If only we could commemorate and celebrate peace the way we do war



Before we mouth empty words of praise on ANZAC Day – please consider that our World War 1 myth of happy go lucky adventurers standing up for what was good and right is a lie. It was conscription and feral abuses of power were given to the State to punish dissenting opinion. That’s the antithesis of democracy. We were slaughtered for King and Country in 1915 and we are slaughtering for 5 Eyes in 2015.

That ANZAC Day has been welded on as a justification for our re-invasion of Iraq and mass surveillance powers is a desecration to the sacrifices those who did die and suffered made.

This current wallowing in militarism is an affront to the dignity of those who were forced to fight for a pointless blood bath. Such cultural propaganda serves the current war mongers, it does nothing for those who paid the price.

Remembrance can never be used as an excuse for forgetting the atrocity of going to war in the first place. The dead deserve nothing less.

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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



  1. A good blog Martyn.
    I’ve noticed no reference whatsoever by the hawkish media to James K’s father’s experience of WWI. He was a conscientious objector at a time (as is the present) when objection to war and killing was seen as treasonable. He paid a severe price for those beliefs but you won’t hear anything about that because today is a day for governmental whitewashing not remembering those that died.
    I will remember my war deceased relatives my own way and it will not involve the militaristic jingoism that has become the hallmark of organised remembrance in this country.

  2. Let’s face it! War is much more exciting than peace. When you have war you have energy, patriotism, nationalism, heroism and probably a lot of other isms. But when you have peace, you just have……..peace! Borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring! Peace is for cowards, trendy lefty liberals, gays and women! Real men go to war, gladly! They lay down their lives for King and country. They don’t ask why.
    Actually the bravest men in the world are those who have stood up and demanded peace, but usually they have only been regarded as brave in retrospect. Like the conscientious objectors in the two world wars. At the time they were vilified as cowards and traitors. Decades later, they are being recognized (as least by some) as people who bravely stood up for their principles.
    I have an ancestor (a great-great uncle, I think) who was a conscientious objector in the Great War in Britain. He was physically and mentally abused for his “cowardice” and forced to become a stretcher bearer in the Belgian trenches. His job was probably more dangerous than that of a fighting soldier as he had to venture, under enemy fire, outside the trenches to retrieve wounded and dead soldiers. Does that sound like the activities of a coward? What did these men return to if they survived? A life of shame, ostracism and economic hardship (they were often denied the benefits of the fighting soldiers, failed marriages and mental anguish – all because they stood up for their beliefs that it was not the Christian way to kill your fellow human beings.
    It is a pity that peace is not celebrated as much here as is war. We fail to realize how lucky we are that we have so much peace that we can celebrate but yet we only give it lip service. There are many many people throughout the world that can only dream of the kind of peace that we regard as the norm in New Zealand, so why don’t we celebrate that more?
    Perhaps it is all about money. War is profitable for a few, peace is profitable for many but unfortunately the few hold most of the political power in the world and the needs of the many do not matter to them.
    I look forward to the day that instead of having ANZAC day, we will have a NZ day celebrating the peace that we have and the peace we wish others could achieve.

  3. Let’s also not forget the Waikato and Taranaki Maori (et al), who also refused to go and were treated appallingly.

  4. +100…Great Post…the returned servicemen will be turning in their graves

    “That ANZAC Day has been welded on as a justification for our re-invasion of Iraq and mass surveillance powers is a desecration to the sacrifices those who did die and suffered made.

    This current wallowing in militarism is an affront to the dignity of those who were forced to fight for a pointless blood bath. Such cultural propaganda serves the current war mongers, it does nothing for those who paid the price.”

  5. Here is a speech to be read at the funeral of the first NZ’er to be killed in Iraq if this should unfortunately come to pass.

    We are gathered here today to remember Private Joe Bloggs. He gave his life training the soldiers of a corrupt Iraqi Shia government whose lack of inclusiveness towards the Sunni people , who formerly controlled Iraq, led to the establishment of ISIS and a civil war that has no prospect of ending. He fought on NZ’s behalf to protect NZ from “terrorism”, the last recourse of a powerless subjugated people, who have lost over a million lives thanks to the war bought to their country by the USA . Thanks Joe your death has made the world a safer more humane place (strike that out) no difference whatsoever and was beyond pointless. You were a pawn in the great game of the USA in which it is going all out to protect its position as owner of the worlds reserve currency and thus the fortunes of their financial elite. While oil is traded in $US it can print money and there will be a bottomless demand for $US so the USA can live at the expense of the rest of the world while pretending to protect it. It has installed puppet governments all around the world, maybe even NZ, that it can coerce into supporting it so that it can maintain the charade that the USA is necessary for the safety and security of the world. All the while it attacks and destroys any government that might possibly trade oil in another currency. Libya, Iraq, Syria and unsuccessfully Russia.
    So thanks again Joe for supporting the 1% in America and Europe who are insanely wealthy and too soft to actually do their own fighting.
    I am sure Joe will appreciate the inscription on his tombstone “America’s way of life is Non-Negotiable”
    RIP Joe

    • To enforce your words IKE, which are right on the nail. Look at Wake Up Kiwi today which tells of criminal ways of the war mongers for their own gain , tells of ISIS and America funding and support ,and our government sends troops to a phony war.
      American John Key dosnt give a damn how many will suffer .
      America is blaming Russia and Putin for the devastation and control of Ukraine,when UE opened the door for America to get into Ukraine to control it and get close to Russian border to get into Russia to control that.
      Read the article its the only way you will know whats going on in the world, and Daily Blog is our way of highlighting whats wrong with
      New Zealand. New Zealand Herald certainly wont .
      John Key takes his lead from America, blames the victim
      (all the countries they have invaded in the name of democracy) and John Keys blaming of the left side of politics. Its worn thin now and anyone who trusts John Key has their heads in the sand and refuses to see the truth.
      The ponytail saga has done a good thing in highlighting TDB we have a voice at last,well done TDB.

  6. Peace is a matter of public and good, empathy for others and compromise.

    The rich and powerful will not have their greed compromised.

  7. Good grief, I am glad that ANZAC Day is nearly over, as I had enough of all this “remembrance”, of the media spending “news” and “current affairs” reporting on almost nothing else, but the special services and some historic reflections on a battle that went bad a hundred years ago.

    I know few countries, where there is such an obsession with past military adventures, and if the battle for Gallipoli is meant to have laid the “foundation” for the new nationhood of Australia and New Zealand, I am indeed depressed.

    So there were 30,000 at the Dawn Service at the Auckland Domain, 20,000 in Wellington, and many more at other services in other cities and towns all over New Zealand. Good, a moment of serious reflection is good, but the radio and TV media went crazy with the “celebrations”.

    This is almost “war memorial fetishism” a form of emotional “mass masochism”.

    But then again, after all this, I saw more people rushing to the malls and shops in the afternoon, to be honest, probably over a million across the nation, I also noticed that Radio Live even ran commercial ads in the morning, and other media did so after lunchtime.

    So what is more important, military history and reflections on “lost soldiers” in various families, or consumerism, or is there perhaps any space and time for something else?

    I fear too many people do not value much these days, they seem to be more like robots, brain tuned robots, rushing about to get things done, and to work, work, consume and forget their neighbours and relatives. New wars seem to be prepared, or the participation in them, I cannot think of another reason for all this over the top “remembering”.

    Do they not tell people who lost close ones to try and find “closure”?

    Why can those tens of thousands that went to the Dawn Services and other meetings, and even to Gallipoli, not find CLOSURE, and rather look to the future, a better future, without wars, without battles, without fights, without endless competition, mistrust, hatred and suspicion?

    Is there something in us humans, that enslaves us in tribal and basic instinct behaviour, to think and behave more along the “blood and honour” line, than in reason? I fear that there may be something to it, and that may explain that the mistakes of the past get repeated again and again, that new wars start, and that new disasters and genocides take place.

    Personally I keep well away from all this, and try to stay sane, and look at what really matters. I observe how commercialism, the excesses of capitalism, and economic competition are in themselves forms of warfare. It seems humans do generally like “fighting” and war, as they continue to engage in it, rather than build a collective, better organised, healthy and socially minded society, that is also more sustainable and can live in some harmony with nature.

    So all I can do is hope, that more may wake up, and keep clear also from the new modern day war preparation exercises, such as the over the top ANZAC celebrations we have seen.

    Have a good week ahead!

    • Well said Mike ,if only we could get all the people at Anzac services to
      gather to mourn and protest the loss of freedom because of this government .
      ANZAC day has always been important to NZs but these days its to highlight patriotism to enable America to entice people to join their wars.
      In years to come maybe we will have a ceremony to mark the people killed in Americas wars all over the world.

  8. while it may or may not be good and fitting to die for your country, it most certainly isn’t to die for favourable trade agreements and imperial ambitions of other countries.

  9. what do you think NZ would look like now if we, aussie and the us did not enter ww2 against the germans and japs? would we be speaking german or japanese do you think? or would they have left us alone as conscientious objectors of their imperial aspirations?

    • Dosnt alter the fact that world war 2 like all other wars were manufactured by the elite and power mad.
      Germany had no intention of invading Britain,but British elite wanted their share of control, so declared war on Germany.
      The people of Britain appreciated NZ and Australian help,we weren’t aware then of the cause of war,Germanys elite made a lot of money as did British and eventually American.Hitler was the puppet for the elite, who always choose fanatics and egotistical people to head the war effort.
      Its no different today ,people are waking up to the fiasco but obviously in not enough numbers.

    • Well we already speak German and Japanese. For the two ‘evil’ powers that actually lost the war they seem to have done remarkably well. In fact I would say they have done a lot better than poor old Enzed.

      • Agreed, J S Bark. But why did the USA deliberately foster the recovery of Germany and Japan with the Marshall Aid Plan? Purely because they had to be the strong bulwarks of defence against that terrible new enemy – the Communists.
        Russia and China had to be contained, so the USA needed a strong Japan and West Germany, and made sure it happened. They pretend it was generosity and altruism…. Yeah.

        • I agree in some respects but the “aggression” of Russia and China was largely propaganda from the west afraid that these communist nations main gain acceptance in the west and negatively impact the corporate way of doing business.The Viet Nam war was started by a false flag committed by the USA (The Gulf of Tonkin Incident).It is clear the cold war was largely engineered by the USA. The world may have been a much more peaceful place if the USA had not behaved in this way. Current events in Ukraine demonstrate clearly how they use lies and propaganda
          to misrepresent other countries
          e.g. Yanukovitch, democratically elected ,corrupt, but supportive of Russia. He’s got to go.
          Yemen,s Hadi, A dictator, corrupt, supported by USA he must stay
          In both cases at the expense of thousands of innocent lives.

    • “If only we could commemorate and celebrate peace the way we do war”

      Excellent crisp response to the mindless carnage of war you spoke there Martyn.

      “Give peace a chance” as the song goes, and throngs of hippies I walked through as a 24 yr old Kiwi on his OE while wandering around the bottom of Market street (Hippieville) in 1968 as I arrived to San Francisco to the crisp tune of Scott McKenzie as he sung that most memorable song “When you go to San Francisco wear flowers in your hair”, I felt the new dawn of hope for our delicate world then that felt suddenly very warm and reassuring.

      A splendid time in our history that I was luckily allowed for a brief few years to be a part of then.

      Yes yes, yes, we should cerebrate at least how we would all feel if peace did again come to pass.

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