(the title is a bad remix of dean parker’s “the heroes who did not fight”)
it’s ANZAC day and the TV is full of heroes. i woke up *bloody early to catch a programme about conscientious objectors, only to (finally) be told by dee that i had the AM and PM mixed up. which circumstance, of course led me to google it.
the image of “pacifists” as cowards of some sort takes quite a beating when you look at history. according to an article by dean parker, there were 4 kinds of objectors: “Christians who took the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” at its word; socialists prepared to fight in a war against capitalism but not one between imperialists; Irish who, understandably, would fight for anyone provided it was against England; Waikato Maori, who found it ironic to be asked to fight for King and country as they had once fought for their own King and lost their country.” the punishment for objection was harsh- “As a consequence of their actions, 2600 conscientious objectors lost their civil rights, including being denied voting rights for 10 years and being barred from working for government or local bodies.” the trailers for the programme suggest some even died of the torture they were put through.
india has never forced people to join the military-there are enough people willing to sign up, often because there are few alternatives. if it ever does come to that, i pray i have the courage and strength to resist, whatever the personal cost may be.