A Sunny Day in Wartime
This is the Captain's chair of HMAS VAMPIRE. She was commisioned in 1956, served in the Vietnam war, and became the Australian Navy's primary training ship. Nearly every RAN officer has spent some time aboard Vampire. Australia has contributed troops to nearly every major conflict from the first two world wars until today.
The news reminds us that this exciting time is also a time of war. Today women enjoy more freedom and opportunity than at any time in history. In response, bad guys have attacked around the world, from Bali to the Middle East to Seattle. Their leaders would have us uneducated and wearing the burqua. Like their predecessors 60 years ago, they universally hate Jewish people. Does anyone doubt that this is a worldwide war?
This time is unlike the 1930's because today's fascists do not wear uniforms, carry ID cards, or sign treaties. Cutting off the head does not kill the organisation, for it will grow back like a starfish. Rather than a top-down command structure, their nervous system is distributed. The internet that we enjoy spreads their message.
We can travel, meet and study in relative safety because far away others fight for that freedom. In the 1930's it was believed that ignoring fascism would lead to peace in our time. Appeasement led to Pearl Harbor, war and holocaust in Europe. Australia suffered air raids and nearly faced invasion during 1942. Hopefully we have learned from history.
Since many European flights go through Heathrow, today's events affect the IAU meeting in Prague. We are all products of the time we live in. Greater freedom allows us to study science in the first place. Finally, it is sometimes necessary to defend an idea even when it is difficult. This applies to c change or the very idea of freedom.
This post may lead to some lively discussion among friends. More comments are welcome.