Lest we forget (forget what?)
Unless you have been living out of reach of the mainstream media for the last few weeks you will all know that today is ANZAC Day, the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli and the annual commemoration of the war dead in this part of the world.
Those who know me well will know that I am not war’s greatest cheer-leader. In fact, I see no point in the whole business of war and think it is an expression of man’s basest ‘qualities’ and every war that begins is yet another leap backwards for our species into our earlier and less evolved form.
However, everything that happens is an opportunity for learning and to reflect upon such things can be useful in assisting us towards avoiding the stupid mistakes of the past.
The ANZAC industry has coined the phrase, “Lest we forget”, which is trotted out each year and delivered in hush and sombre tones in the days, or in the case of this year, months, leading up to April 25.
It is the beginnings of a great idea that has never been properly finished off. For example, what exactly is it that we must not forget? If we look at the state of the world today and the types of people that are running our various countries, that is a real conundrum.
We are told we should honour the people who fell in the wars we have participated in, ‘because they gave their lives for us and to protect our freedom and way of life.” But did they really?
I will readily accept that most of those who died or were injured in wars were at those wars with the best of intentions even if they were often brainwashed into thinking they were doing the right and honourable thing at the time.
Where New Zealand is concerned, we have never actually had a war with anyone outside our borders; we have simply joined in somebody else’s stoush. Our compliant Government’s of the time have readily leapt to the aid of other warmongers to assist their ends and sold the whole deal to our population as ‘defending our shared interests’ or ‘helping out our friends’, when in reality the whole package has been based upon a gigantic lie.
In the first place, people who wage wars and then try to pull their friends into them aren’t really friends at all, and in the second place, wars are seldom if ever actually fought over honourable causes. The first thing we need to understand is that wars are almost always fought over money. Anyone who doesn’t believe this should read The Creature from Jekyll Island by G Edward Griffin; a very well researched and annotated book about the creation of the Federal Reserve.
War is big business. The arms and munitions industry is even bigger than big pharma and a whole lot more amoral as well. Huge profits can be made by those involved and furthermore huge profits are being protected by the waging of almost every war. Sometimes it is oil, sometimes it is other commodities, but almost always it is about money and control. Wars divert huge sums of money to the arms and munitions industry and populations accept all kinds of restrictions upon their personal freedoms when they are told these are necessary for ‘national security’.
Look at how our own Government has primed the country for the latest adventure in Iraq.
First they ramped up and over-inflated the risk of terrorist attacks in Godzone using carefully crafted works of utter fiction and half-truths to scare the bejabers out of the population and make out that we were all about to be beheaded by hordes of invading Jihadists.
Then they enacted more powers for the security sector and allowed them to spy upon us even more heavily than at present, all the time justifying this as being for our own good.
Beloved leader Kim Jung Key even had a major hissy fit in Parliament complete with bulging eyes and spittle flying as he basically condemned the few voices of reason that were raised in the house as traitors whom he told to start fighting for the right side.
Then as beloved leaders of this type are entitled (or think they are) he quickly dispensed with any notion we might have that we live in a democracy and made a unilateral decision to go and caress the collective American Barnet.
Actually on that note, I can confirm that his fetish with pulling hair had its genesis many years ago. This reporter was one of his first victims when he attended the opening of offices of a publisher I was working for at the time. We had all been asked to dress up in 19th Century garb to reflect the origins of the building we had moved into and beloved leader attended and one of the first things he did after entering the building was to yank on the luxuriant beard I had attached to myself for the occasion. I have a series of pictures to prove it. I now wonder if I had realised it was a creepy fetish at the time and smacked him in the kisser whether that young girl might have been saved from being harassed by him. But I digress.
Getting back on task, I wonder if I am alone in seeing the irony in our favourite tugger getting up at a peace conference and encouraging the world to take up arms against ISIS. Maybe it’s me that doesn’t understand here, but I thought the idea behind peace conferences was to talk about how to make love and not war.
Anyway the irony doesn’t end there with our trichophiliac (look it up on Wikipedia – you’ll love it) leader. Following his war-mongering speech he is off to Gallipoli to honour the dead and no doubt that sentiment I began this with (Lest we forget – in case you already have). Mind you as he is also a well-known amnesiac as well, it is hardly surprising that Key has also forgotten the whole point mo all of the celebrations
And while I am on the subject of honouring the fallen, I wonder why they get so much attention while living veterans are pretty much ignored. We have all seen the way that Uncle Sam treats his war veterans – they are those blokes living on park benches and holding out begging cups in some of their largest cities. Even in this country you will find that the Veteran’s Affairs lot despite all their flashy advertising and flowery leaflets are actually harder to get anything out of than Fort Knox. My own father recently broke or lost his hearing aid (he has dementia and we aren’t able to determine exactly what happened). But veteran’s affairs have led me a merry chase for the last month about having exactly the right copies of various documents in order that they will assist with a replacement and even now that they have all those they are telling me it could be several more weeks before they have a decision on how much they will help him. This is a very elderly man whose quality of life is poor at best and is compromised by dementia, COPD and a lifelong leg injury and who has few things he can do at all and who is now hardly able to hear anything either until his hearing aid is replaced. Lest we forget?
Of course as I said at the beginning of this piece, we should learn something from the wars of the past and I don’t believe the lesson is all that difficult. In fact it is dreadfully simple. Wars are wrong; on every level and we need to stop waging them. That might sound hard, but in actual fact it isn’t. The first step towards peace is to tell people who ask you to join in their wars to stop being such fuckwits.
The people who gave their lives, albeit through a sense of misplaced loyalty and trust, for the most part actually believed the world would be a better place afterwards. Few if any of them would have gone if they thought that freedom and democracy and a better standard of life would not be the result of their sacrifice.
I’d bet that if they came back today they would be mighty pissed off that they had died for what we have now.