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Anzac Day 2018

Written By: - Date published: 8:43 am, April 25th, 2018 - 29 comments
Categories: war - Tags:

Today is Anzac Day, 103 years since ANZAC forces began the Gallipoli campaign.

The Herald list of ANZAC Day services are here.

Auckland Peace Action is hosting an alternative Picnic for Peace for ANZAC Day this Wednesday, April 25th at the Auckland Domain rotunda at noon.

Peace Action Wellington is going to lay a wreath at the Anzac ceremony. From their press release:

Peace Action Wellington and friends will join Anzac day events in
Wellington to remember civilian casualties of war. We will call for an
end to war, and will honour all civilians casualties with a respectful
presence at the dawn service at Pukeahu and at the Wellington Citizens’
Wreath-laying Service at the Cenotaph at 9am.

“We will be laying a wreath for civilian casualties of war because all
loss of life in war is abhorrent.” said spokesperson, Laura Drew. Peace
Action Wellington will be laying a wreath alongside other peace groups
who will be laying wreaths for conscientious objectors, the Afghan
people killed in Operation Burnham, and the people killed by ANZAC
soldiers in the Surafend Massacre in Palestine, 1918.

“In the past four years we have seen an increasing obsession with Anzac
day. This came to a head around the First World War centenary. Anzacs
continue to be heavily romanticised as heroes and the protagonists of
the historical New Zealand war narrative. However, selective
commemoration can alter our view of history, and whose lives we deem to
be important. On this day of remembrance it’s important we remember all
aspects of war, including the civilian casualties and those that opposed
it.”, said spokesperson, Alex Davies.

“We cannot separate commemorations of the past from the contemporary
wars we participate in. Anzac day is a day to remember and reflect, we
should be able to think critically and question how as a country we can
be actively working towards peace.”, said Drew.

 

And for some stirring reading about incredible bravery this article about Phil Lamason will take some beating.

From the article:

Dannevirke’s Phil Lamason is acknowledged as one of New Zealand’s greatest World War II heroes, but his contribution has been largely unknown – until now.

His heroism and a remarkable eye-locking encounter with a senior German officer and a 20-strong firing squad, while surrounded by snarling german shepherds in the Buchenwald Camp in 1944, which saw the officer back down, is captured with spine-tingling realism in I Would Not Step Back . . .

It was a defining moment in an already momentous bomber command career – his life was on the line, but he would not step back.

Because Mr Lamason refused to back down, all 168 of his men, 82 Americans, 48 British, 26 Canadians, nine Australians, two New Zealanders and one Jamaican, survived the hell hole that was Buchenwald, where often the only way out was as smoke through the chimney, he told the Dannevirke News before his death in 2012 aged 95.

Have a very happy and rewarding Anzac day.

29 comments on “Anzac Day 2018 ”

  1. Ed 1

    Excellent article from the Spinoff.

    Australian and New Zealand volunteers fought together in the Waikato War, yet still its place in the Anzac tradition is unacknowledged by our defence forces or Returned Services Association.

    At the end of 2015 I joined the photographers Paul Janman and Ian Powell on a walk along the 200km length of the Great South Road. At old battlesites and in pubs and on the rubbish-strewn berm of the road, we talked with hundreds of locals about the past.
    We noticed a huge gap between Māori and Pākehā knowledge of the war. Most Māori knew at least the outlines of the conflict, and many could give detailed accounts of battles, and produce artefacts – old cannon shells, photographs of warriors – that were held as taonga by their whanau.
    A few Pākehā, especially older people, knew about the Waikato War, but the big majority had an encylopedic ignorance of the conflict. Some of them said that the war was fought in the 15th or 16th century; some insisted that it was a fight between rival Māori iwi, and had nothing to do with Pākehā; others claimed that the war occurred in the years before 1840, and was brought to a close by the Treaty of Waitangi.
    The ignorance of Pākehā about a foundational event in their country’s history is not healthy, especially when it is set beside the vivid and bitter memories of Waikato Māori.
    This Anzac Day I’ll go back to Drury, but I won’t join the crowd around the suburb’s cenotaph. Instead, I’ll visit that little churchyard on the other side of the Great South Road. I’ll kneel by that lonely monument to the first Anzac dead, and leave a wreath to the innocent victims of the Waikato War.

    The first, forgotten Anzacs, more than 50 years before Gallipoli

  2. Ed 2

    And a very thoughtful and thought provoking piece by Nicholas Haig.

    The way we go about remembering the past matters. Trump’s pledge to “Make America Great Again,” and the pro-Brexit visions of Imperial Britain are urgent reminders that our narratives about the past can have a strong effect on the present. The convulsions currently sweeping the globe are rooted in economic factors but are, at least rhetorically, being fought via the mediums of history and heritage.

    New Zealand is not exempt from these forces. We have seen an increasing obsession with Anzac and Gallipoli, which has come to a head over the last four years of remembrance around the First World War. I wish to draw attention to some of the problems with New Zealand’s practices of war remembrance.

    …….What also seems clear is that the First World War increasingly serves as something of a “screen memory” for New Zealand’s colonial history. Unsurprisingly, the nation’s involvement in an imperial war is far easier to incorporate into the national imaginary than our history of colonial conflict. Not only because it exists far off, both geographically and politically, but because it is now seen as being mistaken and pointless. Colonialism, on the other hand, cannot be dealt with so superficially.

    War remembrance: Acting out or working through?

  3. OnceWasTim 3

    Yea/nah. I was going to attend until I’d heard Tim Keating would be a big part of the commemorations.
    I think my daughter attended and far be it for me to burst her bubble.
    Instead, I watched Skoi News Stray-ya where I was hard pressed to see any acknowledgement of a Nu Zull presence other than tokenism

    • crashcart 3.1

      Always good to see some one who is willing to admit that their decision around ANZAC day attendance was based upon whether or not one person they didn’t like was going to be involved. I mean so what if he is literally the Chief of Defence force and wasn’t at every ceremony.

  4. Stunned mullet 4

    Attended the service at the Domain, well attended and moving as always…lest we forget.

  5. mauī 5

    I noticed they did a full anzac military service before the rugby was on last saturday too. Found the whole thing quite galling, it’s turned into Anzac week.

  6. Ad 6

    Awesome service at Dunedin cenotaph this morning.
    Lest we forget.

  7. Whispering Kate 7

    I knew the brother of Phil Lamason. They are very proud of their brother’s exploits during WW2. His brother is no now longer with us but his widow and the wider family will never forget him.

    He is one of the hundreds of men whose exploits have gone unnoticed – yes we should always remember them.

  8. Anne 8

    I’m ambivalent about ANZAC day.

    My father was a veteran of both world wars. As an English sixteen year old (having doctored his birth certificate) he saw the last year of WW1 in Europe. He lost a number of his mates and I have his album with their photos. In WW2 he served as an army officer in the Pacific with all the attendant responsibilities. In the late 1960s, he retraced his former military years… which included a trip to Russia. [He had been part of a secret military mission into Russia in the 1920s.] The 50s and 60s decades were a time when Cold War paranoia was at its height and in the early 1970s he found himself the subject of an investigation followed in subsequent years by not a little malicious harassment.

    Given that sordid treatment of an elderly man who had given of his best in both wars, I won’t attend ANZAC ceremonies. Instead I go to a local memorial after all the pomp and ceremony is over and plant a poppy in my father’s memory.

    • patricia bremner 8.1

      Yes Anne. My family worked in protected industries. Anzac Day did not figure, except as a family get together. It was hard for some people to grasp that. Many thought perhaps we had “white feathers!!”

  9. millsy 9

    Oh the irony of those National Party people who have constantly advocated the foreign ownership and control of our land and economy, and the continual extraction of resources with little benefits for the locals turning up at these parades remembering those who fought for our country.

  10. Sanctuary 10

    Most people are not interested in the New Zealand wars for pretty simple reasons. With the exception of a tiny group of urban white liberals burdened with guilt Pakeha New Zealanders are not interested in being endlessly – and pointlessly,since nothing would change as a result – lectured about their crimes by various Maori carrying on like it all happened last Tuesday. Arguably, continually ripping the bandage off the wounds of the past serves no one well except the professional grievance industry.

    For anyone who arrived here from all the other sources of migrants since the end of the white New Zealand policy the land wars are just irrelevant ancient history. God almighty, most new migrants haven’t got a clue what ANZAC day is about let alone the New Zealand wars.

    • edgil 10.1

      Traitor.

      • greywarshark 10.1.1

        edgil
        Don’t come at the finger pointing brainwashed stuff here. The comment contains some very valid points. Traitor is someone who gives something of advantage to the enemy. You probably wouldn’t have a clue on the different methods of warfare, and who profits from them, and who can these days be regarded as an enemy.

        It is possible to be a traitor to the principle of loyalty to all the citizens, even when following the official line. But that does require some mental work which doesn’t come from someone who indulges in name-calling as you have.

        • Anne 10.1.1.1

          But that does require some mental work which doesn’t come from someone who indulges in name-calling as you have.

          I would be more blunt than that. He’s a brain-dead ignoramus not really worthy of a response.

          • greywarshark 10.1.1.1.1

            Yes – I find that knee-jerk shotgun stuff self-indulgent and self-satisfied without any trace of honour at all.

      • OnceWasTim 10.1.2

        is it possible you forgot the /sarc suffix, or do you really have the biggest arsehole ( and probably smallest dik) known to mankind?

      • Sanctuary 10.1.3

        Hilarious.

      • greywarshark 10.1.4

        Sanctuary
        While I disdained the comment about you strongly, I must say that I also disdain your ideas about what is reasonable for us all to be concerned about when it comes to the NZ Wars. I think you are referring to recent suggestions that we should have a day relating to our own wars. I know that there is controversy against this that you reference here. I too feel strongly – in favour of remembering these battles that were part of both Maori and Pakeha history, not just relating to ‘various Maori’, who are still affected by the land grab and culture-smothering right to last Tuesday!

        If, as you say, NZs aren’t interested and recent migrants even less, then we need to talk about our historic and nation building wars and travails more and it becomes even more necessary to commemorate them. Things not measured don’t get treasured.

        We need to know and understand our own fraught history. Because we haven’t cared enough about the getting and making of the NewZealand Aotearoa that is our country, we have been remarkably careless about letting it slip away.

        We have a country in tatters, living on borrowed everything, and as long as a significant number have comfortable lives and opportunities, they have to be reminded to think about the rest of the country and how shoddy it is getting, peoplewise and environment-wise. There is no wise! What others have struggled and died for – the land and the culture and the good will and the standard of living – is allowed to depreciate. Those who deserve to have a good life in a good country are fobbed off with
        what are considered to be suitable panaceas that leave the recipients weak and confused as to a remedy.

        So those who can’t be bothered about history and how much of it is actually a tale of giant theft which has become a country, too large to fail, just like the banks need to know that they are ignorant, and that is not acceptable.

        So suck it up, you wilfully ignorant sorts, get the history, honour those who have given up their lives, their land, much of their culture, their charity – to new settlers until they have been pushed to the wall. That is a story of our past, both distant and recent.
        It is happening again! And we are letting it happen because we are so ignorant of the process, of our history.

        Don’t whine about being forced to learn what your forebears deliberately didn’t teach you. It’s never too late for intelligent people to expand their brain power, to enliven their synapses; science tells us that. Science has learned a lot since early and later colonial days, we now know we have the capacity to learn and understand and grow wise. Let’s do it!!

    • Daveosaurus 10.2

      urban white liberals burdened with guilt” ?
      professional grievance industry. ” ?

      I’ve learned long ago to discount any rhetoric spouted alongside phrases such as these.

  11. Kay 11

    I never know how to feel about all the military focus of today. War for me is more about happened (and continues to happen) to the civilians caught up in it. Although that can be extended to civilians conscripted by governments as canon fodder who had no idea what they were getting into. I still think about the many countries that still have compulsory military service.

    I was at the last 15 minutes of the national memorial in Wellington this morning. More because it’s the first time in ages I’ve been in a fit state to go out, it’s a beautiful day and it was happening. No matter how you feel about it hearing the Last Post can still be pretty emotional. I was stand right at the back but sadly during the rendition a few (obviously) tourists were wandering around in front of us taking photos. I do think that was pretty rude- would we behave that way in the middle of an obvious solemn ceremony in another country? (Some countries would arrest you). It just seemed wrong.

    Sanctuary- had a slight giggle reading your post. I’ve got no Anzac connection but one of my ancestors was a very nasty big wig in the British Army during the NZ Wars. James Belich doesn’t have very nice things to say about him in his history books lol. I’ve talked to some local Maori from the region he was quite active in and put it this way, the oral history has been passed down well, they know all about him! But they didn’t hold it against me 🙂

  12. greywarshark 12

    Those interested in reading a paper on Anzac Day:

    http://briefingpapers.co.nz/#about

    War remembrance: Acting out or working through?
    Nicholas Haig
    The way we go about remembering the past matters. Trump’s pledge to “Make America Great Again,” and the pro-Brexit visions of Imperial Britain are urgent reminders that our narratives about the past can have a strong effect on the present. The convulsions currently sweeping the globe are rooted in…

    (One of a series of papers since 2014 which sound interesting and i guess other serious commenters here have read them though I don’t remember reading about them here. Info see below.)

    PROMOTING INFORMED
    DISCUSSION & DEBATE IN
    THE PUBLIC INTEREST

    This website began hosting a series of Briefing Papers from early in 2014. The papers are focussed on assessing the state of the country as the basis for public discussion and debate. A group of writers has been assembled to write short briefing papers based on extensive research programmes and presented in a form that can be easily understood by the public at large.

    The Briefing papers are aimed at providing the public with an overview of critical issues facing New Zealand society in the 21st century. The goal is to promote informed discussion and debate, so crucial to economic and social development, with the central question being:
    how is the public
    interest being served?

    The public interest is central to policy debates, politics, democracy and the nature of government. It is a key factor in assessing jobs and the cost of living, educational opportunities, housing options and the way in which the policy makers of today are protecting the interests of future generations.

    In order to address these questions, the Briefing Papers are designed to examine the underlying assumptions on which policy options are based and what interests, public or private, are being served. As Herbert Gans once suggested, this means both understanding and assessing, who benefits?

  13. CHCOff 13

    In spirit of the sacrifice for the greater good, which is what we choose to celebrate for ANZAC day, i would offer that dysfunctional neo-liberal economics steps aside for traditional capitalism self governing Guild organisation of product chains via specific industry groupings in administration of certification levels for every stage that goes into the production of goods and services, and contribute to their overall excellence – in terms of value.

    Thus the Chinese fims operating in New Zealand, are bound to such operating environment and have to import such like back to China. And as it is human nature, when it is free and has the choice, to choose excellence, this can help sort out the unstable Chinese communist system that has been blown out by neo-liberal economic and political elites, into the inevitable structural outcomes of increased ( & increasing) non-defensive militarisation in order to cope with fragile socio economic and political pressures.

  14. Not sure if NZs would be interested in wars..

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