Abbott heaps insults on injury
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by Bill F.
Not content with the pain and suffering being inflicted on working people by his vicious austerity budget, Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to re-write history by insulting past generations of Australians.
In his fawning welcome to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Abbott referred to the World War II attack on Sydney by Japanese submarines in June 1942, which ended with the death of 21 allied seamen as well as the Japanese submariners.
He gushed, “We admired the skill and the sense of honour that they brought to their task, although we disagreed with what they did.”
“Admired” their skill and honour?! “Disagreed”?! What weasel-words to cover the truth that the military honours funeral for the Japanese submariners was a desperate attempt to protect the lives of some 22,000 Australian prisoners of war after the fall of Singapore!
The Australian people already knew how about the brutality of Japanese fascism following the invasion of China and the Rape of Nanjing in 1937.
They already had experience of resistance to Japanese fascism when the wharfies of Port Kembla refused to load scrap iron for Japan in 1938, despite threats and attacks by Industry Minister ‘Pig Iron Bob” Menzies.
By June 1942 Darwin and Broome had already been bombed with the loss of hundreds of civilian lives.
Appealing to the honour of fascists never works. The worst fears of the Australian people were realised. Our prisoners of war were treated appallingly in places such as the Thai-Burma Railway, Changi prison in Singapore and the Sandakan death march in Borneo, and wherever else they fell into captivity.
And just who is Shinzo Abe?
Well, he’s an apologist for Japanese wartime atrocities and crimes. He claims the Nanjing slaughter never took place. He wants to disavow the apologies given to Korean ‘comfort women’. He insists on paying respects at the notorious Yasukuni Shrine which honours many Japanese war criminals.
He is changing the post-war Japanese Constitution to allow Japanese militarism to re-emerge and engage in conflicts beyond Japan.
While all of this weighs heavily with generations of Australians still affected by the horrors and losses of World War II, it just bounces off Abbott.
He’s all gung-ho for Gallipoli celebrations around a war that had nothing to do with Australia’s defence and a lot to do with defending British imperialism. His weasel-words insult all those that fought and all those that died defending Australia from Japanese imperialism and fascism.
His mission was to prove his loyalty to US imperialism by cementing a political and military alliance with resurgent Japanese militarism and locking in another shonky “free trade” agreement.
It’s all part of the US ‘pivot’ into the Asia-Pacific region, a strategy that drags Australia into US, and now Japanese, war plans to contain or provoke China, and all the possible miscalculations this might involve.
True to form, Abbott recently gave a speech at a conference hosted by The Australian and the Melbourne Institute at which he then tried to white-out 50,000 years of indigenous history.
“Our country is unimaginable without foreign investment… I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settled, Great South Land.”
Labor Senator Nova Peris, the first indigenous woman to be elected to federal parliament, said Abbott was “highly offensive, dismissive of indigenous peoples and simply incorrect… British settlement was not foreign investment. It was occupation.”
Abbott will not succeed in re-writing Australia’s history, and like other apologists for imperialism, fascism, invasion and occupation, he will barely rate a footnote.
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