Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

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Last night we went to the local theatre and saw a play titled Minefields and Miniskirts. It was brilliantly performed and the accompanying slide show, my last week photo challenge  https://irenewaters19.com/2014/03/15/weekly-photo-challenge-inside-the-cu-chi-tunnels/  and the folk music of the era all took me back to the sixties and early seventies when the peace movement was strong, the music evocative and the Vietnam War raged.

The play centred on the reflections of five women and the effect the war had on them. Four of them were in Vietnam –  a nurse, an entertainer, a christian good works lady and a young journalist. The fifth, married to a Vietnam War veteran, had fought her own war when her now mentally disturbed husband returned from Vietnam. Each had her own unique war and aftermath. It moved from their life before the war and why they went, through the time they were there from early days to escaping by helicopter as the VC tank crashed the fence down of the presidential palace and then on to their life back in Australia on their return. Not only were many in the audience crying, the women on stage also had genuine tears pouring down their faces as they sang “Where have all the flowers gone….” They made it clear – each despite their own experiences saw the Viet Cong as human beings.

I reflected as I sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks where are the folk songs today asking for war to end? Why did this war create a movement in the 1960s that was instrumental in the end of the American involvement in the war and consequently our own?

For the first time we had a war that was in our living rooms and we were horrified at what we saw. We started to question the truth of what the government was telling us, particularly when we saw images of the My Lai Massacre in February 1970. Why have we not listened and learnt from this event which destroyed the lives of millions with the use of agent orange, land mines and post traumatic stress. Perhaps we don’t see it in our living rooms now. Not like then. Embedded journalists show us a sanitised version. Or are we anaesthetised to the brutality we see? But surely there must be some protest singers like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Maybe there are and I have just not heard them.

As I sit and remember reflections of a different kind I reflect on war and peace and I am reminded of what Bertrand Russell said “War does not determine who is right – only who is left behind.”


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About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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17 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

  1. M. R. says:

    No … your earlier guess was right, I feel sure: we get to see only what the guvmnt of the day wants us to, now. And that varies from poll to poll. We’re manipulated from dawn to dusk.
    They’re all shits – the lot of ’em. :-\


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  4. Jenni says:

    Sounds fascinating.


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  8. colinmathers says:

    Great thought-provoking post. Why has there not been such public opposition to involvement in recent wars? I think there are several key factors: (1) conscription. Sending random people into war by lottery was a huge factor in focusing attention and opposition. Now, with professional armies only (at least for Australia), people care much less. After all the professionals signed up to fight wars based on decisions of others. (2) the decline of democracy – to a much greater extent now, political parties and governments represent powerful business/military interests rather than the views of the people. And the concentration of media has resulted in a government-supporting press that is rarely critical of government – witness the complete lack of media efforts to report what was going on with the growth of the surveillance state. (3) the dismantling of social safety nets and minimum employment standards means young people now are almost totally focused on getting a job or getting by, and less willing to devote energy to rocking the establishment.


    • You have taken me off on three tangents I hadn’t put into my equation and I think conscription is certainly a big one. I was talking to a friend today whose husband’s name was pulled out. She also indicated this made a difference. Another person suggested that it is because of an attack on home soil the general populous see it as justified. That again is largely down to media reporting.


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  10. colinmathers says:

    Yes, the attack on home soil would have made a difference and I think the US overthrow of the Taliban was an appropriate response. unfortunately, they stopped that effort before wiping out Bin Laden and switched to Iraq. About as justified as switching to an attack on Mexico – and the media was essentially silent about the faked up pretexts.


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