I was ruminating yesterday while I was planning for the upcoming term. Earlier in the year I suggested to the class they might want to learn about World War 1 – the Great War – and they agreed, so I’ve been planning a number of different projects based on this nation-defining epoch.
Yesterday, as commemorations of the 99th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings took place, and as we near the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, I began thinking…
If those young men were alive today, what would they think about the current state of the nation they had fought so hard to protect?
What would they think about the increasing gap between rich and poor that sees the top 10% of income earners in New Zealand earn so very much more than the bottom 50%?
What would they think of New Zealanders supporting this very same government to the tune of (up to) 50% – depending on which political poll from the mainstream media you look at?
Our soldiers fought for freedom. They fought for four years in appalling conditions to protect those freedoms. Freedom of movement. Freedom of association. Freedom of belief. Freedom from tyranny.
Are you free if you have to work two jobs to pay rent and electricity so you can live in Auckland (where most of the jobs are)?
Are you free if you are injured, can no longer work, yet are forced by bureaucrats to go out and look for work to satisfy a work test?
Are you free if you have every part of your life monitored so the government are satisfied you meet the criteria to receive an unemployment benefit.
Are you free if you have nothing in a world where owning everything is considered success?
But then, this government doesn’t want you to be free. They don’t want you thinking freely and questioning their authori-tigh.
No. This government would rather you struggle along focused on making things better for your family because if you stopped to think for just a nanosecond about how little the Western political elite actually care about you and your family you would rise up and take back your life.
But then capitalism was never about freedom anyway.
Benefits cut for 21,000 overseas travellers: Paula Bennett press release, April 3rd, 2014
Henare apologises for comments about cleaner: NZ Herald, Sept 27, 2013
Why are teachers used as targets?: Allan Alach (The Daily Blog), December 18, 2013
WORKING FOR THE FEW – Political capture and economic inequality: Oxfam NZ, Jan 20th, 2014