Sword turned into Ploughshare in Brisbane

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A group of anti-war activists in Brisbane literally turned a sword into a ploughshare. The four were found guilty of wilful damage today.

On 1 March 2017, Jim Dowling, Andrew Paine, Tim Webb and Franz Dowling – all members of the Catholic Workers Movement – took the call to turn swords into ploughshares literally. They removed a brass sword from the Toowong Cross of Sacrificea and hammered it into a ploughshare. According to Australian media, the cross was a memorial to “Reverend David Garland, acknowledged as the founder of Anzac Day.”

While the four freely admitted to turning a “symbol of death into a symbol of life”, left a banner and even their details at the site, they pleaded not guilty to the vandalism charges, arguing that it was an improvement to the memorial and that the combination of the sword and the cross was offensive.

Unsurprisingly, the Chief Magistrate failed to see the bigger picture and sentenced them to community service, fines and almost $18,000 reparation costs. The money will presumably be used to put an even shinier, new sword up on that cross, probably blessed by a priest, because Australian soldiers are still fighting wars and Christian priests have never stopped blessing the military.

Also not surprisingly, the Queensland RSL (the equivalent of the NZ RSA) were asked to provide a ‘victim impact statement’ (as if they had somehow suffered personal injury) in which they blabbered on about how the first world war was fought for civil liberties which the four Catholic Workers were enjoying etc. etc.

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