The drums of war are sounding in the distance

Just this last weekend, Donald Trump ordered the bombing of civilian suburbs in Damascus. France and England participated in this airstrike alongside the USA. At the time of writing the number of casualties was unknown. This bombing was in response to another bombing of civilians by the Syrian government. The number of casualties is unknown.

122 Tomahawk missiles were launched in the US/UK/France attack, at a total cost of $228 Million USD. Chlorine bombs were dropped by al Assad regime against ordinary Syrian men, women and children.

Meanwhile much of Puerto Rico still has no access to electricity and Flint, Michigan still has no clean drinking water. Never mind everyone else suffering from extreme poverty both in the USA and abroad. There are 5,636,302 Syrian refugees and counting, somewhere in the world.

Jacinda Ardern said in a public statement that she “… accepts why the US, UK and France have today responded to the grave violation of international law, and the abhorrent use of chemical weapons against civilians.” Given that the attack effectively responded to the killing of Syrian civilians by killing more Syrian civilians, this is an exceedingly disingenuous statement. Taking all of this into account, and considering that this posturing and gradual escalation has been going on since at least 2011, it’d be tempting to laugh at this latest development. Unfortunately it’s difficult to appreciate the absurdity when the only results of this strike are more dead people and a further escalation of tensions with Russia, an exceedingly unpleasant and distinctly nuclear-armed state.

So, what do we in New Zealand do?

Well, in just over a week’s time, we’ll all wake up before dawn. We’ll pin our red poppies to our chests, and we’ll go over to our local cenotaphs to remember those who died in two world wars. We’ll watch a procession of troops and veterans, we’ll listen to a bugler playing the last post, we’ll lay wreaths and we’ll very solemnly listen to a string of very important people, some of them from the military, say “lest we forget”. We’ll do our best to remember those who died for our freedom and we’ll hope that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain… while all the while our leaders plot and plan to do it all again. And the next war will make the last ones look like fights in a playground. Back then we didn’t have the power to destroy cities at the push of a button.

The irony is so thick we could cut it with a knife: with one hand we commemorate two mass slaughters with tears and solemnity, and with the other we plot another much larger and more tragic than the last two.

At this point, we have two options: the first is to lie in bed, drinking heavily, listening to sad music and alternating between laughing bitterly and crying inconsolably. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a good option and I’ve been doing a lot of it. But it’s not doing my liver much good, so I’ll have to shift to the second option: point out the absurdity of this situation, and cry out to the world the one thing that makes sense:


Auckland Peace Action will be holding a picnic for peace at 12 PM on ANZAC Day (April the 25th) at the Auckland Domain Bandstand. If you’re equally tired of the absurdity of celebrating ANZAC day in these circumstances, we would love to see you there.

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