vostoklake: (commie)
[personal profile] vostoklake
This morning, my yoga instructor addressed the subject of ANZAC Day. Because she's from a German-speaking country, she explained that she had always had no interest in war or its commemoration. But because she's a yoga instructor and thus an awful hippie, she had realised that it's right to fight for good causes, for the things you love. Therefore, "this day is about love", apparently.

She's absolutely right that fighting to defend your people, your family, the Earth and its creatures, and basic decency is a noble thing. I've been working through a text on the New Zealand Wars, and those Māori who fought for their land, their people and their tikanga; and those Māori who fought against them, sometimes out of old feuds, sometimes out of sincere belief that being part of the BRITISH EMPIRE was the best safeguard of all those things. It made no difference after the wars, of course, all the "damned Natives" got their land confiscated alike.

But what did the ANZACs "love"? It wasn't a love of New Zealand. New Zealand wasn't a country, it was a Dominion of the mighty BRITISH EMPIRE, by Gad. Many of those young men joined up in a passion of excitement and love for an Empire which ruled a quarter of the globe and had decided to pick a fight when A CHALLENGER APPEARED in the shape of the Second German Reich (and its Ottoman and Hapsburg buddies). The Germans were NOT going to sail south from Apia and Zeppelin-bomb Auckland. No, Winston bloody Churchill sent my trusting, naive, loving great-grandfather out to a beach in the Dardanelles to catch a load of shrapnel in the back from Turks who were defending their homeland. (And of course their general, Mustafa Kemal, loved his country so much as to overthrow the Ottoman monarchy after the war.)

People fight for love, true. Sometimes we love things that are not worthy. Can we honour the love while despising the object?

June 2018


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