Anzac Day and the casualties of war

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As in previous years, Peace Action Wellington again attended the citizens wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph. This year a wreath was laid for those killed allegedly by the NZ SAS in Operation Burnham in Afghanistan and to commemorate all civilian lives lost during war.

Our presence at the ceremony was not a protest against the event itself. Rather, we were participating in the ceremony, and encouraging others to remember that it’s not just soldiers who die in conflict.

We feel it was entirely respectful of the proceedings, and the responses we received from those at the ceremony were largely – though not exclusively – positive. We’d like to thank the organisers of the event for allowing us to participate.

All loss of life in war is abhorrent. Selective commemoration can alter our view of history, and whose lives we deem to be important. We note that there is currently no public holiday to commemorate those who were killed during the New Zealand Land Wars.

Anzac day was originally a day of remembrance by and for veterans of the First World War, to remember their comrades who were killed and the senselessness of war. Given the anti-war stance implicit in its roots, it seems entirely appropriate to commemorate war dead more broadly and to say ‘never again’ – especially given that NZ is still involved in foreign conflicts today including Afghanistan.

Peace Action Wellington call for an end to NZ’s involvement in foreign wars and for Bill English to immediately instate a full independent inquiry into the raid on two villages in Operation Burnham.

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2 Responses to Anzac Day and the casualties of war

  1. Henry Smith, 113 Dowse Drive, Maungaraki, Lower Hutt says:

    Absolutely agree. it seems the government and other supporters of New Zealand involvement in Vietnam war has been forgotten. Well they can count me out! Best wishes to you all in peace action.

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  2. David says:

    I think a lot of what is stated above is accurate. However it does state that your presence there was not a protest against the event itself. This is an admission that it was a protest?? ANZAC day is a day of commemoration and to me is a day where individuals can come together and remember those who have died in Wars be it which ever war the individual wishes including the land wars. Everyone’s remembrance is different and I am sure that there is and always will be people who are there to remember the civilians who died in war. I also agree with Henry Smith that our involvement in Vietnam was so wrong having said that our involvement in Afghanistan is for the reconstruction of their infrastructure destroyed by years of war this is our primary role. Our involvement in Iraq while not direct combat are we not there to help stop the spread of ISIS or do you not see them as a threat to the world????If they are not a threat how come they are spreading across the Arab world and not like you by the spreading of peace. Unfortunately there will always be conflicts in the world as citizens we rely on our duly elected politicians to make the decision for us all as to which conflict our troops yes yours and mine will get involved in and in what way. It is up to us as individuals to make sure our politicians get it right and do not blindly follow other countries. Our servicemen and women do a fantastic job and are well respected around the world to say that there should be an investigation into an event that allegedly took place years ago and which was disclosed in a book written not for justice but for profit which is also full of inaccuracies which have already proven to be inaccurate is an insult to those involved. To say that Kiwi soldiers went out and deliberately killed civilians is abhorrent. Imagine yourself in their position now or that of their parents. As to photos shown just go onto any social media site and see how easy it is to find people using fake photos to advance their own agenda. Any enquiry should be into Nicky Hagar and his political agenda

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