Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Some attitudes make me angry

4 Comments

The RSA (Returned Services Association) is objecting to a memorial to WW1 consciousness objectors being erected on ANZAC Avenue “because the avenue is named after the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and is there to commemorate those soldiers who fought in WW1”. Really? Surely ANZAC has come to include all those who fought or suffered in all wars.

Our conscious objectors during WW1 were treated abysmally. It’s a shameful blot on our history. In case you are not aware of their story, the following is a shortened version of what they went through.

Conscious objectors were shipped to the front line in France where they were beaten and starved. They would be bound hand and foot to stakes and placed in the line of enemy fire for up to four hours per day.

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

Another inhuman treatment was to restrain the objectors beside munitions stores if a store came under enemy bombardment. Could it be that they don’t want to be reminded that it was the ANZACs who were responsible for the treatment handed out to the objectors.

The memorial has been proposed by the Archibald Baxter Trust named after the most famous of the WW1 conscious objectors.  The purpose of a memorial is.to raise consciousness. What better place for the memorial than on ANZAC Parade.

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Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and was diagnosed as being autistic aged sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

4 thoughts on “Some attitudes make me angry

  1. That’s a bit of a touchy subject Barry. Which is good for discussion. Objectors were handled differently by different countries over the years. My understanding is that in WWI American objectors, were assigned non-combat roles, like ambulance driving, etc. Personally, I have a bit of an issue with those who choose to not serve. I really think that much war could be avoided but when there is no alternative, I believe that the country that raised and protected me and my loved ones, deserves my love and protection, even if it means killing for it.

    In all honesty, it would not be possible for the direction of a country to be determined by everyone – so we elect representatives to make a single choice. And we cannot just abdicate from the country when we disagree. It is fine to object or march or any form of disagreement – but that does NOT extend to refusing to do what your country asks. Like it or not – it is a legally elected gov’t with authority given by the citizens that decides policy. Our only recourse is to object – not refuse.

    I do not agree with the abuse of objectors you state in your discussion, but I also do not believe that they have the right to refuse. I can certainly understand the actions of the soldiers who were puttiing their lives on the line daily, getting very angry at those who wanted to enjoy the benefits of their country without fighting to protect it. I can also understand the feelings of the current day soldiers and citizens who fought to protect their country, objecting to the raising of a monument to those who refused to fight. i honestly do not think it is appropriate to raise a monument, even though I disagree with the treatment given to those wartime objectors. they should have been jailed or deported, not tortured. A gov’t apology would be more appropriate – not a memorial.

  2. So are you saying that one must do whatever the state demands? On that I totally disagree. While I wouldn’t break a law just because I disagreed with it, I would break it if I felt that to keep the law was morally wrong.

    For example at least one African country has made homosexuality a very dangerous practice. Their law even makes it a punishable offence not to report someone as being a homosexual even if you suspect them of being so. What would you do?

    In my own country, there was a waterfront strike that in 1953 that effectively shut down every port in the country. The government’s solution was to call in the army to work the ports and passed a law that made it illegal to give any support – moral or physical – to any striker or their families. Newpapers were censored. Even offering food to the family of a striker was an offence. Never the less, many people did come to the aid of the families, mostly in secret, as to do so openly was risking punishment. If you were a doctor, and a wife of a striking worker brought her child in for treatment, would you have turned her away as the law required?

    BTW the strike lasted six months until the strikers were finally starved into submission.

    • I agree Barry, but the difference between civil disobedience and refusing to serve in war are two very different topics. The former does not jeopardize the country the latter does. Homosexuality does not endanger the country. And legal strikes also do not jeopardize a country. Our gov’t has lately fallen back on legisating workers back to work with an arbitartor – if the job is considered an essential service.

  3. I think some African leaders would disagree with you. The believe homosexuality does endanger the country, hence the reason for such draconian laws.

    I have no problem with someone dying for their country. There are probably some causes I would be prepare to do so. But to kill for my country? No, absolutely not. Put it this way: If I was given the option of fighting for my country (killing, or attempting to kill others) or dying for my country (being shot for refusing to take up arms), then I would choose the latter.

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