Category Archives: World War One

The Modern Nation States’ Victims

Adam Henry Hughes, whose original title runs thus “Hiding the Body Bags: The Nation-State, Killing and Death”

During a lecture [in 2010], the famous news correspondent Robert Fisk told a story of the reaction of a Reuter’s news agency (London) to receiving graphic pictures of civilian death and destruction caused in Iraq by British forces. Reuter’s called the pictures “obscene” and therefore not fit to be shown back home.(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We learn about the abstract war, the war of nationalist or ideological sacrifice and endurance, the achievement of some military objective or another; the war that is remembered in one national cemetery or memorial museum. But we must not see the broken and mutilated bodies—the final state of the human being once steel, bomb, bullet or blade meets flesh.(2)

 

 

 

 

Many died in the Battle at LONE PINE

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, Australian culture, australian media, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, European history, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, law of armed conflict, life stories, military strategy, modernity & modernization, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, trauma, truth as casualty of war, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes, World War II, World War One

A Medical Duo’s Forensic Study of Death in War

R M Coupland 1  and D R Meddings:   “Mortality associated with use of weapons in armed conflicts, wartime atrocities, and civilian mass shootings: literature review,”

9 Aug 14;31999(7207):407-10. 
 doi: 10.1136/bmj.319.7207.407.

Free PMC article

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, historical interpretation, life stories, medical puzzles, meditations, military strategy, modernity & modernization, power politics, self-reflexivity, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes, World War II, World War One

Today’s Strongmen cast in the Shadow of Yesterday’s Fascists

Olivia B Waxman, in TIME, interviewing Ruth Ben-Giat …. https://time.com/5908244/strongman-fascism-history/

Critics of President Donald Trump have been calling him a fascist ever since he was running for President in 2016, and those characterizations continued in the aftermath of Election Day, as Trump repeated false claims of widespread voter fraud and baselessly accused President-elect Biden of trying to steal the election. “Donald Trump is a fascist,” Late Show host Stephen Colbert argued in an emotional monologue on Nov. 5.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, European history, governance, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes, World War One

The Horrors at Gallipoli: Killing One’s “Whaler”

The “Whaler” is the shorten-form Aussie term for a breed of horses in New South Wales that  served as the stead for the famed Lighthorsemen Brigades in Egypt, the Middle East and Gallipoli during World War One. I thank Brigadier Sri Mudannayake** for bringing this somebe dimension of the disastrous Gallipoli and other Middle Eastern campaign to our attention.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, Australian culture, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, the imaginary and the real, trauma, war reportage, world events & processes, World War One

Honouring ALL the Dead in War. Somasiri Devendra’s Ecumenical Epitaph

Somasiri Devendra 

It’s a hundred years since the World War One ended.

It was called “the war to end all wars”, a war “to preserve Democracy”. It was, in fact, fought for nothing more than the needs of a handful of European countries wanting yet bigger pieces of the global pie, fighting each other for it or to deny it to others.

a war cemetery in Europe

British Garrison Cemetery Kandy

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, charitable outreach, historical interpretation, insurrections, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, tolerance, trauma, unusual people, world events & processes, World War II, World War One

Holy War Unmasked

 Brian Victoria …… Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. John Donne

Introduction: Is religion a force for peace or war? Or to borrow a phrase from the title of Christopher Hitchen’s book, God Is Not Great, does religion really poison everything, including the possibility of living in a peaceful world?

The answer is much like posing the question of whether the glass is half full or half empty. That is to say, for every example cited to prove that religion has supported warfare and violence, other examples can be presented to show ways in which religion has contributed to peace and the avoidance of war, reconciliation between bitter enemies and the general betterment of humanity and the world. When the question is posed in this way, the debate is as endless as it is futile unless the “winner” is the side that amasses the greatest number of examples.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, meditations, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, self-reflexivity, suicide bombing, Taliban, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, war reportage, world events & processes, World War II, World War One, zealotry, Zen at war

War: Its Stark Truths

Richard Koenigsberg

Wars are fought–soldiers die–to testify to the truth of a society’s sacred ideal. If so many people die for an ideology—it must be real.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, Al Qaeda, american imperialism, fundamentalism, life stories, LTTE, mass conscription, meditations, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, power politics, prabhakaran, propaganda, psychological urges, security, self-reflexivity, suicide bombing, Tamil Tiger fighters, unusual people, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes, World War II, World War One, zealotry, Zen at war

Lessons from Napoleon’s Army for Today’s Military

Fred Reed, courtesy of the unZ Review, 3 March 2016 … http://www.unz.com/freed/reviving-napoleons-army/ .. where the title is “Reviving Napoleon’s Army – “Cry havoc, and Let Slip the Frogs of Yore”

It is curious how little military men know about war. You would think they would think about it more. Yet, oddly, they regularly misjudge practically everything concerning the dismal trade. Their errors are not the sort that inevitably must occur in a contest, as when a quarterback doesn’t pick up a blitz. They are fundamental misappreciations of war itself. The foregoing sounds both arrogant and improbable, like saying that dentists do not understand teeth. Actually it is neither.

The reasons are several. First, the military attracts certain kinds of men—authoritarian, hierarchical, conformist—who are not imaginative and do not think independently. Second, the appeal of the military is visceral, emotional, hormonal. Neither of these things is true of dentists. ww one SEE https://www.google.com.au/search?tbm=isch&q=trench+warfare+photos+World+war+I&gws_rd=cr,ssl&ei=uRnhVoLBDcjujwOc_K3wAg#tbs=simg%3Am00&tbnid=Bf7qrmahwyhL2M%3A&docid=zJIqjHIqZHvxTM&tbm=isch&imgrc=JIqheGROOQLZvM%3A

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, Afghanistan, american imperialism, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, meditations, military strategy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes, World War One

The Paradoxes of Anzac Australianness in the World Dispensation

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Library of Social Science Guest Newsletter Series, where the title is “Australian Nationalism and the Ideology of Sacrificial Death”

Addressing the practices of remembrance in Australia as an outsider Richard Koenigsberg has recently noted the irony of a battlefield defeat, that at Gallipoli in World War One in 1915, serving a people as an emblem of nationhood: the “Australian nation, came into being [on the foundations provided by] the slaughter of its young men.”

There is yet more irony. The commemoration of Australian courage, sacrifice and manliness at Gallipoli (and subsequently on the Somme) was threaded by tropes of youthful innocence that drew on classical Hellenic motifs; while the monuments and epitaphs that were crafted in Australia to mark this event were manifestly Greek in form. The gendered masculine metaphor, in its turn, was often embodied in the seminal image of a full-bodied blonde young man. “Archie Hamilton” in Peter Weir’s classic film Gallipoli was/is one such trope (and he died of course).

Gallipoli-Mel-Gibson-Mark-Lee-6  Mel-Gibson-Mark-Lee-in film GALLIPOLI

Archie in gallipoli--grabpage.info “Archie Hamilton,” the ‘natural’ country boy who died at Gallipoli in the film’s typical Aussie story line Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Australian culture, British imperialism, martyrdom, meditations, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, politIcal discourse, religiosity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, war reportage, World War One, zealotry

Sacrificial Death in the Confirmation of Australian Nationhood

Richard A. Koenigsberg, whose essay is entitled Warfare, Sacrificial Death and Memorialization” in its original version for an international audience at http://www.libraryofsocialscience.com/newsletter/posts/2015/2015-5-26-commemoration1.html itself part of a Newsletter series, http://archive.benchmarkemail.com/Library-of-Social-Science

Wars are undertaken based on a structure of thought—a template enacted upon the stage of reality. In the first place—in order for a war to occur—there must be an “enemy:” a particular group or class of people imagined to be seeking to harm or to destroy one’s nation and its sacred values. Identification of this dangerous or threatening enemy generates the belief that it may be necessary to wage war—to defeat this enemy that threatens the existence of one’s nation.

Waging war requires engaging in battle, where some citizens may become casualties. Citizens who die in battle (often soldiers) are said to have made the “supreme sacrifice.” Their sacrificial death is conceived as a gift: they have given their lives to their country—so that the nation might live.

anzac memorials ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney

Subsequent to a war (or during it—as was the case in the First World War), a nation may create monuments—whose purpose is to preserve the memory of soldiers who have “given their lives” in the process of fighting for or defending the nation. Gravestones memorialize or symbolize the dead soldiers who have sacrificed their lives. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Australian culture, British colonialism, cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, psychological urges, self-reflexivity, world events & processes, World War One