Peace plea on Anzac Day
THE people of Lismore would not want to bomb Casino and that is the way the North Coast Peace group, Remembering and Healing (RaH), wanted humanity to view the world on Anzac Day.
Having grown up in Germany after WWII, RaH co-ordinator Sabina Baltruweit was speaking of her experience at a gathering at Lismore City Hall shortly after Anzac commemorations.
The gathering marked the 10th anniversary of the peace group's Anzac Day forums, aimed at giving community members an opportunity to reflect on the impact of war and promote understanding among all groups in the community.
The coming together was facilitated by former Lismore Mayor Simon Clough and began with a Buddhist chant before the floor was opened to people who wanted to share their feelings on what constituted a "humane society”.
Mr Clough said joining the RaH group required "some courage” on a day like Anzac Day but "did not mean we did not respect those who had fought and died fighting for their country.”
"These things are compatible,” he said.
"The forum is not an opportunity for debate but to take a deeper look at the underlying issues around Anzac Day and war and peace.”
Through tears, Ms Baltruweit said war was not "a good thing to be sanitised and glorified”.
As a person who witnessed the "total insecurity and destruction”, "scarcity and displacement” in Germany after the war, she said "to get medals for killing and destruction was not okay”.
"It is a terrible thing for our humanity to allow this as a way of dealing with conflict, in my view.”
Another member of the group, whose family had been separated while fleeing Denmark from the revolution in Russia, spoke about how dealing positively with conflict needed to start on a "smaller scheme”.
"We needed to accept each other's differences with discernment, but not judgment,” they said.
Only then, would the world begin to prevent the collateral damage and mass destruction caused by bigger wars.
The gathering also included musical interludes.
For more information on how RaH works to promote understanding among groups in the community, go to rah.org.au.