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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 9. 9 May 1972

C.O.'s About -turn

C.O.'s About -turn


As egotistical as it seems I'd like to have a letter published by Salient. This one preferably. The scene being that I registered C.O. on Friday 21st after they'd chased me for two years when I refused to comply with the C.M.T. Act and register on my 19th Birthday or thereabouts. Because, as I told the C.O. Committee. I thought the act was a bad one. I still think it is, although the Committee (and the "Post") obviously thought that I'd accepted it due to my preference for fighting C.M.T. on moral rather than legal grounds.

But the point behind my wind-change is that, while I consider the Act a bad one, which was meant to be shown by my deferring registration for almost 3 years, I place more importance on a carefully-listened-to (they was out to get me, you better believe it) vocal and written (they each still have copies of my carefully consistent statement) declarations of protest Not against the Act so much, but against the army, its corruption of the morons who go off "just ter 'ave a good coupla weeks roughin' it a bit, y'know?" amidst all the cheap piss the army somehow flogs (up the taxpayer!) and come out looking for a fight to prove how tough they've become in a few weeks, and how many deadly tricks they learnt; and the brainwashing of their tender, half-cooked minds. These guys obviously haven't learnt to think (otherwise they wouldn't go near the place) and they come out believing because they are told so that the only way to save the world is to start a war and blow it up; and against the reactionary goddamn Government for poking all of our noses into "immoral, unjust and unGodly wars" (a quote from my statement) — and I don't just mean Vietnam, I made emphatically clear, but any war (or support of same) which might be undertaken as a token gesture, which is about all bloody New Zealand could ever do — the fingers would be a lot better. I also made it quite clear that how could anyone who could not morally justify every single one of these bitter mistakes register anything but C.O., or even tacitly condone the whole system? which they interpreted correctly as saying that everyone should register C.O. Then if we have any megalomaniac's wishing to rule the world they wouldn't have a hell of a lot of help to do it.

Which sort of vaguely reaches my point - which is more or less a question. There are a hell of a lot more fucked laws than the C. M.T. Act, so why try so hard to get rid of it right now? The Army isn't ready yet (and won't be for a long time—neither yet are all the beautiful people of this country) to back down, let their screws out of so many of our brave young patriots, and admit that we don't even need a bloody army. I don't like anything compulsory, especially something like this, but moral grounds gets anyone whose head can hold more than half a thought out of C.M.T. anyway, and accomplishes the double purpose of registering some protest against the Govt, the Army, and "the clods" (or are they all clods), as well as protesting against immorality, wholesale slaughter, and even just everyday aggression. On the strength of that, I'd like to hear (I would like to support O.H.M.S. if I can justify it — the idea of anarchy appeals) why I should have continued to refuse to register. Because I don't know (and neither do a few others I assume) exactly why we must have this Act abolished at the expense of a few martyrs.

Grant M.