by David Bradbury
Many people will only see this Brisbane peace activist action (see below) as a desecration of something sacred. A War memorial. Especially in the Australian context where we believe our nation was born, forged out of war. Where we have been taught from kindergarten to worship War – Gallipoli and the whole Anzac myth – which in fact saw thousands of the best of Australia’s young men slaughtered on a far away battlefield for the sake of the King of England and the arms manufacturers of Europe. Not defending our country from invasion.
Since World War II we have elected politicians who believe in War and our military alliance with the US as our best and only option to protect us from our Asian neighbours; to solve our differences with other nations in political ideology, faith and culture.
We blindly mouth parrot-like phrases of ‘defending democracy’ when we don’t even have genuine democracy here anymore. Not really.
We blindly vote at every election to continue traumatising tens of thousands of the finest of our Australian young men (and now women in combat frontlines…), sending them off to distant lands to fight in the name of ‘Freedom’.
We pride ourselves in being larrikins and questioning Authority but we buckle without question every time a new US President and his Pentagon generals tell us this time we’re going to win this War. We failed to win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people and we have failed to do the same in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving behind a legacy of bloodshed and chaos, car bombs and mayhem for decades to come.
We’d rather tell the Iraqis and Afghanis how they can solve their problems than try to seriously address our own.
Our military budget comes at the expense of providing our own most needy with better hospitals and schools, decent and properly staffed retirement homes for our aged, housing for the homeless, seriously tackling and reevaluating why our ‘war on drugs’ is not working as raging drug addiction takes the lives of thousands of young Australians every year. Properly staffed and best practice mental institutions. We get into bed with international arms dealers and manufacturers to fund our universities and Research institutes but turn a blind eye to the White Elephant in the room that is heating up our planet and destroying our grandchildren’s future at a rate of knots.
The country that once prided itself for sticking up for the Underdog now turns its eyes on the suffering of 900,000 indigenous West Papuans, our nearest neighbours just 250kms off the coast of Australia; we screwed one of the poorest nations on earth for its oil; East Timor who stood by us in World War II and had 40,000 Timorese strung up by the Japanese military for doing so…now our Prime Minister apologises to the bloodthirsty, murderous and torturing Kopassus for daring to question their human rights abuses in an Australian Army manual.
Alas, the Lucky Country is not the Smart Country with a good, independent moral compass that knows where its going and why. We need more real heroes like those in Brisbane who cut the sword off the war memorial cross of Christ who preached ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’. Christ told his followers to put away their swords when he was about to be arrested and crucified. The activists spoke for me when they took the sword from the memorial and hammered it into a garden hoe, invoking the Old Testament prophecy,
“They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and turn their spears into pruning hooks. And nations shall learn war no more!” (Isaiah 2:4) We need more garden hoes and mattocks for growing food and cultivating Life, not Death to feed the world’s poor. We need more young people like those yesterday (?) in Melbourne (?) prepared to invade a dinner of the rich and social notoriety to tell Bomber Beazley he is greedy and murderous in acting as a lobbyist for a company (Lockheed Martin) which manufacturers aircraft that kill kids and innocent civilians.