Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ever Ready For War

My father's wing
 I carry this wing with me wherever I go; whether it's to defend myself in court, or to put forward motions in council chambers, or to protest in marches against coal and coal seam gas, or to marvel at the beauty of mountains and deserts or to weep whilst gazing upon Rayner Hoff's 'Sacrifice' in the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.

I carry it everywhere.

It was my father's wing and he wore it on his uniform as a navigator in the Royal Air Force.

Today I remember him even though he wasn't an Anzac.

Actually I remember him every day.

Not a day has passed since he was killed after a birdstrike event in his RAF Jaguar (he ejected but got caught up in an incorrectly packed parachute and so drowned in the Atlantic Ocean), not a day has passed that I have not thought of him ... not a day.
Flt Lt Sean Sparks (my father) Limassol, Cyprus
Most of this post I wrote last year in the midst of my sorrow for the woodchipped trees and animals on Anzac Parade and Alison Road.

Mike Baird was a NSW premier then waiting in the wings for a Big Corpa gig which he got so now we've got Gladys as political head-puppet ... but nothing has changed, only the suit.

We're still getting dodgy light rail, dodgy WestCONnex and dodgy metro trains ... trees and animals continue to be woodchipped, and now we are even having to take to the streets in defence of science.

The world is mad, and no doubt it'll only be a matter of hours before I get the usual hate-mail from US marines ... c'est la blooming vie I suppose ... sigh

People who read my blogs will know that I am no fan of either Anzac Day or Remembrance Day. I hate the jingoism, the constant call to arms, the constant grooming of our young. 

As a child of military generations, I am not held hostage to the 'glory-of-war' mantra, too often trotted out for a political purpose.

Looking at the direct female line in my family I cannot help but note that I am the first woman in four generations whose children reached their 20s with their father in their lives. My great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother were not so lucky - the military and politicians saw to that. I grew up amongst fatherless grandmothers, fatherless mothers, fatherless aunties and uncles, fatherless cousins, fatherless siblings. 

I grew up in a family on the other side of the world, and in my home and in all my relations' homes there were pictures of dead uniformed loved ones always in pride of place. And when I arrived in Australia back in the 80s as a brand new bride married to a civilian (a fact which caused the widows in my family much relief) the family I married into contained the same revered photo of a lost uniformed loved one, similarly in pride of place. His death broke his mother's heart; I know this because the women in this new family of mine told me then, and have continued to do so over the past 30 years. 

This young man, the son of my husband's grandmother, was 21 years old and he died in France on the 9th November 1918 from bronchitis and pneumonia. In his soft gentle picture I see my husband and my children and I weep for him and his heartbroken mother. 

And I know that this story plays out in millions of Australian households, all equally touched and scarred by the emotional war-wounds of losing loved ones, emotional war-wounds that fester over generations. Contrary to the 'freedom-and-this-way-of-life' spin, it turns out they all died for #BigCorpa, lobby groups and politicians. 

Shame on all politicians who glorify war and bow down to the commercial whims of market players who ruthlessly make a buck or a billion out of the misery of others ... shame on them all.

And back to the subject of Anzac Parade, our once beautiful living memorial to those Anzacs who marched down Randwick Road, before it was renamed in their honour after Gallipoli, those Anzacs who marched from Victoria Barracks to Circular Quay, those Anzacs we shipped off to death and destruction, those very same Anzacs whom we purport to commemorate today, how could our politicians have so wilfully desecrated such an important site of mourning and remembrance, how could they have desecrated one of the world's most beautiful war memorials and then still turn up to Anzac Day commemorations? 

I will never forgive them.

'Lest We Forget' those past ... present ... and those to come ... 

... weep.

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