Last night I watched a great movie from New Zealand called "Field Punishment No 1", which told the story of 14 pacifists forced into the expeditionary forces of the New Zealand Army in WW1. The story's focus is on two of the most committed of the group, Archie Baxter and Mark Briggs, and follows the privations, punishments, and outright torture they endured for refusing to fight. Whilst most of the group eventually relented and agreed to serve as stretcher bearers, Briggs and Baxter remained steadfast to the end. The film derives its title from the form of punishment the army introduced as a supposedly "humane" alternative to flogging, whereby the victim would be bound to a post in an open field (displaced some degrees from the vertical) by his ankles, knees, and wrists, and left to hang in the coldest of weathers, the tightness of the binds causing the blood circulation to stop. It was a mild form of crucifixion! Briggs - because he refused to walk to the front while carrying a rifle - was even bound and dragged to the trenches for a distance of a 1000ft along crudely constructed duckboards, the exposed, crooked nails lacerating his back into a bloody mess. As if that wasn't enough, he was then dragged through a water filled shell hole in an attempt to drown him - on the orders of his own company sergeant! What the film makes clear is that these men's refusal to fight had nothing to do with a lack of courage - what they endured at the hands of the army, whilst refusing to compromise their principles, on the contrary required courage of the highest order. They were, rather, motivated by an unshakeable conviction that war was insane, that ordinary humanity was better than a savage animal fed and trained by, and captive to, its capitalist masters, for whose gain the war was ultimately being fought. Whatever your views on pacifists and "conchies", it's hard not to feel moved by the plight of these men, and how they exemplified all that it means to have the "courage of your convictions." And, of course, this is a true story, the script based on first hand accounts from those involved. Well worth a watch.