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'Acting for change’

19 July 2022

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The pride of the ANZAC alliance

Tuesday 26 April 2022 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion

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The pride of the ANZAC alliance
Ruta Tangiiau Mave. Photo: CI NEWS

ANZAC represents Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula on April 25, 1915.

The pride of the alliance remains to this day, and every year in the early hours of dawn people gather around monuments and cenotaphs in hushed silence to hear the bugle call, the names of those who perished, and to lay wreaths of flowers.

Then with medals of loved ones past pinned to their chest next to a red poppy, the enduring ANZAC symbol, they march solemnly together to the nearest Returned Service Association to ‘celebrate’ the day with food and liquid refreshments.

The popularity of the day has had a resurgence in recent years.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has restricted the gatherings to standing out on one’s front drive listening to radio broadcasts.

Hopefully this won’t stop the continuation of acknowledgment because now more than ever, we need to be reminded and to keep in the minds of our children, lest they forget that war is violence and violence has never been the answer.

History repeats, we never seem to learn and right now war once again rages.

The ANZAC poppy is a story in itself, the red represents the blood of all those who gave their lives, the black represents the mourning of those who didn’t have their loved ones return home, and the green leaf represents the grass and growing future prosperity after the war destroyed so much.

The poppy should be positioned at 11 o’clock to represent the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time that WW1 formally ended. The day is a commemoration so that younger generations would come to learn from the hardships their ancestors endured for their present peace and safety.

It’s a day to be thankful, but also to be mindful of the world at large because what seems to be too far away for us to be involved or affected is closer and more impactful than we can imagine with the invasion of the Russian army into the country of Ukraine.

ANZAC was formed post WW1, the UN and NATO were formed post WW2.

 The UN - United Nations founded October 24 in 1945 is an intergovernmental organisation whose purpose is to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation and be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations.

It has 193 members among the 197 states it recognises.

The Vatican and Palestinian State are observers the Cook Islands and Niue are non-member states since they are in free association with New Zealand. Simply it is the world’s largest diplomatic organisation founded in the aftermath of WW2 comprising an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations.

NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation founded April 4 1949 is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 member states of which 28 are in Europe and 2 in North America. Its goal is to safeguard the Allies freedom and security by political and military means. Essentially, they agree to come to one another’s aid in the event of an armed attack against any individual member state. NATO’s aim was originally to counter the threat of post-war Russian expansion in Europe.

These two entities have the same goal of peace for their nations, although they have different ways of achieving it. UN develops cooperation among members to maintain peace, NATO is a military alliance committed to defend the members state of peace from an outside threat.

Both have failed to stop this war. The UN been unable to intervene and influence its two members to remain peaceful and NATO has not sent troops to the Ukraine because they are not a member although several NATO member countries have supplied defence ammunitions and weapons to aid Ukraine.

For NATO to step in could be seen as a direct threat from the west and as much as they want to help, they have to ensure the war doesn’t escalate beyond the Ukraine borders into Europe.

UN and NATO were formed from understanding and experience that war is futile yet they are unable to prevent this. Now nuclear war is possible because no laws exist to totally ban their existence. As Putin said “what’s the point of having them if you are not going to use them?”

ANZAC day is a public holiday to remind us war does not solve territorial issues, rather it creates more derision and dissension. We may be blind to most of the global wars but we can take action towards world peace by starting with our own attitudes and tempers around land disputes not between different countries but amongst our personal family members.

Buy a poppy each year, and remember what the world has forgotten again.