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Friday, April 27, 2007

The Alternative Anzac Commemoration

I am indebted to Dale Hess (once again) for forwarding the following material from New Zealand. If you wish to receive a pdf booklet of the commemoration, please email Miss Eagle off the sidebar.

Away from all the official ceremonies, fly-bys and flag raising, five families commemorated ANZAC Day in their own way today.

The friends and neighbours gathered to remember New Zealanders and others who sacrificed their lives for the sake of peace and freedom.

Some of the people remembered include:
Te Whiti o Rongomai

the prophet of Parihaka who refused, along with his followers, to retaliate against the violence of the colonial government bent on annexing Taranaki land for settlers.
Archibald Baxter

one of 14 pacifists in World War I who was shipped to France, sent to the frontline, tied to a pole in front of the enemy, starved, beaten and left for dead for refusing to bear arms in support of the British Empire.
Ormond Burton

a decorated World War I veteran who publicly denounced New Zealand involvement in World War II, was imprisoned with hard labour and thrown out of the Methodist Church for refusing to preach against conscription.
Archibald Barrington

the founder of the Riverside community near Motueka who toured the country opposing New Zealand participation in World War II and was arrested in Gisborne for speaking out against the war.
representative of New Zealand and a key figure in the drafting and passage of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
environmentalist and Member of Parliament.
Moana Cole

Catholic Worker peace activist who broke into a US Air Force base in 1991, sabotaged a B-52 bomber en route to indiscriminately bomb civilians in Iraq and was jailed for a year.
Pauline Tangiora

the kuia from Mahia who went as a human shield Iraq and has campaigned tirelessly for peace in the Pacific and Aotearoa.
Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith
the New Zealand born doctor who refused to undertake a second tour of duty in Iraq with the British RAF as he considered the occupation is illegal and was found guilty last year on five counts of disobeying orders.
After reading James K. Baxter’s poem ‘To My Father’, the families wrote their own peace poems and drew pictures.

Nine year old Hugo Robinson wrote this poem:

Peace and love
are like a flying dove;
No time for war
you just have to soar;
A tui flies
through the skies;
Open free
unlike you and me;
War, revolution
is not the solution.

Others created t-shirt slogans, pictures and designs such as:
‘Drop aid, not bombs’
‘We shall remember, we shall not cease’
‘War does not breed peace, guns do not breed security’

And another poem:

My name is peace
My name is life
My name is choice
My name is mine
My time was then
My time is now
My child, my love, my future
My name is peace.

The commemoration concluded with a rendition of ‘Maori Battalion Marches Off to War’ interspersed with ‘Gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside…’

Organisers of the commemoration are expecting even larger crowds next year and are also hoping to produce a booklet of Alternative ANZACs for other groups to use.

For more information contact: Manu Caddie – ph 0274202957 /