Veterans and victims of war.

IMG_0162 silvercrested cockatoo.JPG

Silver crested white peace-cockatoo.


There is a bit of a fight going on. First the news that $500.000.000 was going to be spent on extending/renovating the Canberra War Museum. Some thought it was a lot of money. I think so too. The next item set in the same league, was to give veterans a bit of leg-up when boarding aeroplanes.  A boarding priority and recognition on all flights would be given to all veterans booked on Virgin airways. Qantas is refusing to follow. All our passengers are ‘special’ Qantas announced. A chorus of protests regarding this latest news in Australia is raising its head. “Public acknowledgement of veterans during in-flight announcements is described as “embarrassing”, “tokenistic”, and “faux American”. . Many  veterans are saying they would not dream of boarding an aeroplane before anyone else.

Helvi and I visited the Canberra War museum soon after our first arrival back in 1965. While impressed, we have never felt like re-visiting. The horrors of war that were personally experienced as a child does that. Queueing up at food kitchens for potato peeling soup. Living without electricity, water or warmth for five years. The Hunger Winter of 1944/45. The sound of bombs, the shattering of windows. The bodies lying about. They are memories that still haunts today.

After WW2 the Americans did give financial help to re-build Europe. It was called the Marshall plan. If half a billion is to be spent as a consequence of wars, past and present, why not consider giving it to help re-build countries ravaged by recent wars. Countries like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan. I sometimes wonder what we are doing there. Those millions of refugees?

Someone mentioned that a war museum reflects the soul of a nation. What about a peace museum?


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25 Responses to “Veterans and victims of war.”

  1. berlioz1935 Says:

    Berlin has not a Peace Museum, but an Ant-War Museum. Will that do?

    The cokatoo looks like a White Peace Dove.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. auntyuta Says:

    I was ten years old when World War two ended in Germany. Ever since I had a strong feeling that we should do whatever possible to prevent wars and work for peace. Yes, why not promote peace museums and honour veterans in such a museum? After all I assume the veterans have been fighting for peace in their home land, and I am sure they all would like countries all over the world to become peaceful countries and ‘enemies’ become friends like for instance the Japanese became friends with the Australians.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Peace above all should be the norm. We have had two world wars. But it seems that that wasn’t enough. The Korean, Vietnam, Iraqi, Syrian,Afghanistan wars were deliberate attempts to keep wars going. Especially the Iraq war was an invention of the west. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

      Countries such as the US and Australia who never were occupied seem still to be most enthusiastic in fighting strange wars in far away countries that do not threaten us at all. Are those wars being fought just for the heck of it?

      Despite our drum banging about democracy we now have one of world’s most dangerous situation, having sprouted a maniacal US president who is as unhinged as they come.

      We need peace like never before, Uta.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    There is a peace museum in the UK too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. auntyuta Says:

    Maybe this might work?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. auntyuta Says:

    Sorry, this is in English:

    Liked by 1 person

    • auntyuta Says:

      Sorry, I went to the above link and found an interesting article relating to the programme of the Anti-War Museum. I hope this is not too long:

      “The museum addresses Berliners as well as tourists from Germany and abroad. Youth groups and school classes are particularly welcome and will be guided also in the morning hours. Guidance is available in German and English language. To make an appointment call 0049 / (0)30 / 402 86 91

      Films, discussions, lectures as well as changing exhibitions at the museum and at the Peace Gallery turn every visit into an interesting experience.

      We offer a variety of brochures and leaflets to look at and to take home. And there are also many books waiting for interested readers.

      The museum publishes and distributes the brochure »A Museum for Peace« informing about today’s Anti-War Museum, Ernst Friedrich’s book »War Against War«, documenting World War I with photographs, as well as a biography of the pacifist Ernst Friedrich.

      Special exhibitions

      »From Laotse to Willy Brandt. History of the Peace Movement«

      War, it seems, always existed. The history of Europe in particular consists of uncounted military conflicts between cultures, religions and nations. Europe was the starting point of colonial suppression and two world wars. For centuries war and violence have been glorified by politicians and historians.

      But the culture of peace also has a long tradition in Europe. Be it in the sense of the Latin notion of pax that points to the juridical and political regulation of social life. Be it in the sense of the German word Frieden that – going back to the medieval fridu – has got the same roots as friendship and freedom. At all times there have been voices who didn’t accept war as an inescapable fate, people who fought for peace, freedom and justice in the name of Christianity, Humanism and Enlightenment, – often risking privation and personal harm, most of the time laughed at and mocked, and today unjustly forgotten.

      The exhibition highlights the history of the peace movement in Europe. In the centre of interest it puts the portraits of men and women who – in different times and in various ways – engaged for peace like Erasmus of Rotterdam and Albert Einstein, Bertha von Suttner and Käthe Kollwitz.

      In addition it presents institutions and organisations that were founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and partly still exist today like the International War Tribunal and the “War Resisters International”.

      The exhibition doesn’t claim to fully cover its subject and – little by little – is going to be supplemented towards a world history of the peace movement. It wants to show visitors, that it is not a mere utopia to hope for a peaceful world and that it is worth while to follow in the footsteps of those who devoted their life to peace.

      Taking into account all the given possibilities we should find new ways to prevent conflicts that often result from an unjust distribution of the natural resources on earth.

      We should learn to be tolerant of other cultures and religions in order to approve of the diversity of people and to regard everybody as equal.

      Now at the Anti-War Museum:
      Nothing New at the Western Front? Stereophotography from World War I

      The Anti-War museum now presents stereophotographies from World War I. Two special apparatuses make the historical pictures look three-dimensional. They offer insight into theaters of war at the Western front that – like Verdun – became symbols for the destructive powers of modern warfare. Taken from the French perspective the pictures show deserted landscapes, cities in ruins, destroyed houses, churches, corpses and graves, but also soldiers, reading, playing cards or proudly presenting their trophies be it rats or the weapons of the enemy. Thus the three-dimensional photographies testify a war as senseless as Remarque already described it in his novel “Nothing New at the Western Front”. And at the same time these pictures are able to irritate our present-day’s ways of looking and thinking.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Very impressive, Uta.
        Let’s hope peace will prevail. The extreme right in Germany is gaining strength but so are the greens. The influx of so many refugees in Germany in such a short time extracted a price. Even so, now that a kind of stability has arrived and some Syrians returning it might yet all come good. This is why those countries that were bombed by us should now be assisted in re-building.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    I’m sorry, but I see this as a massive vote grab attempt. I just cannot imagine that any digger went to war to protect our country because they expected to be celebrated by gigantic spend of money that could be spent on health, education, Aged Care, dealing with climate change – support for NDIS ….. and on and on

    Liked by 2 people

  7. shoreacres Says:

    Is that your garden in the photo at the top? I don’t remember seeing a ‘long’ view like that. It’s larger than I imagined, and a beautiful spot: lush, without seeming overly done up. Peaceful, I might add.

    There’s not a thing wrong with allowing disabled veterans an early boading — just as we do for anyone with disabilities. To call early boarding for all veterans or public acknowledgement of veterans “faux American” is wrong, because that isn’t a practice here. Occasionally, a veteran with a high public profile is recognized, and then acknowledged, but that’s a different thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Linda. That is part of our garden which is actually very long but narrow. Along the back fence is a row of very tall bay trees which gives us a nice enclosed feeling. Helvi is trying to make it all as natural as possible. As if it came about just all by itself. I think she has managed very well. We always feel good looking at and living in it.

      I felt a bit uneasy using the term “faux American”, but that’s how the media is describing this latest furore. The looking back on past wars and incessant blowing of the bugle is being promoted by those that have an interest in keeping the industry going that relies a lot on gambling.

      The returned soldiers clubs would die overnight if the poker machines were removed. Lately some dodgy news has turned up whereby some presidents of those clubs have been found lifting the cash registers.

      I play my bowls at the same clubs so am somewhat duplicitous in now being critical, but seeing those poor sods sitting behind those machines feeding them cash does not sit easy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Big M Says:

      I agree with your comment re: ‘faux American’. However, I have heard of flights where a fallen soldier has been transported home and the passengers have been asked to wait to disembark until the coffin has been removed and the accompanying military personnel has overseen the transfer of the deceased. This doesn’t appear to be uncommon.

      Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Respect for the fallen soldier is unquestionably of the first order, Big M.

        Virgin airways was felt to be overdoing this respect for one specific group only. People are pointing out many others save lives, such as ambulance personal, bush-fire volunteers, the police, life savers on the beach and so.

        Look how many grandparents are now called up in the service of looking after grandchildren. I saw a sweaty dishevelled looking grandmother pushing a pram with two other little ones crossing the street.

        Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres Says:

        I’ve never experienced that, and I’m not sure how common it is, but I can’t imagine any (ok — most) people minding a small wait in those circumstances. It’s akin to the still-common practice of motorists pulling to the side of the road when a funeral procession is passing by: a simple gesture of respect.


  8. stuartbramhall Says:

    I agree totally about emphasizing peace rather than war. People need to start questioning the destructive views and beliefs the capitalist elites try to force on us.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Your garden is so beautiful, Gerard! And that white cockatoo has a dove-like look and reminds us all of the need for peace.

    I think most countries do NOT know how to properly care for victims and veterans…especially related to health care and mental health care. It’s very sad.

    I am all for peace museums or using money to promote peace in other ways, too.

    Important post and thoughts, Gerard.
    (((HUGS))) to you and Helvi!
    PATS to Milo!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. gerard oosterman Says:

    The garden gets better and better. A paradise, Carolyn.
    Yes, money would be better spent on health issues, especially on the veterans who are suffering from the effects of fighting and trying to regain a normal life. Is Afghanistan threatening Australia?
    Hugs to you too,

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Big M Says:

    I agree, Gerard, many veterans would be embarrassed to be singled out for special treatment, unless injured or infirm. As for remembering our fallen, I think it may be more useful to teach or young people the history and reasoning behind each conflict, that they may avoid the same mistakes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Spot on Big M.
      I would like to know a good reason why Australia seems to feel it should always follow the US into fighting complete strangers in foreign dusty countries that have caused us no harm. Are we joined at the hips?


  12. gerard oosterman Says:

    Lets all hope the election tonight will bring about a change in US government. A lot depends on future peace. 80% of women don’t like Trump but will they all vote?
    We will know tomorrow.


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