Lest we remember

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whitepoppy2

It’s ANZAC Day. The day we become flag blinded and worship the glorious dead. No questions of why we sent so many of our best and brightest into the mincers of war, no questions of military and political incompetence, no questions of what exactly we have learned weeping beside the graves of the fallen, just a wide eyed desperation to  ‘commemorate’ and hold that up as our national identity.

If we want to respect the glorious dead, then surely it is as the current generation  promising the next generation that we won’t ever waste their precious lives for the obscenity of war. That is how we remember the dead, by demanding from ourselves that we never make the same broken mistakes of the past.

Seeing as the story of our conscientious objectors is only now being examined in popular culture, I doubt we have the maturity as a nation to move beyond the flag waving to learn anything .

A poem for John Key on the ANZAC Day a NZer was drone assassinated by our ally America.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

The Gunner’s Lament

A Maori gunner lay dying
In a paddyfield north of Saigon,
And he said to his pakeha cobber,
“I reckon I’ve had it, man!

‘And if I could fly like a bird
To my old granny’s whare
A truck and a winch would never drag
Me back to the Army.

‘A coat and a cap and a well-paid job
Looked better than shovelling metal,
And they told me that Te Rauparaha
Would have fought in the Vietnam battle.

‘On my last leave the town swung round
Like a bucket full of eels.
The girls liked the uniform
And I liked the girls.

‘Like a bullock to the abattoirs
In the name of liberty
They flew me with a hangover
Across the Tasman Sea,

‘And what I found in Vietnam
Was mud and blood and fire,
With the Yanks and the Reds taking turns
At murdering the poor.

‘And I saw the reason for it
In a Viet Cong’s blazing eyes –
We fought for the crops of kumara
And they are fighting for the rice.

‘So go tell my sweetheart
To get another boy
Who’ll cuddle her and marry her
And laugh when the bugles blow,

‘And tell my youngest brother
He can have my shotgun
To fire at the ducks on the big lagoon,
But not to aim it at a man,

‘And tell my granny to wear black
And carry a willow leaf,
Because the kid she kept from the cold
Has eaten a dead man’s loaf.

‘And go and tell Keith Holyoake
Sitting in Wellington,
However long he scrubs his hands
He’ll never get them clean.’

James K Baxter
1965

It’s important for us to pay lip service on ANZAC Day, it isn’t necessary that we learn anything.

29 COMMENTS

  1. When will we learn to rebuff the lies we are fed
    And castigate the fools among us that push for war

    Greed and power attracts opportunist to feed from the crumbs
    And ignore the catastrophic pain and misery their palaver engenders
    As step by step they build a platform for conflict.

    Our enemies lie within our reach
    Profiteers for their own ilk
    And we all pay dearly over and over

    War is a shocking business
    But business to many is their livelihood
    and death or unspeakable misery to others.

    But always profitable to the banks on both sides.

  2. Yep, the Herald, TV’s 1,2 and 3, sundry politicians and other big wigs give Anzac day the substance of a plastic Air New Zealand tiki.

    Patronising instructions for “us” on how to feel and behave on “our” day….. Spare us the insincerity for this day or for reason we have wars, that ultimate human failing, which is always for someones personal gain!

  3. What an insulting, insensitive load of poorly researched nonsense to post on Anzac Day.

    Any informed readers will no doubt read this for what it really is, a poorly timed and attempted cheap shot to derail all that our brave and patriotic Anzacs fought for, namely a free democratic society.

    Shame, Mr Bradbury

    • If that’s a genuine posting – I pity your innocence.

      Otherwise – a simple (sarcasm alert) will suffice.

      I wonder what those on The Other Side were fighting for… It probably wasn’t dictatorship and oppression. Perhaps a response to the depressions of the 1890s or 1930s: you know, one less mouth at home to feed and having money to send home for Mum and the siblings.

      And here we are, sixty plus years later, having a political party promising, simply promising, to stop putting veterans through indignities to claim a slightly plumper pension. Woohoo! Democracy! Not.

    • Maybe I’m out of step with the entire universe but I was under the impression that we remember Gallipoli for the incredible incompetence of the British generals and as a lesson that we were better off in charge of our own destiny.

      As a nation building idea this has some merit – as a lesson in how the powerful become complacent, uncaring and stupid it has loads of merit. We should never entrust our future to their type.

      It’s just a pity no one makes the connection between the British toffs back then and the current lot in power in NZ now – who most definitely are uncaring, most likely are incompetent and hopefully are becoming complacent.

      • You’ve got your history wrong. It was the Australian leadership who failed the Anzac troops at Gallipoli, not the British.

      • That old myth about us being squandered by British Brass is a dangerous load of old cobblers. Read more history and grow up. Please.

        • Thanks for setting the standard in mature behavior Stephen, I’ll try to be more like you in the future.

          • General Hamilton knew exactly what was being faced – he expected casualties of 50% or more. The landing plans were changed to give the ANZACS the best chance of success and the actual landings went OK – it was the fact the land was so rugged that stalled the advance and led to failure. One of the Australian generals wanted to pull out after the first day, knowing that they had already been blocked, but Hamilton said no, leading to 8 more months of needless slaughter….

  4. Alternative ANZAC day programe 7.30pm this evening:

    Don Franks Music Wellington Access radio 783AM

  5. The ANZAC mantra – “lest we forget” but we do forget – we forget how futile war is, how young lives are lost, how families are torn apart – how our enemies are now our friends – why waste wonderful young lives in this way? Those who fought don’t talk about it much – but when they do many say they would never go back. Our whanau mourns the death of a friend in Afghanistan – a bright young person who the world is missing out on. Let us focus on love and compassion rather than violence and war

    • War is not futile. That is a lie spread by those who would appease terrorists and despots. Regrettably sometimes war is the only way to ensure freedom for future generations.

      • Freedom cannot be ensured for future generations, they will invariably have their own struggles to overcome.

      • Dear oh dear, now I know the flea brain rationale that not only created the class riddled elite society prior to but also started World War One.

        Need a damned good war every now and then to sort out the men from the boys eh? Is that how we rid ourselves of despot Key?

        • Who on earth suggested that? WW2 in particular was about defeating a facist dictator who threatened the peace and freedom of millions of people across the planet. What other methods would you suggest for stopping Hitler, the Chamberlain option?

    • War is sometimes the only way to stop a despot. Hitler was responsible for enslaving tens of millions and the genocide of millions. He wasn’t going to respond to a nice cup of tea, as liberals would have us believe.

      • What a bizarre argument, liberals are out trying to convince the world that Chamberlain was right?

        Truly you live in an intriguing universe.

  6. Speaking of propaganda and war -the generation of ‘martial spirit’ – our entire state and other media ignored at every turn evidence of western covert pre-coup actions in Ukraine, and are not reporting balanced responses toward it right now.
    US/NATO have been identified and have identified themselves provocateuring in Ukraine, in alliance with right sector Nazi thugs-
    Lest we forget. In Syria, US/NATO and alQaeda/alNusra. Ukraine, USNATO and Svoboda.

    While it is all over the net, we do not hear it being presented mainstream. Voltairenet. and Boilingfrogspost and rt. quite clearly off-set the rhetoric and bias of Kerry/NATO bloc. Question is, at this 100th year of WW1, and with all we know of methods of propaganda, Why are New Zealander’s NOT hearing balanced time-line/context reporting of the 5 billion dollars spent by US Dept.State and clandestine services thru USAID/Canvas/NED etc – Soros, Omidyar McCain etal, actually ORGANISING revolution with brown shirt Svoboda in Ukraine?
    Up to and including use of snipers in the Maidan ? Reported by William Engdahl and obliquely confirmed by Paet/Ashton, as operation GLADIO.
    AssSecState Victoria Nuland was recorded planning the coup, blatantly interfering in the sovereign politics of Ukraine’; A charge she hurled at Putin moments after being recorded IN Kiev, on the phone to US Ambassador Pyatt saying “Fuck the EU”.
    Lest we forget THAT display of hypocrisy and interference in sovereign politics of Ukraine !

    Full reporting is not getting thru. By absence of balance, programmed to appoint the next enemy.

    US/NATO are after a fight in Russia. WHY! That is the question I would ask the young ones stood in silence at the cenotaph.

    • @ Remo: “Why are New Zealander’s NOT hearing balanced time-line/context reporting of the 5 billion dollars spent by US Dept.State and clandestine services thru USAID/Canvas/NED etc – Soros, Omidyar McCain etal, actually ORGANISING revolution with brown shirt Svoboda in Ukraine?
      Up to and including use of snipers in the Maidan ?”

      Yes, I’ve noticed this too. I’d have thought that, without any other evidence being needed, the by-now-well-known history of US meddling in other countries’ affairs, in pursuit of some foreign policy objective or other, would have prompted the MSM here to dig deeper into why US pollies and diplomats are interesting themselves in the Ukraine’s political woes.

      But it seems not… Then again, many journalists are young. They haven’t lived long enough to have seen much of the way in which Uncle Sam does things foreign policy-wise. And if they haven’t studied history or politics at university, they may well know nothing about this stuff. And when you don’t know stuff, you don’t realise, not only that you don’t know it, but also how much you don’t know. And you don’t know what to be sceptical about – or indeed, that you should be sceptical at all. Meanwhile, the public gets a completely distorted picture of what’s going on in the Ukraine.

  7. @ Remo: “US/NATO are after a fight in Russia. WHY!”

    There are differing views about this.

    One is that the end of the cold war rendered Nato irrelevant; the US can’t have that, because the dissolution of Nato would deprive it of a vehicle for meddling in Europe (and of somewhere to put all those soldiers where they won’t cause trouble at home). So picking a fight with Russia revives Nato’s relevance to some extent.

    Another is plain old-fashioned spite; Nato/EU were hoping to get the Ukraine in their camp, and thought they had it in the bag with the agreement being offered by the EU. Unfortunately, Yanukovich wouldn’t sign the economic part of the agreement, because of the damage that would have been done to the Ukraine economy by the EU proposals (NB: the interim government hasn’t signed it either, and for the same reasons). He turned to Russia for help: as we know, the rest is history. The US and Nato don’t really want the Ukraine, but they’ll see it bombed to dust before they’ll let Russia get its hands on it.

    A third is that the interim government in Kiev is picking the fight because it wants Russia to invade. This is because it’s lost control of the ultra-nationalists and neo-nazi militia, whose violence is damaging its credibility. So it hopes that a Russian invasion will deal to the right-wing militias.

    So there you are; pick the one which seems the most plausible.

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