November 11: Looking to the past and the future


2498 Remebrance DayLETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918 between the Allies and Germany to end the hostilities on the Western Front of World War I. Every year since, the importance of this international diplomacy has been marked on November 11.
In Australia it is our Remembrance Day tomorrow and we commemorate all who have suffered and died in wars.
Acknowledging a minute of silence at 11am can help us to remember the sacrifice of those who have died or otherwise suffered in hostilities.
However, hostilities globally have not ended, and there are signs that they are being re-ignited.
We should also consider what could be done to prevent further hostilities.
Australian aid has been effective in conflict resolution, yet is now at its lowest level ever.
Meanwhile we are increasing our military expenditure and have refused to sign the UN Treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
Perhaps we could do more than just remember those who suffer in conflicts, and work towards preventing and resolving hostilities.
Dr Rosalie Schultz
Alice Springs

2498 development aid OKSir – Remembrance Day tomorrow is again an opportunity to observe a minute’s silence to remind ourselves of the sacrifice of those who died or otherwise suffered in Australia’s cause in wars and conflicts, particularly since the end of World War I.

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1, which at the time had been referred to by some as the war to end all wars, because of its unparalleled scale and devastation at the time.
Sadly there have been many more wars since then, many of which have dragged on far longer than World War 1, and the subsequently longer World War 2. In fact the war in Afghanistan has now gone on for 16 years, and continues to this day.
The best way we can honour those who have died in war is to work towards peaceful solutions to global conflicts in order to avoid further tragic loss of life and devastation which results from war.
Trillions of dollars are spent on weapons each year around the world. At a global level we are clearly investing in war. In Australia almost $450b has been committed, over the period of the next 10 years, for defence forces and military bases, mainly to support the United States in its wars.
What if we invested this kind of money directly in peace – in finding diplomatic solutions to conflict; in housing, health, education and training in war torn and developing countries; and investing in alternative industries to arms manufacturing.
Let us remember – and re-imagine what the world could be like. We owe this to those who have gone before us.
Jonathan Pilbrow

Alice Springs



  1. Thanks to both of you – Dr Rosalie Schulz and Jonathon Pilbrow – for your pertinent and thoughtful contemplations on the occasion of this year’s Remembrance Day.
    You highlight well the opportunity cost of conflict and military expenditure; and so much of this could be at least diminished significantly if leaders would have the wisdom to avoid bellicosity and seek always to establish and maintain good relations with others.
    Conflict will always be with us, it’s a part of the human condition, but there are many salutary quotes from political and military figures – those who have been directly involved or associated with major conflicts – who provide insights borne of bitter experience that remain relevant to a troubled world.
    The following are some examples.
    The Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, at the conclusion of the Battle of Waterloo: “Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained.”
    President Abraham Lincoln, leader during the American Civil War: “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
    General Hans von Seeckt, German WW1 military leader: “The statement that war is a continuation of policy by other means has become a catch-phrase, and is therefore dangerous. We can say with equal truth – war is the bankruptcy of policy.”
    The final word I’ll give to Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence in the American Revolutionary War, upon becoming President in 1801: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”
    Lest we forget.


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