The blog heading is one of Mark Twain’s quotes. But here is a much better one from Mr Clemens.
Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man”- with his mouth.
– “The Lowest Animal”- Mark Twain
Today, in my little part of the world; it is once again Anzac Day, originally commemorated to mark the bloody failure of the British Empire’s coordinated attack on Turkish positions in the Dardanelles at Gallipoli in World War One, but now, ( supposedly) it ‘acknowledges the sacrifice of all those who have died in warfare, and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.” Strangely however this commemoration of all who have died in wars is marked by artillery salutes, marching uniformed men and much fanfare about this country’s patriotism. We are encouraged to believe that Anzac Day now promotes a sense of unity, perhaps more effectively than any other day on the national calendar. People whose politics, beliefs and aspirations are widely different can nevertheless share a genuine sorrow at the loss of so many lives in war, and a real respect for those who have endured warfare on behalf of the country we live in. (New Zealand Government).
I for one, am appalled that the majority consensus in New Zealand appears to be that ‘plucky little New Zealand’ became a real country with its own identity, and not just a member of the British Empire, by maiming and killing its way through a series of foreign “adventures”. The one possible exception to this catastrophic jingoistic litany of murder and mayhem, is New Zealand’s very real contribution to the war against Nazi Germany and Japan during the Second World War, when a New Zealand invasion by the Japanese Imperial Army was a high probability at one point.
Every other war we have fought, we have fought at the behest of others- from the genocide inflicted on the Boers during the Boer Wars as part of the British Imperial Army’s need to maintain control of South African assets, the First World War’s bizarre clash of European monarchies , the staggering level of genocide inflicted on Koreans by the “Allies’ (including New Zealand naval bombardment of civilian areas) during the Korean War, our implicit involvement in American genocide in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, our explicit connection to rendering of Afghan suspects to U.S. torture centres in Afghanistan, and our ongoing complicity in the Five Eyes intelligence project, which currently serves American and U.K. interests in promoting terrorism around the world and destroying human rights.
All in all, it is not a record I for one am proud of. Our ongoing subservience to the paranoid and psychopathic American war machine and its business interests, serves no-one’s interests on this planet, other than a few crazed right wing American idealogues and the military/industrial complex.
I was proud of my country when our prime minister of the time, Norman Kirk, sent frigates to Muroroa Atoll in the south Pacific, to protest the French destroying that island with nuclear bombs and contaminating the environment for thousands of miles. I was proud when our prime minister of the day, David Lange, announced we would henceforth be a nuclear-free nation, and even a little proud when prime minister Helen Clark refused to send significant ground troops to Iraq to support the American invasion there. But we have sunk to new lows since those times, in obsequiously following our U.S. masters into Iraq once more, to fight a stupendously foolish war in Afghanistan, and to mouth support for America’s duplicitous ‘war on terror’ while unconditionally supporting the key centres of terror in the world; Saudi Arabia and Turkey, along with support for the 60 year old brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine .
Despite successive New Zealand governments’ posturings that we are now a sovereign nation because of Anzac Day, when are we truly going to be a proud and independent nation who stands in truth for peace and international justice?