Category Archives: anti-war

We Still Live in a Humane World


Going through some old computer files I came across this and I thought to myself, ‘This is what I am living through at the moment.’

Then I realised I had found it somewhere in 2006. Which is interesting because 2006 to 2018 is a shorter length of time as from 1933 to 1943.

Think about that for a minute, then read what is was I found. I wish I could remember where I found it back in 2006.

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It was the formula Hitler used, and it still works today. It is, in fact, the most consistently reliable way for demagogues to gain power. It works because it’s gradual but relentless, and progressively absorbs – and then intimidates or co-opts – both government and the media.

For example, Milton Mayer, an American Jew and writer who extensively interviewed German Jews who survived Hitler’s era in his book They Thought They Were Free, noted that:

What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security….

As a friend of Mayer’s noted, and Mayer recorded in his book:

This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. …

To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it – please try to believe me – unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these “little measures” that no “patriotic German” could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

In this conversation, Mayer’s friend suggests that he wasn’t making an excuse for not resisting the rise of the fascists, but simply pointing out an indisputable reality. This, he suggests, is how fascism will always take over a nation.

“Pastor Niemoller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something – but then it was too late.”

“Yes,” I said.

“You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not? – Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

“Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’

“And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. …

“But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jew swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God.” …

Goodbye Western Civilisation


ISIS is winning.

Just as they are losing the battles on the ground they are about to win the battles of the minds.

We pesky Westerners have been free-thinking, free-speaking and free-voting people for two or three centuries. ISIS represents a re-evolved world-view where religious correctness supersedes political freedom eerily reminiscent of the Catholic Inquisition of the Middle Ages.

By playing on our supposed fears, by using random terror attacks, they have given our political leaders the freedom to curtail all our freedoms and impose a political and security regime which matches the wishes of those leading ISIS. Hate speech is also to be banned.

Therese May, Donald Trump and now Malcolm Turnbull are all promoting a scheme which will see Social Media, in all its forms, responsible for removing any content which relates to terrorists and their actions. Good! I hear you say. Terrorists should not be able to plan their attacks on the internet. Maybe not, but we should be aware of the unintended consequences.

Our leaders are calling for greater regulation and transparency on the internet. This is code for opening sites like Tor to Government inspection. Algorithms will be developed and the privacy of terrorists will be compromised. To find those terrorists, ALL the internet will need to be open to inspection. That includes all our internet dealings. Those passwords we use to do our banking, Our private dealings on the internet. All our opinions as expressed on the internet. And while we may not plan a terrorist attack, how long will it be before hate speech is re-defined to suit those in power?

That may all be good because we will eventually overcome the terror threat. Yet what is the definition of a terror threat? What is the definition of hate speech? That can be widened at some time in the future, possibly the near future, to include overthrowing an unpopular Government. Campaigning against a sitting Government. Legally overthrowing a Government. At the ballot box. Anyone campaigning against their previously elected Government could be accused of a form of terrorism or of hate speech. Leaders of Nations do not like losing their power.

That is where this move to regulate the internet and open it to Government inspection will inevitably lead. The algorithm will be tweaked to include this movement and then that movement and then the other movement. It is the creation of the algorithm in the first place which will set all this in motion.

Satirists, commentators, meme-makers, cartoonists will all be in the firing line, regardless of their political affiliations. Freedom will be lost. And those in charge of ISIS will cheer because they will have won.

Even then there is yet another inevitable danger. Every Government collection of the data of our lives has been hacked by criminals. Normally after they have gained access to secret Governmental data-mining programs. How much of the data collected from the soon to be ‘transparent’ internet will remain in Government hands?

How soon will that transparency be in the hands of those who wish us ill?

 

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Remembering on Anzac Day


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Thinking of London


We are led by a killer!


Our temporary Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has taken off his mask.
 
He isn’t the sweet, cuddly person we all believed him to be when he took over from the incompetent madman Abbott.
 
At the Avalon Airshow he has been loudly talking about how his minions – I mean his service men – are going to KILL PEOPLE efficiently and with less risk to themselves.
 
Not preparing to defend ourselves against invaders but on foreign soil.
 
Big Guy! Good loving Christian. Attack and KILL the terrorists overseas, create more refugees and warehouse them on offshore islands until they DIE!
 
Malcolm Turnbull wants to KILL people both coming and going!
 
We are being led by a KILLER!
 
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Shakespeare on Refugees


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ANZAC Day


April 25th is the day Australia remembers the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in conflicts around the world.

This was the date in 1915 that the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign began in Turkey. Soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed, at dawn, on the beach to be met by withering fire from the Turkish defenders under the command of Kemal Ataturk. By the end of the year the Allied forces evacuated and the ANZACs were moved to France.

Lest We Forget.

My Great-Uncle; Edward Russell Bates (Pte, 28th Batt), born 1887, Auckland, New Zealand, KIA, Albert, France, 1st June, 1918, leaving a wife and child.

The Brother-in-Law of a Great Great Aunt; Thomas John Marr Todd (Lt. Colonel, 10th Light Horse, CMG, DSO & Bar) born 2 Mar 1873, Christchurch, NZ, Died of sickness, 23 Jan 1919, Cairo, Egypt, unmarried.

Thanks to Buff for finding the following. I admit to some tears when I read it. There is tragedy in loss in war which is compounded when there is no one left to remember.

The Anzac on the Wall

I wandered thru a country town ‘cos I had time to spare,
And went into an antique shop to see what was in there.
Old Bikes and pumps and kero lamps, but hidden by it all,
A photo of a soldier boy – an Anzac on the Wall.

‘The Anzac have a name?’ I asked. The old man answered ‘No,
The ones who could have told me, mate, have passed on long ago.
The old man kept on talking and, according to his tale,
The photo was unwanted junk bought from a clearance sale.

‘I asked around,’ the old man said, ‘but no one knows his face,
He’s been on that wall twenty years, deserves a better place.
For some one must have loved him so, it seems a shame somehow.’
I nodded in agreement and then said, ‘I’ll take him now.’

My nameless digger’s photo, well it was a sorry sight
A cracked glass pane and a broken frame – I had to make it right
To prise the photo from its frame I took care just in case,
‘Cause only sticky paper held the cardboard back in place.

I peeled away the faded screed and much to my surprise,
Two letters and a telegram appeared before my eyes
The first reveals my Anzac’s name, and regiment of course
John Mathew Francis Stuart – of Australia’s own Light Horse.

This letter written from the front, my interest now was keen
This note was dated August seventh 1917
‘Dear Mum, I’m at Khalasa Springs not far from the Red Sea
They say it’s in the Bible – looks like Billabong to me.

‘My Kathy wrote I’m in her prayers she’s still my bride to be
I just cant wait to see you both you’re all the world to me
And Mum you’ll soon meet Bluey, last month they shipped him out
I told him to call on you when he’s up and about.’

‘That Bluey is a larrikin, and we all thought it funny
He lobbed a Turkish hand grenade into the Co’s dunny.
I told you how he dragged me wounded in from no man’s land
He stopped the bleeding closed the wound with only his bare hand.’

‘Then he copped it at the front from some stray shrapnel blast
It was my turn to drag him in and I thought he wouldn’t last
He woke up in hospital, and nearly lost his mind
Cause out there on the battlefield he’d left one leg behind.’

‘He’s been in a bad way mum, he knows he’ll ride no more
Like me he loves a horse’s back he was a champ before.
So Please Mum can you take him in, he’s been like my brother
Raised in a Queensland orphanage he’ s never known a mother.’

But Struth, I miss Australia mum, and in my mind each day
I am a mountain cattleman on high plains far away
I’m mustering white-faced cattle, with no camel’s hump in sight
And I waltz my Matilda by a campfire every night

I wonder who rides Billy, I heard the pub burnt down
I’ll always love you and please say hooroo to all in town’.
The second letter I could see was in a lady’s hand
An answer to her soldier son there in a foreign land

Her copperplate was perfect, the pages neat and clean
It bore the date November 3rd 1917.
‘T’was hard enough to lose your Dad, without you at the war
I’d hoped you would be home by now – each day I miss you more’

‘Your Kathy calls around a lot since you have been away
To share with me her hopes and dreams about your wedding day
And Bluey has arrived – and what a godsend he has been
We talked and laughed for days about the things you’ve done and seen’

‘He really is a comfort, and works hard around the farm,
I read the same hope in his eyes that you wont come to harm.
McConnell’s kids rode Billy, but suddenly that changed
We had a violent lightning storm, and it was really strange.’

‘Last Wednesday just on midnight, not a single cloud in sight
It raged for several minutes, it gave us all a fright
It really spooked your Billy – and he screamed and bucked and reared
And then he rushed the slip rail fence, which by a foot he cleared’

‘They brought him back next afternoon, but something’s changed I fear
It’s like the day you brought him home, for no one can get near
Remember when you caught him with his black and flowing mane?
Now horse breakers fear the beast that only you can tame,’

‘That’s why we need you home son’ – then the flow of ink went dry-
This letter was unfinished, and I couldn’t work out why.
Until I started reading the letter number three
A yellow telegram delivered news of tragedy

Her son killed in action – oh – what pain that must have been
The same date as her letter – 3rd November ’17
This letter which was never sent, became then one of three
She sealed behind the photo’s face – the face she longed to see.

And John’s home town’s old timers – children when he went to war
Would say no greater cattleman had left the town before.
They knew his widowed mother well – and with respect did tell
How when she lost her only boy she lost her mind as well.

She could not face the awful truth, to strangers she would speak
‘My Johnny’s at the war you know, he’s coming home next week.’
They all remembered Bluey he stayed on to the end
A younger man with wooden leg became her closest friend

And he would go and find her when she wandered old and weak
And always softly say ‘yes dear – John will be home next week.’
Then when she died Bluey moved on, to Queensland some did say
I tried to find out where he went, but don’t know to this day

And Kathy never wed – a lonely spinster some found odd
She wouldn’t set foot in a church – she’d turned her back on God
John’s mother left no will I learned on my detective trail
This explains my photo’s journey, that clearance sale

So I continued digging cause I wanted to know more
I found John’s name with thousands in the records of the war
His last ride proved his courage – a ride you will acclaim
The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba of everlasting fame

That last day in October back in 1917
At 4pm our brave boys fell – that sad fact I did glean
That’s when John’s life was sacrificed, the record’s crystal clear
But 4pm in Beersheba is midnight over here…….

So as John’s gallant sprit rose to cross the great divide
Were lightning bolts back home a signal from the other side?
Is that why Billy bolted and went racing as in pain?
Because he’d never feel his master on his back again?

Was it coincidental? same time – same day – same date?
Some proof of numerology, or just a quirk of fate?
I think it’s more than that, you know, as I’ve heard wiser men,
Acknowledge there are many things that go beyond our ken

Where craggy peaks guard secrets neath dark skies torn asunder
Where hoofbeats are companions to the rolling waves of thunder
Where lightning cracks like 303’s and ricochets again
Where howling moaning gusts of wind sound just like dying men.

Some Mountain cattlemen have sworn on lonely alpine track
They’ve glimpsed a huge black stallion – Light Horseman on his back.
Yes sceptics say, it’s swirling clouds just forming apparitions
Oh no, my friend you cant dismiss all this as superstition

The desert of Beersheba – or windswept Aussie range
John Stuart rides forever there – Now I don’t find that strange.
Now some gaze at this photo, and they often question me
And I tell them a small white lie, and say he’s family.
‘You must be proud of him.’ they say – I tell them, one and all,
That’s why he takes the pride of place – my Anzac on the Wall.


‘The Anzac on the Wall’ was written as performance poetry by Jim Brown of Victoria. He won 1st place for ‘original performance’ of this poem at the 2005 Victorian Bush Poetry Championships.
While John Stuart was fictional, there was nothing fictional about the Light Horse Charge at Beersheba.