NICHOLAS BOYACK’S controversial commentary piece for Stuff is a harbinger of historical controversies to come. Published just 48 hours before Anzac Day’s dawn parades, Boyack’s “We need an honest debate on Gallipoli and a fresh approach to history”, offers an unashamedly revisionist take on the Gallipoli landings. Not surprisingly, it aroused powerful emotions in Stuff’s readers.
Predictably, many of these emotions reflected the affronted nationalism of adherents to the official version of the Anzac story. More interesting, however, were the responses signalling sympathy with Boyack’s anti-imperialistic views.
With the current government strongly committed to overseeing a revolution in the teaching of New Zealand history, Boyack’s Anzac bombshell looks set to be just the first of many such attacks on our national myths. There are few individuals more subversive of the status quo than historians on a mission.
All nations need myths: common narratives – usually heroic, or tragic, or both – with which to bind their citizens to the state with just the right mixture of awe, pity, gratitude and pride. New Zealand’s historical myths were initially crafted to instil loyalty to the imperial British mission, and have maintained a remarkably tenacious grip on the public imagination. The second great wave of national mythmaking gathered strength in the 1950s and 60s and was aimed at inculcating a robust faith in New Zealand’s “progressive” impulses – the reforms that made “little New Zealand” the “social laboratory of the world”. The grip of this second iteration of “New Zealand-ness” turned out to be considerably weaker than the first.
The proof of the imperial mythology’s enduring strength has just been presented to us in the impressive numbers once-again turning out for the traditional Anzac dawn parades. The devotion of the young to the Anzac Myth has perplexed and delighted not only traditional historians, but the entire New Zealand political class.
It was, after all, the young New Zealanders of the 1970s and 80s who had offered up the first serious challenges to the monolithic imperial mythology of the “RSA Generation”. Provoked, at least initially, by New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War, Anzac revisionism soon expanded into a critique of the deeply-ingrained conservative values, and limited political vision, of the taciturn Kiwi blokes who returned from World War II. The fear was that as those with personal memories of the First and Second World Wars became fewer and fewer the Anzac spirit would also march away, shoulder-to-shoulder, with their ghosts.
The Scotsman-turned-Aussie songwriter, Eric Bogle, summed-up this anxiety in his famous song about Gallipoli “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”:
And so now every April, I sit on me porch
And I watch the parades pass before me
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reviving old dreams of past glories
And the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore
They’re tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, “what are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question
But the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday no one will march there at all
Except, astonishingly, the thinning ranks of the world war veterans were filled by their children, grandchildren and, by 2021, their great-grandchildren. The Baby Boom generation may have been sceptical of Anzac Day and what it stood for, but Generation X et seq embraced the Gallipoli myth with a passion that was little short of embarrassing. The question is: Why?
Much of the answer is doubtless bound up with the dramatic social and economic transformations of the 1980s and 90s. The free-market reforms that characterised the political histories of both Australia and New Zealand during that critical period effectively put paid to the “progressive” mythologies of the Anzac “brothers” – represented most forcefully by the Labour governments of Gough Whitlam and Norman Kirk.
Globalisation was an important part of the sales pitch of their successors, Bob Hawke and David Lange, and their respective finance ministers, Paul Keating and Roger Douglas. The only problem being that a political project based on giving de-regulated capitalism its head is extremely difficult to reconcile with the tightly regulated capitalism of the social-democratic Australia and New Zealand which Hawke and Lange were in the process of sweeping away. With the costumes of “progressive nationalism” now passé, the Anzac brothers had little other recourse but to reach into the depths of their national memory chests for the imperial paraphernalia of an even older era.
That the Anzac nations did not emerge from this re-invention exercise wearing pretty much the same clobber is due to New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy. Cold-shouldered by Canberra and Washington, and scolded by the British, New Zealand’s embrace of the old imperial myths was tempered by its new status as the scourge of the English-speaking nuclear powers. For a while, at least, this gave to New Zealand’s Anzac Day commemorations a decidedly Blackadder Goes Forth flavour. While the Aussies become increasingly jingoistic (to the point of almost forgetting what the “nz” in Anzac stands for) the Kiwis played up the horror and tragedy of war.
Unfortunately for the New Zealand political class, that doesn’t really work. Play up the horror and tragedy of war too poignantly and people cannot avoid questioning the point of going to war at all. Moreover, it’s only a short step from recognising the futility of war to grasping, as Nicholas Boyack does so persuasively in his commentary, the less-than-honourable motivations of the imperial politicians who refused to stop the war; and the willingness of New Zealand’s politicians to trade so much blood for butter.
And so it is that the rattle of imperial harness has become more and more a feature of Anzac Day commemorations. Youngsters, in particular, will declaim proudly on how the Anzacs went to war for “freedom” and “democracy”, rather than to strengthen the Mother Country’s grip on the oil reserves of the Middle East. One is moved to wonder if the new and compulsory New Zealand history curriculum will appraise these young New Zealanders of the fact that the wartime government of William Massey considered it advisable to lock up freedom and democracy for the duration: conscripting socialist MPs and subjecting the Christian pacifist, Archibald Baxter, to the torture of “Field Punishment No.1”
“It is time for a national debate on our history, focusing on what we can do to lift the standard in schools and universities” says Nicholas Boyack. “We also need to stop peddling myths about Gallipoli and New Zealand nationalism, and take a more honest approach to our history.”
Ah, yes, but that will entail emulating the sorcerer in Aladdin who offered new lamps for old. And when our historians set about exchanging old national myths for brand new ones, who knows what sort of genies will be summoned forth – or what they will be asked to do?
This essay was originally posted on the Interest.co.nz website on Monday, 26 April 2021.
Already it is an "offense" to point out that prior to the arrival of the European,Maori were (by accepted definition of the term) a stoneage culture !
How to deal then with slavery/cannibalism and other unsavoury truths? Will they be lumped into 'wrong think'and result in 3 years in prison for promulgating hate speech as proposed by Ardern et al ?
New Zealand is on a very perilous path at present, and I fear it will not end well.
I have reflected in recent years on the growing attendance at ANZC dawn parades and pondered what might be motivating people to get up, and to get their family to these services. Several possibilities come to mind.
First, we live in a world now now bereft of real life hero’s. Men or women who engage in acts of courage and self sacrifice. Sporting fields may exhibit the former, but not the latter. The mountains have been climbed, the frontiers explored, and so it seems we have to look back to our ANZAC’s to find local examples.
Second, absent the transcendent, why would men (and it was mainly men) willingly sacrifice their lives for the benefit of others, for generations yet unborn? Some with noble intentions may do so perhaps, but why so many, and from such diverse walks of life? What conditions existed in our country at that time that made such sacrifice seem acceptable, even desirable?
The answer in part comes from an expression of masculinity that was common at the time, and has largely been purged from subsequent generations. A man was a protector and defender of the weak; someone who, if called upon, would lay down their life as an act of love and service to others.
I passed a war memorial in Sydney many years ago, inscribed “For God, for King, for Country”. If you want to know how much we have changed in 70+ years ask yourself how many young men in their late teens and early 20’s would be prepared to lay down their lives for any of those entities today. Of course, not all change has been for the worse, that’s accepted, but it is also true that we have lost something that bound those young men together with a sense of common purpose and unity. Perhaps it is the intuitive sense of cultural loss we experience that fuels the continued interest in ANZAC day.
Nice to see that nationalism distinct to time and place are recognised as a fact. Nations, cultures and people do create identities on a large inclusive scale. This is despite the current dogmas of non-nationalist internationalism, multiculturalism, and multi ethnicism that the current ruling class promote.
Interestingly the Anzac turn out stands as a reminder that people seek inclusion in a wider "we", which we also demonstrate whenever we cheer the All Blacks, or Team NZ. Be very careful of rebranding long term constructs to suit current day agendas.
ANZAC became part of the civil religion of NZ and was,as you note, remythologized in the 1990s- on the tail of 1990 nationalist celebrations and such jingoism as the America's Cup - another more recent addition to our civil religion and national(ist) mythology. Yet I can remember that in the 1970s and 1980s ANZAC was fading as quickly and quietly as the old soldiers were dying off.
However I do wonder if it was actually Gen X who reignited the myth and the memorials as sacred civil religion day and ceremony? I remember(as a Gen-xer) in the early 1990s it was more late baby boomers who took their young children (no Gen-xers had kids to take in the early 1990s). In 1994 a very good friend who in the army (and he has a Masters in religious studies) said, 'you should come and see the ANZAC day ceremony,
something strange is happening. All these parents are bringing kids with old medals.'
So something happened in the early 1990s to the tail end of the baby boom who were looking for nationalist agency and identity
There was also the influence of Maurice Shadbolt(b.1932) and his 'Once on Chanuk Bair'(1982) and (the Australian) Peter Weir's 'Gallipoli' movie (1981) that also reignited the myth for boomers. Likewise, Peter Jackson (b.1961) is not a gen-xer, but the tail end of the boomers and he is perhaps the most ardent mythologizer NZ has had since Shadbolt... Jackson's Te Papa Gallipoli installation is a nationalist and war-geek mythology as subtle and nuanced as a sledge-hammer.
It has always bemused me that NZers and Australians re-invade Gallipoli every year and demand a celebration of a blood-sacrifice myth of nation-building. It is, of course, far more an act of repudiation of Great Britain than anything else, a narrative of innocent and talented youth betrayed by aged incompetence on its journey to adulthood: a nationalist bildungsroman.
Over 50 years ago my birthdate was pulled out of the ballot held for what turned out to be the last intake under the Compulsory National Military Service Act.
I approached the then Labour Department under whose authority the ballot was held and while I thanked them for the opportunity, I declined their offer suggesting I had other things I wanted to do.
I was referred to as "Boy" by a bunch of old men who held jobs for life and informed I would "do as I'm told"
I was called a Commie, Coward. I was told good men had died so a Gutless piece of shit" like me could enjoy the democracy/freedom brave men had sacrificed their lives to defend. At the time I was too young to appreciate the irony in their comments.
In the face of threats, insults and bullying, I held my ground and 2 years later before the appropriate tribunal, my exemption was granted and my case was adjourned "Sine Die"
From memory it was at this time the Kirk Government abolished the concept of compulsory National Military Service.
I was on the WW1 Commemoration Committee, and argued for a broader examination of the war, which after all was 100 years in the past. Some professional historians were interested. Stevan Eldred Grigg had written "The Great Wrong War" in 2010, where he argued that New Zealand could have absented itself from the war. However, the book largely ignored that nature of New Zealand patriotism at the beginning of the twentieth century, and generally was not well received.
As it happened the community, both young and old, did not want such an examination, not even after 100 years. They simply wanted to commemorate the 18,000 dead, and not question either their motivation or patriotism. It was enough that they were seen to have died for New Zealand. Young people, almost universally, were proud of their ancestors.
So I suspect the national myth will not come under any real pressure. The new history curriculum could be seen as causing the descendants of the settlers to feel guilty, but I think that unlikely. I doubt the capacity of the "woke" to make the great majority of the descendants to feel guilty about being New Zealanders. There are way too many countervailing myths, All Blacks, Olympics, our PM, film, music, nuclear free, etc. New Zealanders accept, and are proud of the fact that the world generally sees New Zealand as a good nation, not as one of the world's bad actors. In fact we believe we are the reverse of that.
Virtually all the major english language books written about the World War 1 concluded that it was a good thing the allies won, and that Germany was the back hat.
However, thinking about who won the war, what if Germany had won the war? Germany would have been the dominant power in Europe, Many of the countries in East Europe would not have emerged so quickly. However, Britain would not have been invaded. The Royal Navy would have ensured that. World War 2 probably would not have happened and almost certainly the Holocaust would not have happened. However that alternative history did not happen.
The fact that the allies invaded Turkey has been commented on for at least 50 years. It is acknowledged, and the discussion moves almost immediately to the sacrifice and hardship. I doubt whether Boyack will shift the narrative much at all.
I remain surprised at the revival of ANZAC, now the case for the last 30 years. Will it diminish in the next 10 or 20 years? Probably not. In fact I think the community reaction to the new history curriculum will be for people to double down on ANZAC. It is a day where the community and families make their own decision about how they feel about New Zealand. If the Schools get themselves into the space of telling young New Zealanders how bad they are, there will be a reaction.
My grandfather, George Samms, was a conscientious objector in WW1. He was a socialist and said he was not willing to give his life for a bunch of imperialists to make even more money. He would not register his second child who was born in 1915 because he said it would be said that he had had that child to avoid conscription. NZ had conscription. Australia did not. So he was called as a man with one child. He refused to go and the court ordered him to go to jail for a year when he would be conscripted again and if he refused it would be back to jail.
My grandmother, who had two children and was pregnant with their third had a mortgage and had to fend for herself. It was interesting because a collection was made throughout the country and money was given to the conscientious objectors wives so they managed to keep their home. He lost his rights as a citizen for ten years.
"Generation X et seq embraced the Gallipoli myth with a passion that was little short of embarrassing. The question is: Why?"
The more simple answer is that Anzac Day was always for the benefit of Europeans who dislike Wogs, and Europeans of that ilk are represented in every generation. However, it would be wrong to overstate the depth or extent of this sentiment. If the city of Wellington can only muster 10,000 then we have little cause to worry for the future of our nation.
There can be no disputing that the colonial regime chose to make Anzac Day its de facto Army Day precisely because it commemorated the failed invasion of a Middle Eastern state. The wars with Germany were of far greater moment and created casualties that were an order of magnitude greater but the colonial regime always was and remains uncomfortable with the notion of European nations making war upon each other. There is no embarrassment with respect to Turkey and the Turks. They are Wogs after all, as are the Japanese, Chinese Malays, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans and virtually every other nation or people that the Realm of New Zealand has been called on to fight in the past seventy years.
So Gallipoli fits, and Anzac Day fits, in a way that, say VE day, would not.
Anzac Day also fits because it assumes an imperial hierarchy, in which New Zealand is subordinate to Australia, and Australia and New Zealand together exist to advance the interests of the mother country, Great Britain.
Nicholas Boyack's view is nothing new. Most of our people know the reality of New Zealand's wars, including the war against Turkey. The Gallipoli myth is solely perpetrated by the regime itself, either directly or through its mass media and the only people who subscribe to it are, to be precise, Europeans who dislike Wogs.
What holds people in awe about Anzac Day is much deeper than the rationalising put forward by the historian. One of the most amazing things humans do in battle is enter a staircase and climb towards immortality. They die but the group genes live on.
I know how that feels because about 20 years ago I launched a kamikaze attack on a party next door, at 1:30 in the morning. I wasn't angry or afraid I was elated. It was as though a fuse had been triggered. I got a bottle over my head but not much damage all in all.
Watch this and see if you aren't moved
20 years back we had the Penn Affair when Anna Penn argued with a kaumatua over a cultural safety course which had been devised by Professor Paul Spoonley and Irihapeti Ramsden.
The editor of the Press wrote
Political correctness is the antithesis of free speech and a democratic society,. yet its tentacles reach into the very heart of New Zealand society through government departments, quangos and places of learning (The Press, 24 July 1993).
Long March Through Institutions much Paul (57 media interviews as at 2019) Spoonley.
And another thing.
Where has this whimpy attitude got us. Look at Ardern Mahuta and China. Thinking that you are rational and moral holding some sort of high ground counts for little.
Ardern's most famous statement is "They are us" and "what if we changed what us means?". That's a fat lot of use if they don't reciprocate and use us as doormats.
Baizuo (white-left) is a Chinese internet insult "
The question has received more than 400 answers from Zhihu users, which include some of the most representative perceptions of the 'white left'. Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours”.
@Wayne Mapp, yes, but don't you feel, well, just a teeny weeny bit guilty about the complete madness of the British Empire and all that DNA running through our history, I mean, it isn't WOKE to be aware......is it
Hello alo alo. What's this then?
The language used was noticeably more dramatic and inflammatory, the editorial staff adopted a much more politically aggressive posture which condemned liberal positions and the threshold of what constitutes acceptable public comment on racism was expanded (see Gordon E Rosenberg, 1989).
When such partisan positions are adopted by the media, and in spite of what might be written elsewhere on the same page, questions need to be asked not only about the role of the press in defending a certain position but what such partisanship means for debate and democratic freedom (see Walker, 1990). Given the news and editorial values that have so often driven coverage of this issue, the question becomes one of how well the public understand what constitutes cultural safety. Values will always intrude on the coverage of such an issue, but there is a balance that is required for media coverage to provide a certain level of basic information and which does not seek to portray the parties to this dispute in flattering or unflattering light as the case may be. The inevitable media response is that they are simply covering an issue that their readers, listeners or viewers want to know about and that the way in which they portray the issue is not governed by partisanship. But inattacking the motives and methods of those involved with cultural safety, and in marginalising the reasons for the inclusion of cultural safety, notably the very poor service Maori have received from health services in general, it was inevitable that cultural safety would be cast as the villain in the media dramatisation. This raises important questions about the role of the media in defending traditional and, in this case, Pakeha values against any sort of change which might provide Maori with different and more appropriate services. We would also argue that the freedom of the press inhibits the freedom of speech in important ways.
The case of the debate on cultural safety in nursing demonstrates the way in which the threshold of what constitutes acceptable public comment has been noticeably lowered..
Paul Spoonley Irihapeti Ramsden 1994
Well said Brendan.
Our young men went to war for all sorts of reasons but we revere them today as manifestations of sacrifice and courage regardless of the justifications for the war or their reasons for joining it.
Our heroes are foundational, perhaps it seems a stretch to compare them to the idea of the truly ideal man, Jesus, but they are vital, at once immortal and an avatar of something far greater than themselves, the idea of sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice.
Fail to recognise that and your society dies from the roots up.
The first thing about this is that anyone who take what comes out of STUFF seriously needs help. Stuff 'reporters' do a lot of interviewing their typewriters and that involves making up all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
The second thing is what someone said once about WW1 - "lions lead by Donkeys". There is no doubt that many of the officers of the western powers were completely incompetent (and probably the Germans also). The French senior commanders spent most of the war in Paris in bed with one (or more) of their mistresses.
What cannot be overlooked is that the soldiers in the ranks were killed by the thousands. They did their duty as they saw it. Those that were killed sacrificed their life for following generations. Many died because of stupid commanders and stupid ideas (even for the times). Even English companies were making shells for German artillery which they sold to the Germans via Scandinavia. It all sounds crazy now but the average private soldier wasnt part of that idiocy.
But anyone who questions the motives and bravery of the soldiers in the front line - or who served in the front lines of WW1 is a coward and should be silenced for ever.
Question the details of the history - sure, but dont question the soldier in the front line.
I challenge anyone to attend the daily ceremony at Menin gate in Epres and to come away thinking that the front line soldiers were wrong in what they did. If you do then you are a hollow person who no-one should support.
Epres has has been over run at least 40 times in history. They know what its like to be invaded and run by a brutal power and they remember the lives that were given to enable Ypres to be free from a foreign power.
Let the deluded from Stuff write whatever they like (which is actually what they are doing at the moment - all sorts of drivel they seem to dig up from their sewer ). Historical details will always change and there will always be those with nothing positive to contribute to society grovelling around in the bottom of the heap looking for something to make themselves noticed. But the best thing is to ignore them .
"Already it is an "offense" to point out that prior to the arrival of the European,Maori were (by accepted definition of the term) a stoneage culture !
How to deal then with slavery/cannibalism and other unsavoury truths? "
How to deal with unsavoury truths? The right seem to bring them up all the time, with the idea that Maori were constantly fighting and eating each other. Forgetting that Britain or "home" fought approximately one war every 18 months in the 19th century, and human body parts were still being used in medicine for much of the 19th century as well – so cannibalism. Not useful to the right-wing narrative so completely ignored.
There was a faction in the British government who didn't want to join World War I. Although the British army had been secretly liaising with the French for some time. I think it would have been a good thing, given that it would have probably played out very much like the Franco-Prussian war, France would have been defeated reasonably quickly, they would have sued for peace, and Germany would have been predominant in Europe, but under a monarchy rather than a fascist regime. We would have avoided millions of young men dying and quite possibly the misnamed Spanish flu epidemic would not have been quite so bad.
Personally I think NZ doesn't have enough decent anti-war songs, for all the Aussies' jingoism there much better than us at producing those.
"And the Anzac legends didn't mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real.
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn't even feel
God help me, I was only nineteen."
Youngsters, in particular, will declaim proudly on how the Anzacs went to war for “freedom” and “democracy”, rather than to strengthen the Mother Country’s grip on the oil reserves of the Middle East.
I would be intrigued to know which Middle Eastern oilfields you are referring to Chris.
" how many young men in their late teens and early 20’s would be prepared to lay down their lives for any of those entities today."
Given the growth of atheism, I suspect few would give their lives for the first –given the growth of republicanism, probably very few for the second either – but let's see, how many of New Zealand's wars in the last hundred years or so have been in defence of the country? ... Oh.
Wayne, just an observation on your own history but I have read before that you were a Labour man who became a National MP. You must have had some strong philosophical debates in your own mind at the time.
To: Simon Cohen.
The Anglo-Persian Oil Company - forerunner of BP - was the prime source of oil for the Royal Navy's new oil-fired warships. An Ottoman-German dominated Middle East would have been a strategic disaster.
After the war, the British were in effective control of Egypt, Palestine, Trans-Jordan and Iraq - not to mention Persia. The Ottoman Empire was no more and Germany wasn't going anywhere in a hurry.
A good four years' work all 'round - at least from the British point of view.
Few myths hold up to historicity, but what is undoubted is that a large number of young New Zealand men were killed, inured or traumatized across the other side of the world. Each would have had his own motivation, but collectively it was likely that imperialism cloaked in nationalism was the most common. For NZ to be good colonials, King and country were one. Families were left without sons and fathers. Women maintained the economy unlike any time before. Young widows and fatherless sons were in every town and neighborhood (solo mothers were treated by the Right differently then and not subjected to the moral blame of today).
We then had the 1918 Influenza which killed 0.58 of the NZ population, but about 5% of Maori on top of disproportionate war causalities for Maori soldiers. The age that the 1918 flu hit, were often the healthy and strong. Between the war and the flu, some villages
and small towns felt the losses greatly.
NZ claimed Samoa, first militarily, then by League of Nations mandate. This fulfilled Seddon's vision of a Pacific empire long after the vision faded. Ironically, Seddon rejected trans-Tasman unity for his Pacific dream only for the war that achieved this to be the on-going symbol of the Australia and NZ relationship. 25% of Samoans were to die as a result of the flu and NZ colonialism.
Should ANZAC Day be preserved? As historicity takes hold, there is enough to acknowledge and commemorate for significance. The soldiers not only died or were injured, but many came back with a wider world view (and were explicitly antiwar), Women took on new perspectives in regard to their place in society, Maori society was changed for ever by the war and the flu, our on-going relationship with Samoa began (albeit poorly) and today we view New Zealanders of Samoan decent serving in our defense forces and families proudly attending ANZAC commemorations.
Jingoism should remain in myth, but NZ as a society was changed by WWI. We should remember all of them.
Some old Brit I read, who I thought had a forces background, was running down Maori because they were always warring and fighting. The history books about Britain are full of stories about Napoleon, Crimea, fighting the fuzzy-wuzzies, Khartoum, Kitchener, the Relief of Mafeking, the charge of the Light Brigade - on average a major skirmish if not war every 20 years for the gallant Brits, fighting for the empah, for honour, and the flag (and to hold onto pirated land and resources). The peculiar ability of the paralysed prejudiced brain to actually encompass a background of solid information is a dangerous thing whichever 'side' it arises from.
Mike Grimshaw - It has always bemused me that NZers and Australians re-invade Gallipoli every year and demand a celebration of a blood-sacrifice myth of nation-building. It is, of course, far more an act of repudiation of Great Britain than anything else, a narrative of innocent and talented youth betrayed by aged incompetence on its journey to adulthood: a nationalist bildungsroman.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, it is said. I am impressed how after having done some study on history or almost anything, the mind closes on a thread of information like a shellfish and turns it into a pearl of wisdom.
NZs made a name for themselves in Gallipoli, Turkey, along with Australians and British, and it can be reached by land from London, another place we make for and we are curious as we leave home and want to explore the world. We have a recognised presence now in Turkey where we can visit and join in commemoration of a joint action where all countries lost many dead. The Turkish men in the takeaway I go to, are very pleasant and enjoy NZ also. They were sad about the shooting in Christchurch, but understand the currents that run through society. They have their own place of worship here. In the war both countries lost innocent and talented youth; of late years it has brought us together.
I have been reading about our exploits in Crete as well, where we are well thought of. We fought hard against impossible odds and Ron Palenski has written a balanced book about the actions and the personalities involved in his Men of Valour. We can't forget the sacrifice that so many men made, and we shouldn't.
Geoff Fischer your comments seem to drip scorn, and determination to regurgitate past wrongs and not allow for the changes that our society has made. We aren't all bad compared to your 'side' which are all good. It is sad to read this line from you repeatedly.
The Gallipoli myth is solely perpetrated by the regime itself, either directly or through its mass media and the only people who subscribe to it are, to be precise, Europeans who dislike Wogs.
You might want to take this argument up with Maori TV who have for years now, been probably the Number 1 media place for Anzac Day ceremonies, including many documentaries leading up to it. Certainly it's been noted how superior their coverage is compared to TV One and others.
Let us know how you get on. :)
A good four years' work all 'round - at least from the British point of view.
Given that everybody else, including the Ottoman Empire, was thinking the same way I don't see that the British should be overly criticised for that.
As a matter of fact when it comes to resources every nation-state still thinks like this, even as the resources slowly change.
Geoff, so European NZers hate "wogs". How lovely of you to say. I'd describe that as a racist statement.
Dont agree that France would have been defeated quickly, the first battle of the Marne proved that. British contribution at the time was very low so had little decisive influence. You are probably correct that Germany would have defeated France alone through attrition and industrial power if she stood alone.
There's a (Irish?) saying; "it's not a great war but it's better than no war at all"
What is it about us humans that we can even think such a thing? An inherent thirst for challenge, to be pushed to the limit and succeed perhaps.
We are in a war, a war with ourselves, a culture war, with the main protagonists drawn from a generation and class raised without real challenge, an all you can eat banquet of plenty, schooled into an "everyone's a winner" delusion. Is it just coincidence that these people even choose to call themselves social justice warriors or climate warriors. They really think, and really want to think, they are in an actual war.
Obviously we need challenge, to pick up our cross and face the struggle. What happens when there's no struggle, are we bound to go looking for trouble. I bought my eleven year old grandson Jocko Willink's book "The way of The Warrior Kid". Jocko's a tough nut, decorated Navy Seal, but the book is really about conquering inner demons. How to be strong in the face of adversity, to have the strength to stand apart from the mob, how to help and support others, how to deal with bullies and how not to become one yourself, respect for those that came before, that sort of thing.
We, the West, will be faced with more than a challenge from within before we even know what's happening. What sort of state will we be in to face it? “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu
Who fears a society that hates itself? By Lionel Shriver. Excerpt:
"But a country that adopts self-excoriation as its national pastime also looks weak. The Chinese are keeping attentive watch as the West denigrates its heroes, debunks its previous sources of pride, vandalizes its icons, denounces its cultural heritage, slanders its popular majorities as indelibly stained with original sin and rewrites its history to make its past appear as wicked as possible. The spectacle inspires contempt. The Chinese see the self-flagellating throes of the West as the certain bellwether of terminal decline. We’re making ourselves look pathetic. In countries and individuals both, a penchant for self-criticism is only healthy when balanced by some measure of self-belief."
Do I feel guilty about being a descendant as a result of the British Empire? Not really.
I think we have a pretty good country here in Aotearoa New Zealand. One of the best in the world.
The British Empire is a major reason for that, in fact it is the principal reason.
We got from Britain a settled body of law that treated people equally. We got a functioning democracy, which we then improved. We got a huge amount of capital to develop the country; roads, rail, telecommunication, industry. We got social infrastructure of schools, hospitals and a non corrupt efficient government. All of which we then improved.
We got a guaranteed market for our agricultural produce with good returns extending over more than a century. The built capital in our farming system meant we could find alternative markets when we had to do so after the 1970's.
All of this has resulted in us being one of the most prosperous nations on earth. Everyone has benefitted, right across social and economic classes.
Of course some of my inlaws would say it meant Maori could never become an independent nation, a permanent and irrevocable loss. Settler demographics meant that such an option was impossible, and is unlikely in the future ever to be reversed. Maori cannot not do what the Scots may be able to do, and that is vote to become a seperate, independent nation. For some of my inlaws this is a tragedy of catastrophic proportions.
Talk of war seems to default back to WW1. Anzac Day has become a name for something that is faded and tattered; there is little friendly co-operation between Oz and NZ - more measured strategy around trans-Tasman commercial domination, disbarring, and white-anting. Perhaps just call April 25th War Remembrance Day, and think about our real loss of people, that we do not want to let sink out of thought and memory. Come closer, later than 1915. our hearts and hopes have been broken again since then.
Nick J wrote"Geoff, so European NZers hate "wogs". How lovely of you to say. I'd describe that as a racist statement."
I did not say that, as Nick very well knows.
I wrote of "Europeans who dislike Wogs" and argued that "Europeans of that ilk are represented in every generation".
That is just a fact. There is no other way to explain the anti-Chinese laws of 1881, the 1915 invasion of Turkey, the 1929 Mau massacre in Samoa, the 1946 supply of weapons to the French colonial regime in IndoChina, 1948 military support for British colonial rule in Malaya, 1963 complicity in the US invasion of Vietnam, the 2003 wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.
The people who draw attention to these incontrovertible truths are not racist. Most New Zealanders are not racist. But the colonialist regime of the Realm of New Zealand is intrinsically and irredeemably racist and the cult of Anzac is racist to its core.
I hope, pray and work for the day when such attitudes are no longer found inside our shores but we have a way to go yet before the influence of the colonial regime is finally eradicated.
Tom Hunter wrote:
"You might want to take this argument up with Maori TV who have for years now, been probably the Number 1 media place for Anzac Day ceremonies, including many documentaries leading up to it. Certainly it's been noted how superior their coverage is compared to TV One and others."
Maori TV, for all its programming excellence, is a component of the colonialist regime and is either caught up in or defers to the cult of Anzac.
It is also true that Maori have fought for the colonial regime in virtually all its domestic and foreign wars including the nineteenth century wars over sovereignty within Aotearoa.
However, while you will see Maori at Anzac Day events, I think it is fair to say that they do not subscribe to the cult of Anzac in the same way as Europeans. For Maori participation in colonialist wars was, as Apirana Ngata claimed, "the price of citizenship". It was a constrained choice which did not spring from the same source as the British imperialist contempt for "wogs".
If you watch Maori TV more generally you will see a more balanced and nuanced approach to current and past wars of the colonial regime than what you might see on TV1 or hear on RNZ. That is to the credit of the individuals who provide Maori TV's content.
"Geoff Fischer ... We aren't all bad compared to your 'side' which are all good. It is sad to read this line from you repeatedly."
I am not taking sides and I am not judging individuals. greywarbler doesn't seem to have any logical arguments to make in support of the Anzac cult, so I will leave it at that.
David George - We are in a war, a war with ourselves, a culture war, with the main protagonists drawn from a generation and class raised without real challenge, an all you can eat banquet of plenty, schooled into an "everyone's a winner" delusion. Is it just coincidence that these people even choose to call themselves social justice warriors or climate warriors. They really think, and really want to think, they are in an actual war.
Interesting thought. Why are we at war every generation? Just because big powers compete for resources to fuel their manufacturing that makes them rich? If we decide we don't need all those vehicles how much will our oil consumption go down? Will that stop the powers from going to lands to destroy them, first stirring up the population somehow so that they are ready to strike at others?
One group can want to live in peace but in our society a single person with a gun can strike at their heart. There is always one person at least who will have a grievance that he or she works on till its burned up all their reflective brain cells. The electricity flows into the brain and sort of blows a fuse. It is a pity that we don't pay more care to our own and others grievances, and try and listen, try some empty-chair gestalt therapy, let people talk and then write down some keywords about their trouble and one example that bugs them. The mind remembers and then it rests, part of the tale is told, and with repeats of counselling like that and the words 'How can you get past this? What can you do to satisfy your grievance or sorrow?'
That can work with the individual but what about nations, and those people who have become totally warped? It is impossible to set a group's direction to total peace and harmony - there must always be some preparation for dealing with the various degrees of aggravation that will eventually arise.
I've been reading about the NZ troops in Crete given an impossible task by the British. They were very much praised for their steadfastness and ability to think under pressure. Someone said that this was the real NZ character. Then I have been looking at what Lord Rutherford achieved and how sadness hit his personal life with the early death of his own daughter after having her fourth child. Then his own death at about 55 years, and their son-in-law seven years after him. Lady Rutherford had a lot to bear. I am thinking that to cope with the future and the economic and political mess that we are in, we need the thoughtful and capable approach of Rutherford, and the ability to carry on of Lady Rutherford, and the esprit de corps of our troops that fought in Crete, and also of the many who went on to fight in the desert in Africa. This tech age is dividing and diminishing us, and we have to gather ourselves together without that 'patriot' call that turns people sour, not the 'my nation above all' but a support for our humanity and being inclusive for those who will work co-operatively together and be NZs looking out for each other, trying for a good standard of living with less luxuries than are presently being chased.
A less materialistic world, but a good and practical ones, with frills and fun to look forward to. We need a template for the future, and I like the one that I have set out. Everyone having a hand to get things done, with everyone getting a reasonable pension when they need it, but being still involved, helping out with their particular skills to some extent. We oldies don't do enough, yet there are more of us living longer. Not a good look, should we conscript ourselves and others in a Citizens' Army?
The young men, boys, who died in both wars are characterised as heroes. I believe that they were all victims. In the hills behind Cave in South Canterbury there is a memorial to the farm boys who flocked to the colours on foot and on horseback. I think that had I been a boy on a farm in rural South Canterbury I too would have rushed to join the colours. An escape, adventure and the chance to see foreign parts. One thing is sure, they had no idea what they were letting themselves in for. The sad sequel to all this to this day, wars and rumours of wars continue. Will they never learn?
Maori TV, for all its programming excellence, is a component of the colonialist regime and is either caught up in or defers to the cult of Anzac.
Ah yes, the old Marxist standby of the problem of False Consciousness, nowadays translated into the failure of some race or other, in this case Maori, to understand their own exploitation.
Marxists have been banging this drum since the 19th century. It failed in the world of social and economic class thinking, it'll fail again in its new environment of Identify Politics, and it clearly has failed in the world of racial politics, as you lament.
David George - "We are in a war, a war with ourselves, a culture war, with the main protagonists drawn from a generation and class raised without real challenge, an all you can eat banquet of plenty, schooled into an "everyone's a winner" delusion. Is it just coincidence that these people even choose to call themselves social justice warriors or climate warriors. They really think, and really want to think, they are in an actual war."
So your solution is to make sure that every generation has to go to war? My father and grandfathers were always expressing the opinion that they were glad that their sons, grandson's and great-grandson's would not have to go. In fact as a kid I rather resented it, it was a bit like "there are people starving in Africa" when you wouldn't eat your dinner. But now I've come to appreciate what they were trying to say.
No challenges? Well the social engineering of the last 40 years or so resulting in in neoliberal society I think is challenge enough for most. I'd like to see my descendants challenged by getting the country back to a proper social democracy with regulations and a tax system that make sure the wealthy contribute to everyone having a decent life. What's loosely described as "child poverty" of which there is absolutely no such thing of course – it's just poverty is also a pretty big challenge. But unfortunately a pretty high rate of poverty seems to be acceptable to New Zealand politicians these days. But solving those problems I think is challenge enough, and we don't need to sacrifice our young men to do it.
I've just listened to Joe Biden's speech to Congress. I never thought I'd hear an American president so far to the left of the New Zealand Labour Party. If he lives up to his promises, the US might just squeeze in another century of leadership. One thing that impressed me was his "new idea" that the US government should by US produced stuff. We seem to have abandoned that long ago, and we've seen businesses go to the wall because of it. What a refreshing change from the Mango Mussolini.
Geoff Fisher: "we have a way to go yet before the influence of the colonial regime is finally eradicated"
"We" certainly do Geoff, given the shared history and the cultural, religious, linguist and ethnic ties to Britain and to the incalculable richness of western civilisation generally. "Eradicated" by who and to what end? As for "colonial regime"? What century, and what country do you imagine you're living in?
It's almost impossible to get any sort of straight answer as to the ends from you separatist types - I suspect that's deliberate. One can only infer, from the thinly disguised seething contempt that there's an ugly pool of hate behind it.
You claimed previously that God is on your side; look the hell out when anyone comes out with that one to justify their hate filled revolution.
A few years ago, I heard a replay on the radio the NZ Prime Minister of the time, 1914, declaring war on Germany. I listened keenly for his justification. Amongst the hyperbole he popped out, "...we must protect Britain's birthright." How pathetically vague.
Savage was much the same in WW2. "... where she (Britain) goes, we go..."
Kia ora David George
You make the cardinal error - one actually fostered by the colonial regime - of believing that "colonialist" is synonymous with "British". Colonialism is essentially a political and economic phenomenon, as you should understand if you had been paying attention to the discussions on this blog.
So you can have colonialists of any ethnicity, including Maori, and you can have nationalists of any ethnicity, including Pakeha.
You are colonialist if you give allegiance to the British Queen, and support the system of government that was imposed by force of British arms in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The English language will never be eradicated in Aotearoa, and no one would want it to be. The Christian religion will survive, though possibly more commonly among Maori than Pakeha and other ethnic groups. Elements of English law (particularly common law) will almost certainly be retained.
But there will no place for the evil works of colonialism, such as the Five Eyes alliance. If the Five Eyes and the ideology peddled by Brenton Tarrant are what you mean by "the incalculable richness of western civilisation", then yes, it has to go.
You write "As for "colonial regime"? What century, and what country do you imagine you're living in?"
David, you know very well that New Zealand operates under a regime which is colonialist in the constitutional, political and economic meanings of the word.
So be honest. Come out openly and say that you want New Zealand to have an unelected foreign head of state, and to be subordinate to the great powers politically, militarily and economically.
To your credit, you are now using your real name on this blog. Be more open about your political opinions and you will win a further degree of respect, even if you may not win agreement.
"It's almost impossible to get any sort of straight answer as to the ends from you separatist types - I suspect that's deliberate."
I am not a separatist, and you will never fail to get a straight answer from me. However some blogs occasionally decline to publish my comments. If you don't get an answer, email me direct, firstname.lastname@example.org
You go a step too far by publicly inferring that I am motivated by hate. That is a libel put out by the SIS, and I am sorry to see you repeating it in this forum.
The truth is that I take a strong stand on the issue of colonialism. The SIS in particular has no way of refuting or rebutting my arguments, so they choose instead to slander my motives. That is what I would expect from them, but I am disappointed to hear it from you.
Tom Hunter wrote "Ah yes, the old Marxist standby of the problem of False Consciousness, nowadays translated into the failure of some race or other, in this case Maori, to understand their own exploitation."
I have never used and do not value the Marxist concept of "false consciousness". I acknowledge that many Maori have chosen to support the colonialist regime. I understand their reasons for doing so, which are, fundamentally, not that different to the reasons why many European New Zealanders support the continuation of colonialism. But, as I have argued at length, colonialism is no longer politicallly sustainable. It will be severely stressed by both internal and external pressures over the coming decades. In my own view, it also happens to be morally indefensible. So it will go, and it is good that it should be gone.
Geoff, I paraphrased you, but reading this I think that your statements indicate that you see the world through racial lens only. You have branded Anzac as racist based upon interpreting history through race based arguments that are so full of holes... young European colonists didnt go off to fight the Boers or Turks or Germans on racial grounds, Vietnam and Malaysia were about containing communism.
If you want to see racism end in Aotearoa you might want to start by not looking for bad guy straw men to attribute wrongs to based upon race.
As for the colonialist state you harp on about, yes it existed, the rest of us have moved on and are busy shaping our world to meet todays reality.
GS, what gave you the idea that I'm proposing war as an ideal. My advice to my grandson is to do good, make yourself a stronger and better person, there's your challenge.
Jean-Paul Sartre: "Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning".
Sorry, I'm not a believer in politics as a solution to what are fundamentally eternal human problems.
To: Simon Cohen.
My apologies, Simon, your recent comment was chewed up in the system.
Please send it again.
Chris you say:
The Anglo-Persian Oil Company - forerunner of BP - was the prime source of oil for the Royal Navy's new oil-fired warships. An Ottoman-German dominated Middle East would have been a strategic disaster."
If there was a German-Ottoman dominated Middle East after the war it would be because Germany had won the war. And I doubt if sourcing oil for her battleships would have been a prime concern of a defeated Britain. One of the German Empires war aims [as set out in German Govt papers in 1914] was the transferring of the Royal Navy to Germany. And if the Allies won the war there would be no problem. So it seems to me that your theory is a nonsense. And coincidentally every modern competent historian disagrees with you.
Thank you for your reply Geoff. I think your chosen post modernist "definition" of colonialism is confusing and divisive; it mistakes the nature of our sovereignty and isn't particularly helpful to the real issues.
Whether we choose to retain the British monarch as our nominal and figurative head of state or support our current allegiances or any one of the myriad ways we interact with the world shouldn't be confused with colonialism for the obvious and fundamental reason that they're our choices, hopefully understood and acted upon by our chosen representatives.
Re "the incalculable richness of western civilisation" Brendon Tarrant? Who cares, what's he got to do with it? The incomparable art, literature, music, philosophy, religion, architecture, science and technology, the fruits and the foundation of western civilisation I have profound respect for. Not to say that other cultures should be disrespected but by any objective comparison....?
I think it's important to use your proper name though I only just figured out how to change the old handle on this system. Your name is part you and part your family, given in the hope that you'll honour both parts; yourself and them. Recognising that reinforces the will to try to not say or write things I'm ashamed of or, though they may not agree with the opinion, that my mother and father would be ashamed of either. Their spirit lives within me through that I guess, it's the same with a nation.
We have a collective view of ourselves derived from our past, it's heroes and it's history and an obligation to those that came before to respect and honour, at least, their efforts.
Nick J wrote:
"young European colonists didnt go off to fight the Boers or Turks or Germans on racial grounds, Vietnam and Malaysia were about containing communism."
The wars against the Maori, Boers, Turks, Germans and Malayans were all about defending the British empire. In the case of Vietnam, New Zealand joined forces first to support the French Empire in IndoChina, and later to advance the US attempt to fill the "vacuum" left by the departure of the French colonisers.
Communism happened to be the vehicle through which colonised peoples sought to liberate themselves from colonial rule (in the final event communism proved to be nothing more than that) so communism became the enemy.
Let's unpack this. New Zealand's wars were all about defending and expanding the British empire, first and foremost, and about defending European imperialism more generally, though not about advancing imperialism per se. The Ottoman empire for example, was a target, not an ally. The German Second Reich was targeted even though it was European, because its overseas possessions were coveted by the British (meaning that the British saw war with Germany as a way to increase the number of native peoples that could be made subject to British rule, including the people of Samoa).
So there is an undeniable racial element to all these wars, based on the notion of British exceptionalism, British racial supremacy (remember New Zealand Prime Minister Keith Holyoake declaring Hillary's conquest of Everest to be "a triumph of the British race"?) and British imperialism.
What motivated individual "European colonists" in the colonial forces is almost besides the point. They were conscripted for the really big shows. They had no choice. Most believed Savage and Fraser who told them that they were fighting for Britain which is as close as they ever got to the truth. Some wanted to join the battle against fascism, but they were a minority who had been stigmatised during the preceding decade when the British empire was tacitly supporting the imposition of fascist rule in Spain.
These wars were all fought to defend and advance British rule over native peoples over the entire globe. The attitude of the troops towards these native peoples, like the attitude of the colonial authorities, varied from benign contempt (no sense in gratuitously offending people you intend to exploit) to dislike (it is difficult to kill people who you do actually like) to extreme racial hatred (which grows inexorably as the people you have come to subjugate make your life a misery, kill your comrades and leave you physically and psychologically maimed).
I don't see the world through "a race-based lens" as you suggest. I see the colonial regime as inextricably race based, and I maintain that its whole history right down to the present is tied up with the notion of race. You have the words of your own Prime Ministers, Seddon, Savage, Fraser and Holyoake to confirm this. Over the last half century they have become more circumspect about matters of race, but they still hold fast to the Five Eyes alliance of nations dominated by the British race and they may be willing to go into another catastrophic war on that basis.
If the regime has changed for the better in the last fifty years I fail to see the evidence. Have you seen the videos of Anzac troops murdering Afghan civilians? Possibly not, because the colonial regime has not allowed such footage to be broadcast here. But ironically, the Australians have seen it, and at least one Australian has chosen to imitate those Anzac killings on a grand scale.
Now those who support New Zealand colonialism and British racism label those of us who have consistently rejected racism in all its forms as being "racist" ourselves. All very Alice in Wonderland.
The question you really should be asking yourself is "How long is left for the reign of British race supremacy?".
Geoff you were going well up to the bit about German Samoa. Then you get to British exceptionalism, yes it existed, absolutely as does American exceptionalism, French exceptionalism, German exceptionalism. Its what empires in particular project, as do nations in their national myths. You mistake racism for nationalist / imperialist sentiment. Of course the other party is inferior, how else to justify the unjustifiable. Race differences are coincidental but not the driving force.
You need to know I am not in favour of imperialism, in fact the opposite. That said every era has seen empires contesting and the weak exploited. Our next imperialist challenge will come from China, after them who knows. The Chinese might wonder when dealing with NZ what kind of Foreign Minister has a tattooed chin, is a female and isnt wearing a business suit. I reckon thats us as a post colonial nation projecting who we now are (which is not some colonial European outpost).
With regard to racism in NZ it exists, probably always will, and is not the exclusive domain of any one culture. When I say we have moved on to todays reality I can demonstrate it. In the 80s I took my girlfriend into a provincial towns best bar. We got stared at, made uncomfortable silently, she was Maori. We left. By contrast her whanau were not keen on a pakeha boyfriend. That would not happen today, we have moved on.
I don't hold with your depiction of race being causal or central to war Geoff. There's plenty of envy, resentment and greed to allow for first. Some of the worst examples were between, essentially, the same races. Obviously the European wars were or the Japanese invasion of China (don't read The Rape of Nankeen if you want a pleasant nights sleep) between North East Asians. Or the Rwanda civil war where they couldn't even tell each other apart but ended up slaughtering their near neighbours on the basis of intertribal resentment and revenge. A bit like the pre treaty Maoris.
I don't know what you've been reading but you certainly seem a bit bent out of shape by it. The real world is a much more pleasant place than you imagine.
Yes, we, the people of Aotearoa, have moved on. In many ways we have grown in wisdom, understanding and compassion.
But have "our" political institutions kept up in this progress?
New Zealand will not withstand the "challenge from China" while it remains in bondage to the Five Eyes. For a whole lot of reasons. So New Zealand will have to move away from that. No longer having a British head of State reigning from London. No longer having a flag that in Prime Ministerial press conferences in indistinguishable from the Union Jack or the flag of the Commonwealth of Australia. No longer allowing the Five Eyes to dictate its military deployments or to speak for it in matters of foreign policy.
Only as a truly and visibly independent nation will Aotearoa be able to face a challenge from China or any other nation.
There are some positive signs, but the process has barely started. Let's try to ensure that it is not a false start.
The relationship between race and imperialism is complex. Imperialism arises out of successful nationalism, as often as not democratic nationalism. Empires are by definition multi-ethnic and the main task of the administrators of empire is to manage ethnic populations. That may involve eliminating or assimilating indigenous populations, and it may involve mass transfer of populations from one part of the empire to another. You will see many examples throughout the history of the British empire. In theory, so long as subject peoples are compliant, there is no place or need for racism. But subject peoples tend not to be compliant, the principle of divide and rule must be applied, and thus ethnic antipathies are aroused within every empire.
So nationalism and imperialism cannot be absolutely separated from racism. Yes, you can have a multi-ethnic non-racist nation. There are a few examples out there. Aotearoa could be one if we decide to make it one.
But in practice it is impossible to have a non-racist empire, and racism is the price that New Zealand paid for being part of the British empire. The more we separate ourselves from the empires of the world, the closer we will become to one another, not least because as a small island nation "at the bottom of the world" we will desperately need each other.
Kia ora David George
The Chinese and Japanese see themselves as racially distinct. So did the British and Germans. ("The Huns"). Most wars come to involve a degree of racial antagonism, which tends to grow stronger the longer the war drags on, but as you say, it is the greed of those who hold authority over the state that cause nations to go to war.
The ordinary private, on the other hand, does not go to war out of greed. Usually he must be told that the enemy, be it the Maori, the Hun, the Turk, or the Afghan, present a threat to his life and well being.
Let's not try to deny the role of racism in the conflicts and suffering of humankind. Let's instead work towards combating its perfidious influence.
David George wrote:
"Whether we choose to retain the British monarch as our nominal and figurative head of state or support our current allegiances or any one of the myriad ways we interact with the world shouldn't be confused with colonialism for the obvious and fundamental reason that they're our choices, hopefully understood and acted upon by our chosen representatives."
All you are saying there is that you choose to be a colonialist. If we, for our part, sent a representative to your parliament and our representative chose not to swear allegiance to the British Head of State, then you would not allow that representative the right to speak or vote in the House. So while it is your choice to be a colonialist, and to have a colonial state, it is a choice you impose upon us and not our own choice. It never has been our choice.
Now you say that the British monarch is a nominal and figurative head of state as though to suggest that it is without significance.
That is somewhat strange, given that our people's refusal to swear allegiance to this "nominal" head of state was your assumed justification for driving them off their land at Ihumaatao, invading the Waikato and confiscating vast tracts of territory. Then loyalty to the Queen became the condition of citizenship. It still is. How can something be insignificant if it is the grounds for dispossessing an entire people and withholding the rights and privileges of citizenship? Are you mocking us David?
If at some future time the nominal New Zealand Head of State is deemed to be the Chairman of the Politburo of the CCP in Beijing and if the law still required that all members of parliament must give allegiance to that nominal head of state would you have a problem with that? Why would you?
The British monarchy may not be your idea of a Head of State Geoff Fischer but she is, the Head of State for all of us, and a thousand times preferable to anyone else I can think of. There are many good people around, and capable, but we all have some flaws and some can seriously undermine the decisions and outcomes from the personage.
The Queen carries out her tasks admirably in a balanced and thoughtful way and most others would be or become ideology blinded or superior and condemning or attractive and shallow or power hungry and self-centred. Just being there, she prevents a phalanx of nouveau riche or puritan save-the-world (from sex and pleasure) types from gaining advantage. And Charles would be as beneficial, even if just for some years as a transition to the younger-in-line which is William I think, with Kate.
Well, greywarbler, if you truly believed that Elizabeth Windsor was best qualified to be New Zealand's head of state, then you would be happy to have her seek public election alongside all the other possible contenders who are supposedly "a thousand times" less preferable.
Like any true colonialist, a sychophant of the British aristocracy, and arrogantly condescending towards your own people.
Geoff Fischer I think in realities not twisted theories like you. Human nature is a devious thing and swaying people's allegiances can be under attack all the time, and those who are elected can be affected by competition for the role. The favoured NZ media person Paul Holmes had the effrontery of taking a cheap shot at the UN Secretary General at the time Mr Kofi Annan, calling him 'a cheeky darkie' an example of disrespect to a worthy personage, who was also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. This reflects a downside of human nature of people everywhere, not just in New Zealand.
That is a fact; I am not being arrogant or condescending to any people. I suggest that your ideas are so skewed, that your opinion about British leadership, or who would be suitable for leadership or anything of importance in New Zealand is of little value. The Queen has performed admirably in her role, and has been able to maintain her standards with some influence but not involvement in the grind of politics and personal ambition of contenders from the rest of the people. I'm not prejudiced for or against her because she is from the Brit aristocracy. I think that we have enough trouble finding good politicians here without being distracted from our task by a dogfight to be NZ's supreme person.
Holmes apologises for race jibe on radio show - NZ Herald
https://www.nzherald.co.nz › nz › holmes-apologises-for-...
24/09/2003 — Broadcaster Paul Holmes' job is not in danger for yesterday describing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan a "cheeky darkie" on his radio show, ...
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