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Veterans group condemns hollow remembrance on ANZAC Day

24 April 2012

“You do not honor the dead through mindless flag waving, rewriting history or promoting new wars,” said Hamish Chitts, East Timor veteran and spokesperson for Stand Fast – a group of veterans and former military personnel who oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“ANZAC Day has become a nationalist circus with little real reflection on why governments sent soldiers, sailors and airmen to their deaths. All we get is glib cliches and a perverse ‘cult of sacrifice’ where we’re told that it doesn’t matter why you are sent to war, whether your government lied to you or not, the greatest thing an ordinary Australian can do is die in a war.

“A classic example can be seen on the streets of Brisbane. The RSL have put up banners and ads on buses saying, “420,127 Queenslanders have courageously fought for our freedom since 1915.” This is absolutely ridiculous and an outright lie! How did the insane slaughter of World War 1 gain freedom? The overwhelming majority of those poor souls that ended up fighting in those trenches that did come back knew it was a war only benefiting the rich and something that should never happen again.

“Which war gained women the right to vote? Which war gained the 8 hour work day? Which war gave people the right to hold public demonstrations? There isn’t one, our freedom has always been fought and won by the people, civilians, standing up to their own government!

‘The myth that if Australian troops fight they are automatically fighting for our freedom needs to be busted because it lets warmongering politicians off the hook when they slaughter our youth!

“The quagmire of Afghanistan and the soldiers it has and will kill on the battlefield and from suicide could have been saved if we had learnt from the past. As Australia accelerates its retreat from that disaster the criminal politicians responsible for this need to be brought to account.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs at least 78 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have taken their own lives and hundreds have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“Stand Fast does not oppose remembering our comrades-in-arms that have died in war, but, if you are serious about honoring their memory learn about the real reasons they were sent to war, pledge to stop this from happening again and join the call for an immediate withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan,” said Chitts.

For more information:

Phone Hamish on 0401 586 923

or visit:

www.stand-fast.webs.com

2 responses to “Veterans group condemns hollow remembrance on ANZAC Day

  1. dan
    while applauding owens
    dulce et decorum est…
    his The Next War shud also
    be remembered today
    my family i.e. mums & the old fellas
    between ’em seven sons, uncles
    steelos & pit lads all killed in their prime
    & naturally owens poems were recited regularly
    they were what shaped us especially his “Miners”
    jim

    The next War

    war’s a joke for me & you,
    while we know such dreams are true
    Siegfried Sassoon

    Out there, we’ve walked quite friendly up to Death;
    Sat down & eaten with him, cool & bland,–
    Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.
    We’ve sniffed the green thick odour of his breath,–
    Our eyes wept, but our courage didn’t writhe.
    He’s spat at us with bullets & he’s coughed
    Shrapnel. We chorussed when when he sang aloft;
    We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.

    Oh. Death was never enemy of ours!
    We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
    No soldier’s paid to kick against his powers.
    We laughed, knowing that better men would come,
    And greater wars; when each proud fighter brags
    He wars on Death– for life; not men — for flags.

    Like

  2. Dulce et Decorum est…LEST WE FORGET:

    Wilfred Owen, the Prince of war poets – did a much longer ode to war – “Dulce et decorum est”. Once you’ve read it you’ll speak of chemical weapons with horror they rightly deserve. It is NOT “Sweet and Proper to DIE for one’s country!” [thanks PB] Let us never forget that Anzac Day is not here to glorify war! God forbid! But rather a day to contemplate the brutality and senselessness, carnage and waste of war! May finally we have peace that will endure to end all wars! THAT is why we commemorate ANZAC Day!

    http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen1.html

    DULCE ET DECORUM EST

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

    Wilfred Owen
    8 October 1917 – March, 1918

    [Thanks to Dan and
    Yuri]

    Like

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