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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

ANZAC Thoughts

ANZAC DAY (25th APRIL) 2013

To risk or ultimately lay down one’s life is the ultimate act of courage. Yet sometimes, long before that, there is the courage to speak. We are challenged by it perhaps from the very moment we leave home for our first day at school. When this child is lonely or being picked or otherwise wronged, it takes courage to speak out for them or even to them. The peace for which our forebears fought is not only an over there, back then kind of thing, but can begin in our very own lives.

“True peace”, said Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., “is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.” For many years, if not for ever, we forgot that. When our forebears risked and sometimes sacrificed their lives for peace, coming home maimed, traumatised or not at all, Martin Luther King’s struggle for justice was still many years in the future. His words, though, are timeless.

It is worth us remembering that some of our forebears who fought and died for peace in Europe in World War One, and in other centres of war since, were not even considered eligible to vote in Australia until after 1968, half a century after the events of Gallipoli. It is worth remembering that the descendants of some of those who fought and died at Gallipoli, while now entitled to vote, still have a far lower life expectancy, far lower earning capacity, far greater expectation that their children will die prematurely than most Australians. It is worth us speaking out when we see wrong in our nation and our communities. It takes courage to speak out for justice.

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.” “True peace is not merely the absence of war”, we might say, “it is the presence of justice.” If we are truly to honour the sacrifice made by those brave Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli, if we really care, then you and I must do everything in our power to make our country not just a lucky country but a fair country, a just country. That begins by not just loving and caring and fighting for those we like and those we look like, but for justice for those don’t have much, for those who come on leaky boats, for those who, statistics say, may not live long and prosperous lives, wherever and whoever they are.

Lest we forget.

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