Friday, May 7, 2010
The moratorium and Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War
It was 40 years ago this weekend that some 200,000 Australians marched against Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War (and conscription) , as part of a citizen led movement that came to be known as the "Moratorium". In cities and towns across Australia people marched against Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War and the conscription of youth to fight in that war.
Nick Irving has written an important piece on this forgotten but important chapter in Australian history in a piece on the ABC website Drum Unleashed. Irving's piece has generated intense online debate.
Irving poses the question- what is the legacy of the Moratorium forty years on? Irving believes that a lasting lesson is the importance of citizen led participatory democracy- about the need for citizens to inform, mobilize and engage with ideas and with each other to address injustice.
As Irving points out the efforts of Australians who protested for peace and against war, be it during the Vietnam War in the 1960's and 1970's, or during WW 1 and other wars, are forgotten and overlooked, whilst the mythology and ethos of ANZAC is celebrated and glorified.