As I was walking to the inner city write-in in Newtown tonight I walked past a wreath laid at the foot of a war statue with the words ‘Lest we forget’ written across it. The previous day I had noted it was Remembrance Day but 11:00am totally passed me by.
So rather than passing it by again, I stopped before the statue and decided that I would follow the spirit of the tradition if not the time itself(I actually think the Melbourne Cup stops the nation more effectively than Remembrance Day, oh well).
Looking down at the wreath I thought of the Aussies who had sacrificed their lives in war. I thought why do we have war? It’s usually because people wanted land or some resource that another people owned or were sitting on. It’s over some point over which neither side will budge. And so we threaten each other and fight to take what we desire.
How can we avoid war? How do we avoid fights? Talking, right? Communication is the key, right? But in war the sides have stopped talking. They can’t agree. They won’t budge!
Even if you try to think about the other side’s position, understand why they want to keep what you desire, somehow you can’t stop desiring it. You must have it.
But what if your approach was to imagine what your war will do to their people? Who will you kill? Whose body will you maim but leave to live? Whose families will you do that do instead?
And what if it was you in their place?
This is what I thought in my minute of silence (though I didn’t time it as I thought that was going against the spirit of it all).
Ahhh but the governmental/military types would call me naïve.