The Greatest Dishonour

 25/04/2019

Today is ANZAC Day, a day spent remembering and commemorating those lost as a result of war. Ideally, one would prefer that war did not exist, and that those who are killed never had to make that sacrifice. But there is an industry that profits from this senseless violence – the weapons manufacturers.

When speaking of his own family’s ANZAC history, Greens Senator Jordan Steele-John says: “I can think of no greater dishonour, to [the] living or the dead, than the glorification of war.” I disagree – that is the second greatest dishonour. The top spot goes to military industrial complex – those companies and people in power who thrive off of the chaos of endless war. Those who earn millions as their weapons slaughter countless people across the globe.

The reason I bring this up is because of an article I read in the Guardian from yesterday about the head of the Australian War Memorial, Brenden Nelson. Nelson is on the board of an arms firm called Thales, and as a result receives a fee for his work. Nelson claims he does not keep that money, but instead donates it to the AWM – which is also sponsored by Thales separately.

The article cites criticism of a “conflict of interest” – a conflict so damning it is alarming. What are your thoughts on an arms manufacturer – a company that profits off of war – donating to a war memorial? I think that is disgraceful.

“Nelson has been a staunch defender of the sponsorship arrangements, saying arms companies had a corporate responsibility to help explain “what is being done in the name of our country”.”

 

Their corporate responsibility doesn’t mean shit – if they had a shred of moral and ethical responsibility, they would not be selling products that contribute more names to the list of the dead. How dare a company that benefits from the horrors of war pretend to have some obligation or care for those who actually suffer from it. How dare they associate themselves with the AWM, an institution whose purpose is to educate and commemorate the losses and truth about war.

Admittedly I don’t pay all that much attention to ANZAC Day – during my stint in the Boy’s Brigade when I was younger, I took part in the local march a few times, but that was it. I will, however, call out hypocrisy when I see it – and this one costs lives.

 

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