November 11th 2016
This blog is about freedom: defining it, seeking it, moulding it. Making it more of a reality every day through exercising it. If you have the luxury of choice, the option to read this blog, you (as do I, writing it) enjoy freedoms beyond the imagination of many in this world. On this day, Remembrance Day, it seems right to take a moment to acknowledge those who used their freedom, to protect ours.
Remembrance Day celebrates the lives of those who laid them down for war. War: the manifestation of all that is evil in man. This is the one day in three hundred and sixty-five/six every year that we deem it fair to cast our attention to the unthinkable horrors which countless souls endured in the name of our freedom. Lambs led to the slaughter under the command of vainglorious old boys and aristocrats throwing away lives in a human chess match. Players in a parody that would have us believe death and violence to become freedom when it is only through love and empathy that we may ever achieve this goal.
The fact that war ever existed on such a scale as that to which history has been witness is testament to the fact that we are missing the point of life. I say this with no disrespect to those who have fought them. On the contrary, I have the utmost respect for the intentions of the vast majority of those who have gone to war. Having done so under the unscrupulous and psychopathic manipulation of those who would brain-wash us to follow. War is a symptom of a sickness that runs deep within the world’s societal systems designed for the few to control the many.
This year and a couple either side, mark the centennial commemorations of World War 1: The ‘Great’ War. In New Zealand, this means a focus on the major commitments of ANZAC forces during that period. Foremost among them is the campaign at Gallipoli. I feel lucky to be alive now. With the marriage of technology and freedom that we enjoy, there have been some incredible exhibits put together to reveal the truth of what Gallipoli was to those soldiers who found themselves on the beaches, ridges and plains of Turkey during such a damned time. I ashamedly confess to my wilful ignorance on the subject until very recently.
Making up for lost time in some meagre way, I’ve made it my business to take advantage of the unique opportunities to educate myself. Stand-out resources have been The Great War Exhibition at Wellington’s National War Memorial and Bryce Courtenay’s “Solomon’s Song”. I am impressed by the artistically-minded who can capture our imaginations and emotions through factual exhibits. But my hat goes off to those who can blend the historically accurate with the lucid realism of well-presented fictional characters. The latter allowing an exploration into the depth of experience that war’s true victims must endure. It would be presumptuous in the extreme to claim understanding of their plight but I am thankful for those gifted enough to guide us in our well-intentioned attempts to empathise.
They let those fortunate enough to be ignorant, imagine what it is to be a soldier, commander, carer or one of those left behind. They give us the gift of imagining why we must never allow it to happen again.
This blog post takes a break from the insignificant whinging and idle ponderings of a middle-aged, middle-class, white man: a person with every opportunity available thanks to those who, thorough their sacrifice, helped mould this free society we enjoy. This post is entirely in recognition of those willing to put common good before their own lives. It is in commemoration of those who needlessly lost their lives in service of those who couldn’t give a damn.
To those who fought for their loved ones and their mates. Thank you for our freedom.
Lest we forget.