War means many things to many people.
War can be the setting for an action movie, an exciting game for children armed with plastic guns, a distant memory of grandad in an old brown photograph.
To most of us in New Zealand today, war appears as fifty second TV news flashes. Sometimes it looks awful, but it doesn’t harm us, and it’s soon gone. We are aware of war as a tiny thing in our lives.
To millions of other people sharing the planet, war is the central thing in their lives. War means your home, your workplace, your school or your hospital being bombed. War means not enough to eat and no clean water to drink. War means your friends and relatives being killed, raped and maimed.
New Zealand troops are accessories to these crimes. In Afghanistan and Iraq, countries with no designs on New Zealand, New Zealand soldiers have committed war crimes.
To ordinary people, this makes no sense. We have no quarrel with people in distant lands.
To our rulers, sending troops to support US-led invasions makes good sense. New Zealand troops are a tangible part of Western alliances—a reminder that New Zealand companies deserve favourable terms of international trade. War is also a growing local business. Armament and war related manufacturing are a multimillion-dollar New Zealand enterprise.
War is the ultimate hypocrisy. In New Zealand today, if a person is proved to have deliberately killed someone, they are punished with imprisonment and locked up to prevent more murder being done, that is, unless a person is a member of the armed forces. Then, if they kill people they will be paid, congratulated and may even be decorated with medals.
When you stop and think about it, war is inhumane and crazy. The only benefit of war is the enrichment of a tiny few.
War is not a natural disaster that just happens. War doesn’t ‘break out’; it is carefully planned and executed. If enough people put pressure on our rulers, war can be resisted and stopped. The realisation of this powerful truth is what brings Peace Action Wellington out onto the streets.
In Peace Action Wellington there is room for people to give a lot or a little. We welcome you to join us in working for peace with justice and self-determination.
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