I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him;
so that my hand shall ever abide with him,
my arm also shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him,
the wicked shall not humble him.
I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.
I will establish his line for ever
and his throne as the days of the heavens.
If his children forsake my law
and do not walk according to my ordinances,
if they violate my statutes
and do not keep my commandments,
then I will punish their transgression with the rod
and their iniquity with scourges
Ps 89: 20-23; 29-32
ANZAC Day 2012 and, as in every year, people everywhere are saying “Lest we forget”. Forget what? Oh yes, we remember the troops, “our boys” and increasingly “our girls”. But we don’t give a thought to our politicians. How often do they commit our troops in just cause? How often do they want to suck up to the US and be bathed in reflected glory as that country criss-crosses the earth to maintain power, secure resources (when they already use far more than their share), seek revenge? When we accept unquestioningly, we have forgotten. When we we too sing the manipulative mantra, we are complicit. Why are we not revolted when politicians use combat zones as photo ops? Why do we not count the dead and wounded of our “enemy”? When we dehumanise others we dehumanise ourselves. When we raise arms unjustly we violate God’s statutes. We will be punished. We sow the seeds of our own decay.
*Sing a song of Europe, highly civilized,
Four and twenty nations wholly hypnotised,
When the battle opens, the bullets start to sing –
Isn’t it a silly way to act for any King?
The Kings are in the background, issuing commands,
The Queens are in the parlours, per etiquette’s demand;
The bankers in the country house are busy multiplying
The common people at the front are doing all the dying.
What was good in 1939 was good before and has been since. If our politicians had to find and speak words of farewell to their own son or daughter, and in response were handed their child’s Will “for safekeeping” they might start to make decisions about war – and peace – based on justice rather than self interest and greed.
Oh God, on ANZAC Day, and every day, let us remember the right things.
* Anon, reportedly from The Junior Weekend Book, written and compiled by JR Evans, shortly before the outbreak of WWII.