29.3.03

I have been watching the news only occasionally lately, as I have had other things to do. I was absolutely appalled at the scenes of the distribution of food aid, where soldiers were unable to control those wanting aid. I sat there, having just had a substantial meal, with my bottle of clean water in front of me and felt sickened that people were reduced to this. I was similarly appalled by the phot in the paper of a dead Iraqi soldier. It showed just his boots and lower legs. Army boots? No. A much battered pair of shabby shoes with thin soles, encrusted with desert stones.. I wept when I saw this. Someone's husband? father? I am in no agreement with Saddam's policy or his treatment of his people, although I disagree with this war. Reports tell of many soldiers being pressured to fight for Saddam. Certainly this soldier appeared ill equipped for desert fighting.

I pray for all concerned and for a speedy end.

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As someone who did a monthly grocery shop for seven adults without a list in sight, I find my husband's preoccupation with lists puzzling. He has lists for everything, written on the back of used envelopes, little scraps of paper, in his Psion handheld, whatever. I think that part of his obsession with lists is that it releases him. If something is on a list, then it is 80% done. At least that is how it appears to him. Many things never get further than being on a list.

Somewhat different is this collection of lists. Keaggy has collected 200 lsts for groceries which he has scanned so we can see the original. An unveiling of poor spelling and handwriting can be found at The Grocery List Collection/

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28.3.03

A plea from Martin Roth not to forget the Assyrians at this time. And have a look at Isaiah 19:24,25

On that day, Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage."

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27.3.03

Out of the mouths of babes...I was minding Miss Two, my grandaughter today. I told her that my mother and sister were having a holiday at the beach. She asked if Moo, as my mother in known in the family, was making sandcastles with a bucket and spade. Mum turns 83 in a couple of weeks!

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26.3.03

Sort of a day off today. I haven't been much at the computer. I took advantage of the gorgeous autumn weather which some of you would probably call high summer. I spent the day outside in the sunshine doing some fairly heavy digging. We have put in two quite small ponds, one a rubbery material, the other pebblecoated fibreglass. I had to dig the holes for them and settle them in, then hook up pumps etc. and get the system to work.

I'd forgotten how good it is to do some manual labour at times. I usually can't do do much because the arthritis kicks in quickly, but today seemed fine. I was out in the sun, listening to the birds and getting quite dirty. I'm sure I'll find tomorrow that I did too much today. However, it has been almost meditative to be doing this.

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25.3.03

I turned the news on this evening to hear the reporter talk about the latest "bodycount." Bodycount? Then I remembered the bodycount icon at Darren's blog, the Living-room. There has obviously been a lot of work gone into the language associated with this war. "Shock and awe," "embedded journalists," "body count." Press releases designed to take attention away from the bloody reality of war. I read somewhere today that war is essentially two people hitting each other over the head with a club till one is killed. (Can't remember where. If you know, please let me know, so I can credit.) No amount of clean, impersonal language can get around this fact.

These are people. People with families, hopes, aspirations and desires. Some of them unfortunately will be civilians, even children. These of course are "collateral damage." They are not just bodies.

I am sure that Darren has placed this counter on his blog becuase he feels much the same as I do about these people who have been killed and about this whole business.

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So you are tolerant? You might find some surprising results here at Tolerance.org: Dig Deeper. Tests of tolerance, a look at language and hidden history and bias, plus more.

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More on Palestine, from a former Palestinian negotiator, now a senior associate at St Anthony's College, Oxford. Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | This is a road map to nowhere

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24.3.03

Here's a reference to another song which has been mentioned lately again. I was only 19, by Redgum. It comes from the time of the Vietnam War, another war Australia should not have been involved in, another war where we went "all the way with LBJ."

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All morning I have had the words of the song and the band played Waltzing Mathilda, as the ship sailed away from the shore, going through my head. Written by Eric Bogle in 1977, it uses references to World War I and the Australian campaign at Gallipoli in Turkey to make an anti-war protest. It sets Australia's best known song, ofen used almost as an anthem, against the troops sailing to what was a massive defeat. You can read more about the song here, and have some of the terms explained. It has a simple haunting melody.

Now when I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover.
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback,
Well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said, "Son,
It's time you stop ramblin', there's work to be done."
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun,
And they marched me away to the war.
And the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
As the ship pulled away from the quay,
And amidst all the cheers, the flag waving, and tears,
We sailed off for Gallipoli.



more...

And so now every April, I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,
Reviving old dreams of past glory,
And the old men march slowly, all bones stiff and sore,
They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask meself the same question.
But the band plays "Waltzing Matilda,"
And the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday, no one will march there at all.
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong,
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?



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23.3.03

Rachel, in her entry, Waiting for 1pm NZT, speaks of some of the emotions she was experiencing. I too felt many of those. I still feel incredibly sad that this war has actually started. I have not wanted to blog about it much over the past few days. This was not a case of ignoring it and hoping it would go away. I was sad for many things, and particularly because Australia has been committed to the war with very little opportunity for public opinion to be heard, let alone noted. Polls say that since the war has started, opinion in favour has increased. Details are beginning to emerge in our papers that this was something which was planned as long ago as twelve months, as an inevitable event. I do not know how much credence can be given these. Should these revelations be true, I do not like the picture they paint of our involvement. Was this something planned and withheld from the Australian public? Has our Prime Minister been duped as well as us? Distressing questions.

Martin Roth queries why there has been so much opposition to this war and yet not as much given to events in Africa. I think this is a fair comment. I think the answer lies in somethng I was thinking about in all the publicity given to the shuttle disaster. Publicity and propaganda in an affluent country aids press coverage and therefore public reation to tragedy. I grieve for the events he mentions and pray for those involved. It does not lessen my opposition to the way this war was engineered. It does not make me any less opposed to the fact that this is done without UN sanctions. This fact makes me uneasy. Who will be the next to follow this precedent?

It is mentioned that Saddam is a murderer and torturer? I can remember from childhood a saying, "Two wrongs don't make a right." I don't believe the end justifies the means in big things as well as small.

Having again made my stand clear, I hasten to add that I am not anti-America. I am against the way this thing has been handled and see that there seems to have been some underhandedness, to say the least.

In Sydney, there seems to be some acceptance of the war now. Not an openhearted acceptance, but rather it is an acceptance that we now have to make the best of things, since Australia is involved in the fighting. I believe that there is support for the Australians there, even if there is no support for why they are there. There does not seem to be jubilation at early victories and advances, just a wish that this would soon be over and our troops brought quickly home. I have been praying for all concerned, both coalition and Iraqis.

the feelings here have been compounded by the State election yesterday, Saturday. The Greens whch had as part of their policy, NO WAR, have doubled their vote. This is despite the fact that defence is a federal, not state issue. The vote for the Liberals, the ruling federal party, was down a bit. Labor was returned for a third four year term. Both Liberal and Labor leaders mentioned the troops abroad in their post election speeches.

Again, I pray that there will be a quick end to this. I pray that it will really achieve its supposed aims. I am finding it hard not to be sombre and not to be suspicious of the final results.

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