Lest we forget that wars and violence are still happening, that civilians are affected too, that the combatants who come home are often invisibly damaged, that our governments fail to ethically and successfully care for those who flee. Lest we forget those who drowned on the way to Gallipoli or seeking refuge from conflict, lest we forget the non-human victims of violence, lest we forget the genocidal wars of colonisation and the Indigenous people who died protecting country. Lest we forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine). Lest we forget that there are people who profit from war and that peace is a much harder struggle.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning I will remember _all of them_.
Over on Facebook I posted my thoughts on ANZAC Day. It’s amazing how I can imply stronger sentiments than Yassmin Abdel-Magied did last year but because I am white (and not a celebrity) I won’t be vilified or made so uncomfortable that I have to leave Australia as a result. That said, I might not be let back into Australia again. I obviously don’t love coal as much as a good Australian should, I have many opinions and oh yeah, I’m granddaughter of a refugee.
Here’s what, peace and non-violence is a struggle. In my own home disagreements sprout over who cleans the bathroom and what does clean actually mean and grow into anger whether my spouse and I are fairly dividing the emotional labour of household management and infertility. Only yesterday morning I kicked the wall out of frustration and hormones, but because peace is an on-going work in progress we hugged before I left for work and I was offered a foot massage in the evening. This is just the challenge of maintaining peace between two people who love each other most of the time. Keeping peace going between ethnicities, genders, religions and nations is a far sight harder but it doesn’t mean it stops being work worth doing.
Days of recognition and rememberance like ANZAC Day are important but we need to do the work of keeping the peace that lives were sacrificed for. On ANZAC Day I think about my 21 year old paternal great-uncle whose plane was shot down in Belgium days short of the end of World War One. He didn’t die so that more wars could be fought, he died while working so that other people could live in peace, so that countryside could be productive and beautiful rather than a battlefield. I recognise that some motivations for acts of war are ironically about achieving peace, but there are so many other ways of getting to, keeping and maintaing peace.