Just mindless destruction
In just a few days’ time we mark exactly 100 years since the end of the “war to end all wars”.
We gave it a number — 1. As far as world wars go, it was the first in a series, so far only up to two, but who knows what the future will bring.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns in Europe fell silent and the massacre ceased. It was a horrible, vicious conflict, in which millions of people died in terrible ways to advance the political and financial fortunes of a few. If that sounds like an anti-war statement . . . of course it is! Does anyone still truly believe that war is a solution to anything?
Just 21 years after the end of World War I, its sequel began. A different cast — mostly, a similar plot and the same poorly written script filled with explosions, gunfire and death. Some say it wasn’t another war at all, but a continuation of the first one following a brief pause.
For the past four years the media has published much from 100 years ago and had a good, hard look at the 1914-18 war. We relived Gallipoli and read letters from front-line soldiers caught in the nightmare.
We’ve had theatrical productions, art exhibitions, museum exhibits, podcasts and television specials, each looking at a different facet of the war.
I hope this whole commemoration exercise wasn’t purely for entertainment or solely out of historical curiosity, but a lesson. Unfortunately, it was not a lesson learned by our forebears who began the action replay in 1939, but it might serve a purpose now.
Apart from a few who made their fortunes in munitions and associated war supplies, there were no winners, not really. But every country that took part suffered losses that can never be regained. Individual human lives can not be recovered by new breeding. Throughout every war in history we have lost great minds, huge intellects, massive creativity and beautiful personalities to the uncaring bomb or bullet. Genealogies have been forever altered and whole generations of families never happened.
Despite every effort made by people who want to see change, wars will continue and people will still die before their time. The lessons are easily and soon forgotten as new generations arrive with no memory of what war is like or how stupid it is. And so it happens again, no matter who argues against it.
This Sunday, as we remember the end of the war to end all wars, spare a thought for those who perished, certainly, but also for those yet to be killed and maimed in all the wars to come. For those who are suffering in conflicts now, the war to end all wars has yet to be fought.
Poor Lundon Park, in particular, the Reg Andrews Play Area.
A lot of fundraising, far too much red tape and plenty of volunteer labour went into the play area in Castlecliff. As well as the usual playground attractions, a toilet block was built and a skatebowl lovingly designed for local children.
Soon, the toilet block and skatebowl will be no more.
Some will protest and insist the Whanganui District Council does more, but what can they do when destructive morons keep undoing the good work?
The skatebowl is at the end of its life , but the toilet block has been the target of repeated attacks by people of no conscience, no imagination and no understanding of “community”.
They may be “victims” of circumstance but why do they insist on making this contagious? They have destroyed a community asset too often for it to survive any longer and ruined the park for others. There is no point trying to repair and maintain something that will continue to be attacked for no good reason other than the warped pleasure of destruction.
Lundon Park with the skatebowl in the foreground and the toilet block at right.