ANZAC Day protest bannerA few rambling points in my tired state…

I suppose today’s morning action could be considered generally successful: the issue of the New Zealand military’s role in Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste has finally been raised, and even Phil Goff was forced to acknowledge (and rebuke) the protests from as far away as Afghanistan while visiting the professional thugs there (aka the military). As well, of course, a number of people have reacted very angrily to the burning of the New Zealand flags (which I must admit was quite satisfying) and the protest in general.

The ANZAC day dawn ceremony here was quite sickening: the previous Secretary of Defence talked about peace and such with no apparent irony given his previous role as head of a professional killing machine. After two of our crew were arrested for the political protest, he then — also seemingly without noticing the contradictions — waxed lyrically about the freedoms won through war. Then to top it off, references to our Lord Jesus Christ were aplenty, I had to stand amongst a crowd singing the National Anthem to avoid being grabbed by the cops, and people actually clapped as the members of the current army/navy/airforce marched by.

I’ve covered my objections to ANZAC Day already. I only want to add that the level of nationalism and patriotism present was far worse than I had expected, and the demographics of those present – young, families, clean, white and middle class – coupled with the huge growth in numbers from last year alone makes the ANZAC day trends all the more worrying.

I also have to wonder about what I would call the “fascist personality” that was present in a number of middle aged men present, who gleefully assisted police in pinning down fellow protesters or, in one case, pinning one guy to an iron fence. After one of the cops hit the guy who was arrested in the face, one of these fascist personality types, with the intonation of a school kid sucking up to a teacher, explained to all and sundry that nothing had happened. It’s this personality that reminds me of the Brown Shirts of Germany.

The response to the protest has been quite rambling and incoherent. I can only laugh when people claim that we don’t appreciate the “hard won freedoms” that these soldiers killed for in WWI. Do they even know why WWI started? Do they know that it was little more than empire building? Do they know that NZ entered the war with the main aim of simply securing the NZ State’s primary export market at the time, Britain?

(John Minto wrote a good column in The Press regarding ANZAC day and New Zealand’s highly militaristic past, despite national myths otherwise: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/thepress/4035148a16155.html)

In any case, this is just the start of the NZTroopsOutNow.org campaign (visit the website – I’ve almost finished it!).

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