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A tribute to the The Fighting Generation?


The cowards.

For us that absorbed the information we were fed like sponges, about the "rooi gevaar" , the "domino effect", the inhumanity of what would be done to our families if we did not fight for our country, it was almost unthinkable that there were guys that refused to serve in the armed forces. In my (since revised) opinion it amounted to one of two things.

One: they were traitors or two: they were cowards. It was unthinkable that a person calling himself a man, a patriot and a citizen of a country would not serve in that country's army.

With hindsight I now realised that the conscientious objecters were divided into mainly 2 groups. The religious guys whose beliefs made it taboo to fight or kill in defense of a human structure or govt, and the guys that truly saw through the BS we were all fed. The real thinkers. The ones that sifted info and gleaned real facts, using these facts to see the truth behind the war in the north.

But whatever the reasons for objecting, these guys never had it easy whilst in the system. They could be sentenced to up to 6 years improsenment, although the norm was 6 years imprisonment of which 3 were suspended. This still meant 3 years in jail for not believing in a war that later proved to have been unneccesary. This also meant having a criminal record in a time when a record was a sure ticket to permanent unemployment.

So these guys were so strong in their conviction that they would risk all this not to fight for a government that was using the army(internally) to hold on to power, but also using the army (externally) to justify holding on to that power at all costs.

This led me to the conclusion that the objectors were neither cowards nor traitors. They were young men not willing to blindly follow the politics of the day. They were in some ways wiser than their peers. They were strong-willed, but they were boys that became men just as surely as those that did serve were boys that became men. Same destination, different routes.

Written by

Mike 🐕‍🦺

Chat Shack

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