“WAR! What is it good for? Absolutely nothin!”
(What is it good for?)
Absolutely (nothin) uh-huh, uh-huh
(What is it good for?)
Say it again, y’all
(War) h’uh (h’uh) look out!
(What is it good for?)
Absolutely (nothin’) ………………….
Compulsory to click Play!
“WAR! What is” ….
…..and so starts with “The Temptations classic song WAR (March 1970), made famous by Edwin Starr’s version above (June 1970) and first heard by not so pasty faced white boy (me), downtown Hobart Tasmania in 1976. Local Pub band -Kokomo were doing their best cover version at “Travellers Rest” across the car park from Australia’s only legal Casino. With 100- 200 sweaty patrons doing Chorus line it was truly a groovy uplifting experience.
Most weeks were like that. Collecting and washing Glasses was the job. Try to be Mr Invisible collecting glasses through the noisy good time crowded rooms. Mr Invisible worked for some of the time. Sometimes not, getting abducted by others to the dance floor. As long as I didn’t stay too long “shakin the booty” and kept clean glasses in good supply to the Bartenders, the Boss was okay.
True confession, I love a semi clear or empty dance floor. Far less people means more room to move. It is something to be taken advantage of, not to stand on the sidelines watching floor space opportunity to slip away. Now don’t be bashful you sideliners! It’s okay. 1st on the Dance floor? Icebreaker you become and others will eventually join to make sure the Ice is well and truly melted! I digress..
“Travs” was a fun loving and welcoming place with little aggro among the patrons. Group love to have a good time permeated the ether. Yes, there were a couple of not so lovely moments, one which involved the full Riot control arm of Hobart Police Force, when Police at “Travs” called in a Riot situation when there was none!
I swear! I witnessed every moment of this growing Idiot Drama show by the two Plain clothes Police. They had declared War on us! Couple of friends arrested and ended up in Court. Judge threw out the charges and admonished the Police for badly inflaming the situation that night.
“.. it good for”?
Yeh, “What is WAR good for? Nothing but hatred, mistrust and bitterness. 200 odd people from that night have kept a level of mistrust for particular Hobart Police ever since. Most of these people are now retired, many with successful careers behind them including the Police Force.
If in conversation we visit that night, frowns of bitterness appears on the assembled foreheads. Mistrust of authority, we still have in common. Is it right that this measure of bitterness and mistrust still nags? Of course not.
Our War was a tiny pimple compared to other’s life experiences. Photos of the Ruin of Homs from the still ongoing War in Syria attest to Reality that is impossible to imagine for many, but so real to those living with War.
Both Grandfathers fought in WW1 (Europe) and WW2 (New Guinea). Still have some of their medals that come out to the light of day on Anzac Day. “Lest we Forget”. Pop had a bit of paranoia about emergency sirens for some years after WW2. He worked as Airfield ground crew that was subject to almost daily bombardments for months on end. Did his more than fair share of diving to safety when the air raid Siren sounded.
Dad mentioned that he was disappointed he just wasn’t quite old enough to volunteer and enlist to fight in WW2. Him and mate seriously contemplated lying about their age to get in. Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Atomic bombing of) saw to those War dreams, with the War finishing abruptly in 1945. If the War had gone into 1946, Dad may not be my Dad today. This was some time before he met my Mum. I seriously Love the Dad that I have and am very happy his War dreams failed to turn into reality.
Sisters friends were birthday conscripted to serve in Vietnam via a daily Radio announcement. Am pretty certain more than a few were Conscientious Objectors. This was during the then well known later stages of the Vietnam War. By that time few wanted to go at all. If it had been Dad, even he most likely would have become a Conscientious Objector.
There was an increasing bitterness about forcing us to shed blood in other places, especially this War to stop “Communism” in it’s tracks. Funny (not), that Independence from Colonial Masters was all the Vietnamese wanted once and for all, to Govern their Country in their own right. Simple! Spreading Communist Ideology to other Countries? The Vietnamese had no interest.
Working with China against America and the rest of the grim ‘Defenders of Democracy’ in Vietnam was a bit like: “Your enemy is my enemy”. History long before and since Vietnam War shows that Vietnam and China have never really seen eye to eye.
A special mention goes to the American and Australian Governments who chose to forget or were willfully ignorant of the history of the region when they started the War. It really didn’t take long to descend into a War of: “My manhood is bigger than your manhood”. Loosely translated as a Wanking War. The worst kind, that has ad-nauseum repeated itself over the Centuries.
They keep on repeating the same formula and cannot be trusted to not do it all again. What is that old proverb or was that a Paint Ad? “When you are on a good thing stick to it!”
“..Say it again, y’all”
Origins of the use of the word “War” are found in the English language from roughly the 11th Century, with the names of wyrre and werre. It is related to Old Saxon: Werran, Old High German: Werran and German: Verwirren – meaning to confuse, to perplex, to bring into confusion. Latin version translates as – strife and struggle. (Wikipedia, Etymology.com) Very stiff upper lip places, these origins.
War is all those things – strife, struggle, perplexing and confusing. It describes the life of a Victim never to rise out of these cold hard circumstance of their existence. War as a term and action is ingrained within all Societies crafted over many Centuries of blood soaked verification.
The World is still full of War. It has diversified from traditional concepts of physical War to mean many things. Our devolving Online World is now full of War from the humble chat, tweet, FB comment to big conspiracies and hacks. War as a term has seeped into our collective society conscience. Marketing tools, Slogans and big one liner Anthems – “War on AIDS”, “War on Drugs”, “War on Terror”, “War on small Furry things” and other stuff like that. Well, maybe not the “Small Furry things“.
Maybe declare: “War on ‘Hollywood’ Dive and Cry Soccer players”. Is a War with good intentions. Difficult to descend into a traditional “Wanker War”, when their actions are so blatantly Pathetic. Yes, lets declare War on that!
For those inventing Politician and CEO scripts, slogans and anthems – all you are doing is promoting to society a grim struggle, set jaws, determination to fight fight fight so that we can have strife and struggle while feeling perplexed and confused. This is in so called Peace times!
Instant downer so to speak. This is the War that is consistently reinforced into our psyche. For those making decisions on behalf of the rest of us – Government and their influencers, it does suit them to have the population feeling grim, maybe even a bit confused and struggling a bit.
War takes our mind from other matters that Govern a reasonable life. Base ethics of truth, respect, honesty, freedom and equity are diminished and submerged by War. With that War now on multiple fronts 24/7, there is little way to escape it’s impact. Love is submerged and bruised by War, but not broken. Love does survive as only Love can.
To be able to live a peaceful ethical life that really doesn’t bother anyone is a reasonable base expectation for us all. To be able to exist without a measure of fear is just as reasonable. “Love not War“, is my strangled scream of increasing futility, or so it seems.
Can we change the tradition? While you contemplate this, just keep on Loop: “War! What is it good for?….. absolutely nothin!!, Say it again…!”