of Frances debt of honour to those who are prepared to die for her.
How sad that this country, which prides it’s self on its sense of honour and fair play does not treat our foreign volunteers with the same amount of respect and it is left to an actress to stand up and fight for their rights.
The treatment of the Gurkha’s by not just the current government but by all the previous ones is a stain on our countries honour darker than most, and we as a country have some very dark stains. For example: historically, they received a much smaller pension - at least six times less - than British soldiers, although this has now been changed for newer recruits, but not back dated! They don’t get citizenship and the fight at the moment lead by actress Joanna Lumley is aimed at getting them the right to stay in the country they have fought for.
In a time when it seems that any foreign out of work sponger can illegally get into this country and then happily live off our welfare state, when anti British radicals can preach about the downfall of our way of life, while living at its expense and foreign criminals avoid deportation using our own money through legal aid. Our government, in our name, is trying its hardest to alienate one of the few peoples to stand by us for nearly 200 years.
As a young lad I had the honour of seeing the troops come back from the Falklands war, amongst them were members of the Gurkha’s, even surrounded by members of the Royal Marines and other British units they still stood out as examples of the best fighting men you could ever see (to be honest they were quite frightening).
What price honour, even the French (no offense intended) treat the foreign volunteers we a great respect than we do. It’s about time the government showed a fraction of the courage we have come to expect from the Gurkha’s and say they are wrong, make amends and restore some of this countries honour.

This link takes you to the campaign for full Gurkha Justice, it just takes a moment to add your support.

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david mcmahon said...

This is a topic very close to my heart, Brett. I went to school in Darjeeling with the sons of Gurkhas who fought at Tobruk and other major battles, in the uniform of the British Army.

Lisa B said...

Joanna Lumley is doing a fine job.
Have you seen the movie Days of Glory? It's a very powerful film and raises the issue of the French gov not paying pensions to the North African soldiers who fought for them in WW2.


I think the way they've been treated is out of order considering what they've done for us - hopefully things will get better!

Scarlet xoxo

aims said...

Thanks for bringing this topic to my notice Brett.

I had no idea this was going on - I guess I just know.

May the fight continue with success.

Suburbia said...

Thanks for that Brett.

Beautiful photo too :)

travelling, but not in love said...

Brett, the UK treatment of all veterans is shocking. Look at how well a german war veteran is treated compared to a british one and it is enough to make me ashamed of my nation.

Good cause this, well done for highlighting it.

Kim said...

Congrats on the POTD! Very interesting read!

Cheffie-Mom said...

I came over from authorblog. Congrats on the Post of the Day Award.

Pyzahn said...

Nice, nice work. And that photo is amazing!

Butternut Squash said...

That photo is stunning!

I took a trip to Ghorka in Nepal where the Gurkhas came from originally. While I was up there heard a story of bravery, I will never forget. There were a group of Gurkha soldiers who were asked to go on a very dangerous mission behind enemy lines. They were going to be dropped from the plane onto foriegn soil. When asked who would volunteer, every Gurkha stepped forward. So the comander praised them and directed them to a room where they would be taught to use a parachute. With great relief the soldiers said, "We get to use a parachute?!"

Congratulations on the Post of the Day award!

Martin Rye said...

Well said Brett. Honour those who deserve it. Gurkhas deserve honour.

Gordon will give out awards to footballers for kicking a bag of wind around and lets terrorist stay in this country who have hijacked plans and threaten to kill all on board. But those who honour our land and fight to keep us safe he treats with contempt.

the eternal worrier said...

I think that there are some valid points in the posts above but I’m sure if Joanna Lumley walked around the streets of Farnborough, Hampshire (where most of the Gurkha’s have settled) she may find that people have other views.

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