Public Health #Distractions — Global Conflict: Lest We Forget

Global conflict is a Public Health issue.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John Mcrae

As we draw close to remembrance services for 100 years after the end of The Great War (World War One) on November 11th 2018 we are reminded of all conflicts and the unimaginable extent of human lives lost, mamed, injured through war and disease.

  1. World War One Casualties

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was about 40 million: estimates range from 15 to 19 million deaths and about 23 million wounded military personnel, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history.

The total number of deaths includes from 9 to 11 million military personnel. The civilian death toll was about 8 million, including about 6 million due to war-related famine and disease. The Triple Entente (also known as the Allies) lost about 6 million military personnel while the Central Powers lost about 4 million. At least 2 million died from diseases and 6 million went missing, presumed dead. This article lists the casualties of the belligerent powers based on official published sources. About two-thirds of military deaths in World War I were in battle, unlike the conflicts that took place in the 19th century when the majority of deaths were due to disease. Nevertheless, disease, including the 1918 flu pandemic and deaths while held as prisoners of war, still caused about one third of total military deaths for all belligerents.

WW1 Uncut — Myths BBC — Posh and Poor Affected Alike

2. 20th Century Conflict Casualties

According to Matthew White’s estimate on the page Worldwide Statistics of Casualties, Massacres, Disasters and Atrocities., a total of about 123 million people died in all wars of the 20th Century, thereof 37 million military deaths, 27 million collateral civilian deaths, 41 million victims of “democide” (genocide and other mass murder) and 18 million victims of non-democidal famine.

3. 1918 ‘Spanish’ Flu Pandemic

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide — about one fifth to one-third of the planet’s population — and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims. Although very unpredictable, influenza outbreaks are known to occur in three patterns: pandemics every 30 to 40 years, with high excess mortality; epidemics much more frequently, with lower excess mortality; and usually mild sporadic outbreaks. With the advent of modern medicine, increased disease surveillance systems and scientific progress we have been able to prevent and mitigate the human cost of infectious disease in recent times.

4. “History is never convenient as the myths we would like to believe.”

History is littered by poets and WW1 is no exception. These brave men and women captured the emotions and horrors of conflict that remind us all that peace is a prize fighting for.

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon