Thanks but no thanks!
Following on from Sunday’s discussion, we had a couple of demonstrations at the War Celebrations around Wellington yesterday.
Hannah from ElevenHoursAhead wrote an excellent story with lots of great photos from the morning’s action, where we laid a wreath in a solemn and peaceful commemoration of those ignored by the official ceremonies: the civilians killed and maimed, the conscientious objectors, the people left behind, and the veterans that the officials prefer to ignore (e.g. more US servicemen have died of suicide this year than were killed in action).
Activities at the evening ceremony were considerably more boisterous, prompted by the absurd pomp and bombast of the US Marines, NZ Army, and NZ Navy bands marching back and forth while slippery officials exchanged flags and vainglory. The Concerned Citizens group stuck to their message of ‘Thanks but no thanks’ to closer NZ-US military ties, while some other members of the public where a little more frank with their disdain, suggesting that the massed regiments were “Fucking clowns” and should “Get a real job”.
Peace activist Adi Leason summed the day up very simply: “What they’re celebrating is really horrible.”
13/06/12 NZ to US military: “Thanks, but no thanks.”
The Wellington-based artists’ “Concerned Citizens Collective” will be protesting at two US Marines events in Wellington tomorrow. The group objects to the visit, saying it is more about a push for closer modern-day ties between the New Zealand and US Militaries than commemorating the servicemen of the past.
The group is presenting a wreath at the National War Memorial at 11.00am in honour of the civilians killed in the last ten years of US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by a quiet vigil at Parliament at 5.30pm when the Marines are welcomed by PM John Key.
“When the New Zealand government welcomes the US Marines to Parliament, we will be there to tell them, ‘Thanks but no thanks’. Our presence is to remind them that while we love our grandfathers and respect their contribution to WWII, we oppose much of what the US military has done since. We will not have our grandfather’s sacrifices used to justify more recent wars or to bolster future invasions”, said Murdoch Stephens of Concerned Citizens.
“It’s fair to say your average New Zealander does not support the actions of the US military, particularly when you look at what they’ve been up to over the past ten years,” says fellow Concerned Citizen Richard Bartlett. “It is very worrying to see our government so eager to further strengthen ties with an aggressive and unaccountable world power, without apparent consideration for the wishes of the people of New Zealand.”