Anzac Day 2016, Lest We Forget

Anzac Day 2016

Today is Anzac Day. It commemorates the Australians and New Zealanders killed in war. It is a very sobering thought to think of those in the army, navy, air force, special forces, as well as all of the civilians who have been killed in recent wars. Thinking back to wars fought going back to World War 1, the number rapidly increases. Including the loss of life on the side of “the enemy” at the time, the loss of life is doubled. Now, people live on with the memory of that suffering, or that memory is passed on from generating to generation.

Violence Continues To Escalate

War is often seen as a way to end a confrontation. Unfortunately that is rarely the case, and the escalation of violence continues. For example:

  • If there had been no World War 1 would there have been a World War 2? Hitler would not have been a soldier, and Germany would not have been such fertile ground for social unrest.
  • If there had been no Iraq War, would there be an ISIS? Anti-western sentiments would not be strong. Without Guantanamo Bay, US torture techniques, and renditioning it would be more difficult to find the recruits to build the ISIS army.

Alternative Anazac Day Message

Based on the suffering described above, I think that Anzac Day should focus on these messages:

  • War causes immense suffering, including massive loss of life.
  • Everything will be done to avoid any type of war, conflict, or the deployment of troops into any situation.
  • Patriotic jingoism and willingness to rush into confrontation will be avoided at all cost.
  • Diplomatic talks and peaceful resolution will be the “go to” method of working through confrontations.

John Key’s Message

Unfortunately, this alternative message is not the message heard in New Zealand parliament. In this video, the prime minister of New Zealand yells at the opposite to “Get some guts”. With much false machismo, John Key displays a keenness to deploy troops into Iraq:

Lest We Forget

This phrase can often be found on war memorials to remember those who died during wars. Unfortunately, while we continue to resort to sending in troops as a solution, there will be a steady stream of dead to remember and we will have failed to heed the message of Anzac Day. As long as world leaders like John Key continue to fail to hear the message of Anzac Day, we are all doomed to remember more of the fallen every Anzac Day. Only if the governments and leaders change their approach will we have really learn from our mistakes of the past.