Ravages of war,
the tears of the fallen
staining the soil.
Today in Australia it is Anzac Day – the day when those who served in World War 1 are honoured. Ceremonies are held across the country in commemoration. The main focus of attention is the terrible suffering experienced by Australian soldiers at Anzac Cove, Turkey.
I have been to Anzac Cove. I have stood beneath the Lone Pine Tree and heard in my mind the haunted echoes of the anguished cries of the young men dying there on the beaches in 1915. What many people here in Australia do not know is that the Aussie diggers at Anzac Cove did not actually defeat the Turks at Galliopli. For years the two sides battled it out. Both armies lived in appalling conditions and the casualties were high for both sides. Eventually our troops were recalled when the government realised it was an unwinnable battle. It took many months of petitioning the government before they accepted this was the case. AnzacStory.htmhttp://www.anzacs.net/
I am a pacifist. I have heard the stories of from WW1 and from many other wars. I decided when I was in my teens that I do not condone war at all. I have not come across any information since that has made me change my mind.
Strangely I learned a few years ago that my grandfather was also a pacifist. More than that, he was a conscientious objector in WW1 and did not go to the war. This fact was hidden from me by for many years. ‘Grandpa was too young to fight in that war,’ my father said. There was also some improbable story about how my grandfather, a keen home gardener, had somehow kept the neighbourhood supplied in vegetables for the duration of the war. It was only when my father neared the end of his life that he told his children what had actually happened.
The truth is my grandfather refused to fight. He was a devout Christian with Socialist leanings. Although it is now forgotten history, there was a huge anti-war movement in Australia during WW1. At that time free thinkers wanted to establish Australia as an independent nation no longer ruled by Britain. The war was seen as furthering the cause of Empire.
My father was so ashamed of grandpa’s action he lied about it for most of his adult life. It is only now that Australia is even beginning to recognise that conscientious objection to war is a valid stance.
As the world teeters on the brink of another catastrophic global war I am inspired by the position my grandfather took. There are alternatives to war. Peacemaking, peace-building, mediation and non-violent conflict resolution are all alternatives that work.
Articles on non violent alternatives to war can be found on –
I used a flat bed scanner to create the image on this post, I then added the text in photoshop – image prompt –https://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-challengers-choice-portrait-of-orchids/