Re-enactment

Napoleon inspects the Guard before the Battle of Jena, 1804

Strange report on the BBC this morning, of a historical re-enactment of the Battle of Jena. (You can read it here.) It might be a spectacular pageant, but the BBC also says that “The Battle of Jena is seen by many of the participants as a symbol of European unity.”

Maybe, but it’s not seen by the advocates of European unity as a symbol of European unity. Quite the contrary, it’s a symbol of European disunity, an example of all that we want to overcome. The wars of that period in Europe, from 1792 to 1815, killed more than 2.5 million soldiers on the battlefield, to say nothing of the wider death, misery and destruction caused.

The participants aren’t doing this for any political purpose. They’re doing it because they like dressing up and acting. Nothing wrong with that, but the BBC shouldn’t report it as if it is somehow a pro-European political act.

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