Editorial RT54

In a time of war…or a bad peace

“To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect…; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfit for action.”
Thucydides, 455-400BC

When we put this edition of RealTime to bed, the war against Iraq had just commenced and there was no early indication of which way it might go. Coalition governments were exercising the double bind of ‘Yes, oppose the war but support our troops’, the hyprocisy of calling for Iraq to stand by the rules of the Geneva convention for POWs while in flagrant breach of it, and the opportunism of invoking a new sovereignity for Iraq while planning to profit maximally from its restructure. And, as those polled in the West appeared to increasingly support the war (presumably unable to imagine its reversal and hoping for a quick finish), the spectres of the un-American, the un-Australian, the anti-war coward and the violent protester were being conjured. We hope, at the very least, that by the time you read these words that the bombing will have stopped and that we can unravel ourselves from the knots of government duplicity. It’s a lot to hope for.

One way to battle the distortion of language is to assault hypocrisy and propaganda with creativity. The massive international protests against the war were typified by a plethora of banners, cut outs, costumes and puppets with a rude vigour and wit not seen since the Yippees in the years of the anti-Vietnam War movement. Our Featured Artists in this edition are the anonymous makers of these images which appeared at the protest in Sydney on February 16 (p13).

As you’ll see, RealTime 54 is bookish, but not at all retiring. Our BOOK-ish feature celebrates the achievement of Australian authors writing on new media, film and cultural and psychological phenomena, for the most part in international imprints.

RealTime issue #54 April-May 2003 pg. 3

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 April 2003