Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I gave up and climbed out of bed at 2.35a.m., curled up on the couch in the lounge and read the last pages of'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'. I enjoyed it, as did Joseph Heller who wrote, 'A wonderful, hypnotic novel of fabulous scope and tremendous iridescent charm'. Louis de Bernieres not only wove a story about the inhabitants of the small Greek Island of Cephallonia during world war 2, he also created one of the most powerful images of starving, stinking, rotting, freezing, terrified, shell-shocked soldiers I've ever read.

Robert Fisk wrote of the sanitised edited images we see. 'American television, meanwhile, continues to present war as a bloodless sandpit in which the horrors of conflict — the mutilated bodies of the victims of aerial bombing, torn apart in the desert by wild dogs — are kept off the screen. Editors in New York and London make sure that viewers' "sensitivities" don't suffer, that we don't indulge in the "pornography" of death (which is exactly what war is) or "dishonor" the dead whom we have just killed.
Our prudish video coverage makes war easier to support, and journalists long ago became complicit with governments in making conflict and death more acceptable to viewers. Television journalism has thus become a lethal adjunct to war

Writing this made me go searching for the words I grew up with back home in New Zealand ... 'Lest We Forget' and every Anzac Day we'd remember.

Lest we forget ...
I had always thought it was about not forgetting the soldiers who died but perhaps these are what we should never forget.


Alison said...

'Lest we forget' never took on as much meaning for me as when I was standing at the base of the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge looking at the litteral wall of names of the fallen Canadian soldiers carved into the stone.

woman wandering said...

I never meant to but I ended up visiting Gallipoli, Turkey and Flanders, Belgium ... Grandad had fought in both places ... hearing the stories of the battles fought there, seeing the place, knowing something of the winter climates ... it became real, and seemed so incredibly insane that a boy from New Zealand almost died there with so many others.