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Respect for the dead has to be upheld
RESPECT for their dead is one of the few values generally shared by people throughout the world regardless of their faith or race.
The degree of respect shown is however a different matter.
In traditional Chinese society for example no-one will consider living in a flat overlooking a cemetery because of the energy that is believed to emanate from it.
At Repulse Bay on Hong Kong island there is a huge multi-storey block of flats quite deliberately built with a large hole in the middle of it so that spirits from a nearby graveyard can pass through unhindered.
Some traditional tribal lands are considered sacred by Australian aborigines because the spirits of their ancestors are believed to live on in them.
For generations white Australians totally failed to understand or respect the deeply-felt hurt caused when international companies charged in and began gigantic open cast mining operations on such sites.
It may seem an enormous jump in scale to last week’s row about an overgrown war grave in Darwen Cemetery – but surely the principle is the same.
In several continents the Commonwealth War Graves Commission – and its German and other counterparts – do a superb job of ensuring the last resting places of the fallen are kept clean and tidy.
That’s no easy task either considering the sometimes extremely isolated places around the globe where our servicemen and women gave their lives in the 20th century’s two world wars not to mention other conflicts like Malaya, Korea, the Falklands and the Gulf Wars.
In the case of the overgrown Darwen grave the British Legion have rightly pointed out the contrast with the spotless cemeteries in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The Commission say they are going to contact the council who are supposed to do the gardening work on their behalf.
Meanwhile Coun Faryad Hussain, borough executive member for environmental improvements, said: “We hope to finish the current grass cutting cycle soon.
Clearly all services have been hit by the huge cuts.”
Everyone knows that local authorities have been hit hard on spending and keeping grass cut in cemeteries may not have the highest priority.
But it is a shame that despite the fact that there are many competing demands respect for those who came before us seems to have been allowed to slip down the scale of importance.