oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
“What I’ve seen”, 20 x 20cm, oil on canvas, 2009


“World War I: What Did They Die For?” – that’s the title of the new pamphlet brought out by the Irish Anti-War Movement recently and it makes some important points that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago. While acknowledging the importance of remembering those who died in the war, over 49,000 Irish soldiers among the dead, it cautions against using the commemorations to justify the ongoing militarisation of the world today. At the launch, Reverend Patrick Comerford said that “we must remember them with dignity, with solemnity and sorrow while remembering that the promises upon which the war was waged were sold out on a long time ago”.

War is horrible, terrible. There is no glory… and that one was meant to be ‘the war to end all wars’. I remember from my school days, learning the four causes of the First World War – Militarism, Imperialism, Alliances and Nationalism.  Militarism – the arms industry is booming again these days. Where is that leading to? Flechette bombs, packed with metal darts to cause maximum damage to civilians?  Imperialism – a hundred years ago, the various empires were competing to plunder the riches of Africa and Asia. Now the major powers are jostling to gain control of the depleting resources of the planet, oil, gas, water, uranium.  No, I don’t think that it was a great war, those unfortunate foot soldiers, their lives destroyed. Alliances, the freedom of small nations? – It had nothing to do with the freedom of small nations. Small nations are struggling to survive to this day…

Above, a painting I did a few years ago. Aidan Dunne wrote about it in the Irish Times. See: http://emacl.com/index_files/page0022.htm




  1. No easy answers – We all agree that the events in War are horrific and wonder who gains. But there are times when war is almost inevitable. What to do with the I.S.I.S. regime who want to put all Christians to the knife and perhaps eventually the rest of us who do not agree with their beliefs. Should we bow to the tyrants and accept their beliefs, at least ostensibly? And then be hypocrits.

    Being in a land of peace and plenty I do not know what I would do in a difficult situation. But I do know you are right in that poverty is often the basis of jealousy and fear, and the down trodden see other’s prosperity and are driven to anger and desperation and so to war, to fight for what they think they need and ought to have.

    Peace be with you Charlotte


    • Thanks for that Charlotte, well, I certainly don’t know the answers to this. But it seems to me that it’s in the character of some nations to oppress others. We are not all like that. I think that we have to stand with the oppressed, the downtrodden and protest when we witness aggression. And don’t believe everything you read!


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