Lest We Forget

They shall not grow old,
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

The ANZAC Dedication: For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

Open Anzac Day Thread.

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Posted in Anzac Day
56 comments on “Lest We Forget
  1. QuietStorm says:

    I stumbled across this on Wikipedia the other day. I think it’s a very fitting tribute to the Diggers.

    Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives, you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
    —Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

    Lest We Forget.

  2. Graham Bell says:

    QuietStorm:
    The man who wrote that was, in the Great War, an Enemy commander who also ordered his soldier not to just fight but to die …… not to satisfy any bloodlust and vanity but so as to get reinforcements who were on their way time to get up to the front. It worked; the invading force [French, British, Indian, Irish, New Zealander and Australian] were stopped before they could take his nation’s capital.

    Enemy commander or not, he was one of the most outstanding leaders of all time …… and he showed this real leadership so clearly in his words of comfort to the bereaved families of his former enemies twenty years later ….. even though members of his government, lacking his greatness, opposed him saying what he did.

    b.t.w. Ataturk’s own birthplace was lost in the wars that led to breakup of the Ottoman Empire and to the establishment of modern Turkey.

  3. Appu says:

    A sad day as usual. The thought of all those lives cut short. To listen then to all the commentary – radio, tv, newspapers about heroes and freedom is gut wrenching. It is a day to remember the dead, not commemorate victories, bravery or any of the other attributes we like to associate with the veterans.

  4. Evan says:

    I dunno about Anzac Day.

    The Gallipoli attack achieved nothing.

    The Great War itself achieved nothing, except to sow the seeds of the next World War (which led to the death of over 70 million people) and the Cold War after that, which gave us Korea, Vietnam and a host of other, smaller, proxy conflicts.

    So, in my humble opinion, there’s really nothing here to celebrate. Merely a whole lot of waste and stupidity to remember.

    This annual orgy of glorification of the bravery, mateship and sacrifice of the Fallen misses the point entirely. What should be remembered is the stupidity, waste and pointlessness of young lives thrown away.

    Perhaps if we did that we might be less inclined to repeat the same mistakes.

    Instead, every year, we wrap ourselves in the flag, sing Waltzing Matilda and shed a few tears to the memory Our Glorious Dead.

    Dontcha reckon it’s time to grow-up?

  5. hannah says:

    Spot on Evan!
    Just come from 9MSN where they are asking if Anzac Day is the most important day on the calender.
    Looks like the christians are forgetting to vote cos it’s about 2:1 ‘yes’.

  6. Megan says:

    Evan,

    ‘This annual orgy of glorification of the bravery, mateship and sacrifice of the Fallen misses the point entirely. What should be remembered is the stupidity, waste and pointlessness of young lives thrown away.’

    You’re so right and it’s nauseating the way that maggot Howard is at this moment waffling on about the ‘mateship’ and ‘larrikinism’ in ‘The Australian’. It’s as if he wants to elevate the whole ANZAC myth to the level of a national religion. The more all this sentimental crap goes on, the more the truth is obscured. The First World War was not about freedom, it was about imperial interests – it was a bloodbath and a meat market.

    The program on the US Iraq War resisters on Foreign Correspondent last night was about deserters questioning their country’s call to arms and the morality of being corporate mercenaries. I hope in future that countries will no longer be able to count on rivers of naive young men to just do what they are told ever again. I think that is the real battle we are fighting today.

  7. joe2 says:

    The American Pentagon war machine are exposed, on Anzac Day, for the nasty organisation that they are. Lest we forget.
    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=009baf56-7bb1-4651-9dcb-83cbee36b139&k=21965

  8. Shaun says:

    The fact that some latch onto to Anzac Day as a glorification of war and a means to propagate nationalist myths is a statement about themselves, not Anzac Day.

    Bravery, mateship and sacrifice are inextricably intertwined with the futility, pointlessness and stupidity of war. We can look back on the horrors of war through history and deplore the reasons sometimes given to send out troops into battle. But that is not a reflection of the soldiers themselves.

    It reminds me that if I was a young lad in 1915 or 1941, I would have enlisted. Not because of any desire for war but as it was the done thing to do, a sense of duty that many felt. The world was far different back then.

    It makes it all the more poignant to remember those who have died and why; to wonder about their last thoughts as they lined up to go over the top almost certain that they would be cut down by the enemy. Hopefully, the Anzac Day message for many (which is a common sentiment contrary to our political leaders) is that we never again needlessly send our troops into battle.

  9. For me, the good thing about Anzac Day is its origins in a colossal military defeat. I’ve had friends from various countries wonder at the rationale for memorializing Gallipoli; my response that the day there to remind us of the cost of war has always made them think.

  10. Just One of Those Thoughts says:

    “Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose;
    But young men think it is, and we were young.”
    — Houseman

    I think that is what one honors on a day like today, the dead for their courage and unimaginable generosity, regardless of the politics, or the lack thereof.

    Shaun: “…that we never again needlessly send our troops into battle.”

    Fair point; but they couldn’t see (or enough of them couldn’t see, or be made to see) that it was ‘needless,’ at the time; and there’s the tragedy. Somehow, in their world, they thought it was important. The past is another country. It’s usually hard to see anything clearly at the time, what’s needless or not. It’s why we always need greater (or at least better) leaders, and more and better criticism; and why we should all vote more carefully and more aggressively, and demand more service for ourselves, and less for our lobbyists.

    But on days like this one remembers the dead, not oneself.

    — j_p_z, with you all today in thought.

    . . .

    “We shall have everything we want and there’ll be no more dying
    On the pretty plains, or in the supper clubs;
    For our symbol, we’ll acknowledge vulgar materialistic laughter
    Over an insatiable sexual appetite
    And the streets will be filled with racing forms…

    No more dying

    …Buildings will go up into the dizzy air as Love goes in
    And up the reeling Life that it has chosen for once and all…
    Like the ways of gods with humans in the innocent combination of light
    And flesh, or as the legends ride their heroes through the dark to found
    Great cities, where all life is possible to maintain as long as Time
    Which wants us to remain for cocktails in a bar and after dinner
    Lets us live with it…

    No more dying.”

    –from Ode to Joy, Frank O’Hara

  11. John Greenfield says:

    skepticlawyer

    A very welcome and succinct observation. All societies need foundation myths and this is ours. And contrary to the Howard (and everybody/thing else) Haters above, the growth of the mythical significance of Anzac Day has grown organically. It is not an example of the wily evil Howard manipulating the masses.

    I was at the dawn service this morning. What is truly inspiring is the number of Asian faces and people “of middle eastern appearance.”

    One of the many boneheaded miscalculations of multiculti is that people actually WANT a unfying idea, identity and myth to feel THE SAME as their fellow Australians. They do not want to wallow in, let alone “celebrate,” their difference.

    If you want to understand the true source of the growth of Anzac Day’s importance, you only have to look at official state-imposed multiculti. May it rest in peace.

  12. Fiasco da Gama says:

    Oh, sweet, another thread where everyone gets to use a significant reverentially-secular event, and the popular regard for the same, as evidence to justify their own worldview and/or voting intention.

  13. ust One of Those Too says:

    Gallant and very JPZ.

  14. Cressida says:

    But on days like this one remembers the dead, not oneself.

    An impossibility. Thoughts of the death of others are always inextricably linked to thoughts of our own mortality. Ditto the mechanics, if you like, of empathy and compassion.

  15. Cressida says:

    Gotta love that strength of feeling for Aboriginal cultural heritage. ABC RN reports: 100s of indigenous people stage separate Anzac Day march through Redfern.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/300-attend-coloured-diggers-march/2007/04/25/1177459766290.html

  16. Jack Robertson says:

    To me the most meaningful way to commemorate Anzac Day would be to write to Brendon Nelson for more information about this very specific and contemporary ‘cost of war‘. Maybe these posts will provide some context and some ideas about what respecting the Anzac tradition really entails. I don’t think it’s about waving flags, awarding medals, making speeches and waxing eloquent about our national myth. I think it’s about making sure we don’t send our soldiers to war unless it’s a last resort, and when it is, covering their backs and bums on the home front while they’re fighting, so that political expediency, financial belt-tightening, scapegoating in the wake of Abu Ghraibs and changing ‘isms’ and policies don’t leave them high and dry and all alone with their demons, long after the excitement and glory of killing people for country has faded away. I think it’s looking after them and their interests in real time, when it matters, not fifty years later. Even if it means you make yourself a target of certain Patriot Attack Dogs by asking sceptical questions about wars while they’re still going on. It’s the least we civilians can do. It’s what our soldiers really need, even though some of them will deny it. (And the ones who do like medals and Anzac Day parades and so on are the ones who most need our highly-sceptical civvy overseeing, frankly.) None of them need the kind of hollow chanting from the 101st Fighting Keyboard types that has become so intense since 9/11. And the way I see that sort of stuff, and our increasingly hysterical Dianafication of Anzac Day, with all its sanitised proxy-sentimentality over the ‘terrible waste and suffering’ of our ancestors’ wars, is as a pretty convenient way to avoid facing up to what are our contemporary obligations as citizens of a democratic country currently engaged in two very difficult wars of occupation, one of which was unratified by the UN and highly contentious, both morally and strategically. Both those wars are still going on, and they’re both going badly. Our soldiers are hurting, as are especially our main ally America’s, even if we are all studiously looking the other way. That it’s through teary eyes at granite-hewn lists of their long-dead predecessors today only makes our determined attention deficit all the more perverse.

    My brother was lightly wounded twice and won a DSM for service in Iraq/Afghanistan. Like many others’, my family’s history is strewn with war service and sacrifice. As for me, I served eleven (mostly peaceful) years as an Army helicopter pilot. So please keep your white feathers to yourselves. I got more than enough of that excluding crap from the Australian ‘mainstream’ while writing for Margo Kingston’s Webdiary. I’ve been out of uniform for over a decade but it’s really the aggressive post-9/11 militarisation of ‘Western civilisation’ in general that has made the modern Anzac story hard for me to stomach. It’s a great personal regret. One of my most moving experiences in uniform was as Bill Hayden’s ADC on 11 September ’93, handing Australia’s Official Chief Mourner the sprig of wattle that now rests in peace with the Unknown Australian in the Hall of Remembrance. Inside at the graveside there were only about twenty of us, and like all good funerals it was an intensely private and intimate moment even though 20, 000, 000 were watching on TV. It was just so gentle and tender and quiet. After the wattle went in the old Digger on the other side of the tomb sprinkled in a handful of Pozieres dirt; then out of the blue he muttered softly: ‘There you go, old fella – back where you belong’. The quietness of it still sends shivers up my back today…terrorist-appeasing, Howard-hating Margolian loon, or not. Keating’s speech that day – Don Watson’s, actually – continued the gentle vibe: it too was all about softness and inclusion, the absolute antithesis of militarism (the Sparta 300, celluloid version, say). His eulogy gave every Aussie enough space to grieve how they wanted – privately – while still feeling part of a public whole. No-one was ‘un-Australian’. No-one ‘didn’t get’ Anzac Day. They couldn’t. There wasn’t one ‘correct’ script to follow – there were 20, 000, 000.

    If it truly marks a ‘national founding myth’ as you claim then today’s the one day where everyone is supposed to feel like they are ‘inside’ the national tent in some way, John Greenfield. You, me, John Howard and David Hicks, Mark Latham and Phillip Adams, Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair, hell, even all these mysterious Lefty multicultis here at LP your prescriptive type seems to need to single out from the ‘us’ of ‘our’ myth. If it’s supposed to mean anything, Anzac Day is supposed to mean whatever each Australian wants it to mean. If someone happens to think it should mean that today is the best day to say ‘fuck Anzac Day’ loudly at the cenotaph, then so be it. I hope there’s lots of younger people who still think that, and maybe even one or two who do it, too. Far preferrable to us all saluting self-appointed Myth-Guardians like you in national unison, who for all your talk of a shared national story in fact appear to thrive on patriotic gatekeeping and especially exclusion. Especially exclusion. Why, I can only guess.

    Let’s all commemorate today how we choose, and leave it at that. Do spare a thought for Geffrey Gregg’s family and friends, though. And maybe a letter to the PM about our long-term national strategy in this ‘war on terror’, too. Date it tomorrow, if you feel that’s more respectful.

  17. John Greenfield says:

    Jack

    Well let us all pray that you “celebrate” Anzac Day in your bubble, on your lonesome. If too many other Australians carried around so much rage, anger, and self-importance awkwardly projected onto an event over ninety years ago, the country would go bankrupt trying to treat all the hypertension.

    Who would have thought reducing life to a few simple cartoons could be so angst-ridden?

  18. John Greenfield says:

    Princess Diana in the same post as Margo Kingston!!?? Now, I really DO have to hurl my cookies.

  19. Jack, please edit before commenting. Please. From someone who used to do the craft for a living.

  20. Katz says:

    Oh, it’s “foundational myths”, is it? How very “culture studies” our RWDBs wax when they think they’re on the Culture Wars offensive.

    If you know that something is a myth, foundational or otherwise, how is it possible to give it any transcendent truthiness? It’s mere emotional frottage. Otherwise, “foundational myths” lies concocted for the benefit of the plebs, like the lies told by the Pentagon about the phoney heroic deeds of Jessica Lynch. When your enemy resorts to lies, you know you’re on the winning side.

    Here’s some more lies about WWI told in today’s Age by John Roskam of the IPA, one of the greatest sources of RWDB lies.

    After the usual cliches and truisms, Roskam gets to the business at hand:

    What we don’t do on Anzac Day is recognise the reason Australians fought. To properly understand the sacrifice of those Australians who fought and died, we must remember what caused them to do what they did. If we are to understand our own history, simply to record what happened is not enough.

    Confronting the “why” of war is always controversial. We face precisely such a situation right now in relation to Australia’s military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. We confronted, and continue to confront, that question about the Vietnam War.

    It’s not a bad question. Trouble is, historian Lloyd Robson answered it fairly definitively over 30 years ago. Not that there is any evidence of Roskam having read Robson.

    Instead we get this nonsense:

    The reasons Australians offered to serve their country in such large numbers during WWI are complex, but there was more to it than blind loyalty to Britain. It wasn’t simply a case of because Britain was fighting, so too must Australia. Certainly Australians regarded themselves as part of the British Empire, and they believed they should contribute their fair share to its defence. There was also a strong sentiment that to secure long-term world peace the aggression of Germany against the rest of Europe needed to be stopped.

    But a perusal of the enlistment figures demonstrates that then the going looked easy Australians flocked to enlistment. On the other hand, when Germany appeared poised in early 1918 to win the war and the authorities were pleading for men to prevent this disaster, young fit Australians stayed away in droves.

    I’m not blaming these fellows. I merely point out that “German aggression”, when it appeared most threatening, was not a motivating factor for enlistment at all.

    No, Robson was correct. The lure of war offered enlistees psycho-social rewards, regardless of politics and right and wrong. Young men were motivated by the promise of rewards, but were powerfully risk averse.

    Not much to build a “foundational myth” upon here.

    Then, inevitably, Roskam goes after the Great White Whale of the Right. Vietnam!

    When the Australian government committed troops to these conflicts, the decision was overwhelmingly supported by the community – war was difficult but it was necessary.

    But then what happened?

    Yes a lying government was found out. And the Vietnam War turned sour.

    But what’s to be the cure for being caught lying? “Foundational Myths” of course.

    Here is the reflex action of lying governments: Polish up the myth and put out more flags.

    But I have bad news. It didn’t work during WWI. It didn’t work during Vietnam. And it won’t work in the GWOT.

    When it matters, the truth trumps myth every time.

  21. Appu says:

    Brendon excelled himself with his oration at Lone Pine today. Starting with (said slowly and portentously):

    “Australian’s all…let us … rejoice etc.”

    Someone should put him out of his misery and give him a part in a melodrama.

  22. Cressida says:

    Thanks for an unambiguous and humane exposition and definition of “cost” of war Jack. Constant economic market fetishism is so very tedious, apart from all else.

    Thanks also for your lucid, moving, personal, political thoughts on Anzac Day.

    Our soldiers are hurting, as are especially our main ally America’s, even if we are all studiously looking the other way. That it’s through teary eyes at granite-hewn lists of their long-dead predecessors today only makes our determined attention deficit all the more perverse

    .

    Exactly. Some people seem to need, enjoy, demand, ritual, ceremony, memorial. For others, the building of sumptuous cemeteries and expensive monuments for the casualties of war, treks to distant locations that have changed unutterably, and attendance at dawn war memorial services do nothing to reduce the numbers dying in wars today. The best – and the worst – such seemingly humanitarian efforts and personal acts can accomplish is to dull people’s sensitivity to brutality and cruelty, to reduce their horror of war.

  23. I like ANZAC day because sad ceremonies tend to have more pathos than “joyous occasions” with enforced jolliment. They make you think and feel more than you otherwise would.

    I also like it because it consolidates the links between generations and accross classes and races. Community is one side of the coin of morality(the other being individuality).

    Its good that the anniversary of a failed military adventure has become the nation’s day for a dignified sook.

  24. philip travers says:

    With a father who was bastardised whilst in training as a new recruit for the second world war,a uncle who seemed to show cowardice as a Toobruk member,and another Uncle who fought the Japanese as a Chinese national, and remembering so may of these Anzac days in passing…I will say this, the pick of the laziest meaninglessness, can be awarded to the Governor General in his statements as reported, about… how we grow up affecting the need for war.Conscription will change a cowards heart to a coward who will kill with the authority of a coward.The Governor General was obviously practising his memory of prewar self and was suffering a bad hair day.What more needs to said until next year!?

  25. Bridie says:

    Jack, like Mozart and envious Salieri’s comment about too many notes, you are never guilty of too many words. You are a fabulous writer, as well as onw with an enviablely large heart.

    As many noted at the time, it takes a particular gift to make the Holocaust boring. The superlative and exquisitely deep and talented writer, Alison Croggan, describes the long ago novel by skepticlawyer (who today seems to mostly crap on about her long-ago “accomplishment” and her great (?) writing skills as “being coarsely imagined and poorly written”. End of story.

  26. suz says:

    Jack, please edit before commenting. Please. From someone who used to do the craft for a living.

    Jack, please ignore that comment … from someone who currently does the craft for a living.

    I found your comment very moving and apt.
    On ABC-TV’s coverage of today’s ceremony at Gallipoli, a floating official voice was heard to say to the gathered masses: “To connect with this place is to feel fully Australian”.
    So I’m told that despite being fifth generation Australian, I’m not “fully Australian” because I don’t conform to the romanticised nationalist sentiment which surrounds Anzac Day.
    I don’t feel any connection to that place of slaughter. I feel connection to the many people I know personally who’ve lived through the hell of war, most of them not Australian.

  27. Geoff Honnor says:

    Some people seem to need, enjoy, demand, ritual, ceremony, memorial. For others, the building of sumptuous cemeteries and expensive monuments for the casualties of war, treks to distant locations that have changed unutterably, and attendance at dawn war memorial services do nothing to reduce the numbers dying in wars today. The best – and the worst – such seemingly humanitarian efforts and personal acts can accomplish is to dull people’s sensitivity to brutality and cruelty, to reduce their horror of war.”

    Oddly. visiting Gallipoli had quite the reverse effect on me. Totally the opposite in fact.

    “On ABC-TV’s coverage of today’s ceremony at Gallipoli, a floating official voice was heard to say to the gathered masses: “To connect with this place is to feel fully Australianâ€?.
    So I’m told that despite being fifth generation Australian, I’m not “fully Australianâ€? because I don’t conform to the romanticised nationalist sentiment which surrounds Anzac Day.”

    I don’t think you were being “told” that at all, suz. Nor do you, I suspect.

  28. Well, here’s my report – a video, sound recordings from the Dawn Service, some mobile phone photos and a brief rundown on the strategic importance of Gallipoli, and its cultural significance.

    Oh, sweet, another thread where everyone gets to use a significant
    reverentially-secular event, and the popular regard for the same, as evidence to justify their own worldview…

    Pretty much.

    My worldview is that its getting easier and easier to use modern communications to spread your point of view.

    So for my report, I used:

    1) Gabcast, where you can dial a phone number from your phone, and whatever goes down the line gets posted as a sound recording directly on your blog. I used this to almost-liveblog the First Post, a hymn, and Qld Governor Quentin Bryce’s speech at the Dawn Service.

    2) Flickr’s service that lets you post a photo by email and it will send the picture and some text straight to your blog. Once again, I was able to almost-liveblog a photo of the Eternal Flame, and a picture of the sausage sizzle across the road from the Shrine of Remembrance (in Brisbane). I just sent the photos via MMS message to the correct flickr address, and the photos appeared on my blog in minutes.

    3) My new camera to make a video of the first 15-odd minutes of the march.

    4) A funky new feature in Google Maps that let me create and link to two maps, one showing the sea route from the Aegean to Odessa and why control of Istanbul is vital to that route, and another one showing where the Shrine of Remembrance is and what route the march was set to take.

    There are also 180 photos or so on the way, but they will take a day or two to get
    online.

    I’m convinced that the more we master this sort of thing, the easier it will be to spread messages that are not encouraged or approved of by the mainstream. If you do think the Anzac Day legend is too powerful and not always good, then the easier you can spread your message, the better.

  29. wpd says:

    Jack Robertson Very well expressed. Contribute some more. Take advice from suz, she has credibility. And I don’t she she shoots pigs or anything else for that matter.

  30. adrian says:

    Yes, very well said Jack (Roberstson). Ignore SL. From someone who used to teach ‘the craft’ for a living.

  31. suz says:

    “On ABC-TV’s coverage of today’s ceremony at Gallipoli, a floating official voice was heard to say to the gathered masses: “To connect with this place is to feel fully Australianâ€?.
    So I’m told that despite being fifth generation Australian, I’m not “fully Australianâ€? because I don’t conform to the romanticised nationalist sentiment which surrounds Anzac Day.â€?

    I don’t think you were being “toldâ€? that at all, suz. Nor do you, I suspect.

    Oh but I do Geoff. I think such implicit definitions of what Australianness is are ways of including and excluding, of drawing lines and of pulling people into line.

  32. Pavlov's Cat says:

    I don’t know how many people commenting at this thread have read or seen Alan Seymour’s play The One Day of the Year, which is over 40 years old, but if you have you’ll know that these conversations have already been being had for decades, by several generations of Australians and with only slight shifts of emphasis here and there.

    I can’t help thinking some of what’s being challenged on this thread is actually straw nationalism, as it were; I didn’t see an awful lot of ‘celebration’ in the joyful sense today, or even too much romanticised nationalism, much less glorification of war. These days, at least, it’s mainly about memorialisation; I think for most people it’s quite personal and to do with a sense of family connection. I didn’t see a lot of flag-waving today either, thank God, but I did see a lot of service medals and family groups. Suz, that kind of claptrap needs to be ignored — it’s mindless TV burble. The trick is to turn the sound down and just look at the faces of the people on the march and in the street.

  33. Graham Bell says:

    Everyine:

    Amazing ….. all the confusion I mean.

    ANZAC Day is commemorated rather that celebrated. It’s a time for individual reflection and family remembrance – often of loss. That an assortment of gangplank-dodgers, political scoundrels, thieving businessmen, renegade ex-servicemen, lying scribblers and other mongrels have highjacked the day for their own selfish purposes seems to have escaped notice.

    Nobody has mentioned that those who make flowery speeches about “our glorious dead” [wtf!!!] have never smelled corpses several days old. Nor that those who speak so glibly about bravery and sacrifice are the same ones who made absolutely sure they had retrospective childhood rheumatic fever, transient hearing or eyesight defects, ongoing bedwetting and temporary homosexual tendencies when they were called up for National Service. And what about the rats who surround themselves with borrowed symbols of military glory [??] and national greatness [??] on ANZAC Day and then kick the daylights out of veterans and their families every other day of the year?

    I’m glad I spent ANZAC Day in a little bush town with a simple ceremony, where The Fallen were known personally to the people taking part. Had I gone to one of the staged events in a major city, I would not have been able to resist the temptation to yell abuse at a hypocritical speechmaker or to give a snappy “eyes left” when marching past the saluting dais with “distinguished” bootlickers and crooks on it

  34. Graeme Bird says:

    This reminds me of the old civil war soldier who is at this Southern conference where all these theorists are sitting around discussing why it is they lost the civil war.

    He says “I think probably those damn yankies had something to do with it.”

    There is this frightful habit of discussing war without thinking about the enemy. Or with assuming instead that it is your own patriotic countrymen that are the enemy.

    The idea is to stay free and not get your own people killed in great numbers. And to know how to do this you don’t focus on the Guns Of August 1914. You focus five and ten years back form that. And five or ten years back from that, looking from Britains perspective there is no question she was able to prevent that war or win it without getting many of her kids killed.

    If the British were unwilling to prevent a war or win it without getting many of their folks killed then they faced two choices… And one was winning it WITH getting a whole generation killed or alternatively the British Empire basically becoming a Satrapcy of Germany.

    Doesn’t matter how well you write Jack. The fact is your sentiments are incredibly dangerous. Because they lead the sheilas and the soft-headed men to think that ANZAC day is “Don’t do it again day” rather then “Make Sure We Do What We Have To Do…….To Head Off The Next War…day”

    And the turning down of the Raptor marks the point at which this government stopped heading off the next war.

    These questions are not of an ‘academic’ nature. How we could have headed of World Wars I and II and quickly won wars like Korea, Vietnam, and the second Gulf War are matters of total life and death for people alive today.

    http://graemebird.wordpress.com/2007/02/24/an-underwriter-for-extremely-persuasive-negotiations-2/

  35. suz says:

    Suz, that kind of claptrap needs to be ignored — it’s mindless TV burble.

    I take your larger point PC (and yes, I have seen ‘The One Day of the Year’ many years ago) but
    “To connect with this place is to feel fully Australianâ€? was spoken by an Australian military type at a commemoration on the Gallipoli Peninsula – not just tv burble. (Granted, it was mindless ‘ceremony burble’.)

  36. John Greenfield says:

    Katz

    I don’t think you really understand what “myth” means.

  37. Katz says:

    JG, you’re more entitled than most to think that.

    Nevertheless, show. Don’t tell.

  38. silkworm says:

    The Big Brother housemates were given the option of commemorating Anzac Day at their own dawn service, televised last night on the daily show. I was under the impression that Anzac Day was a secular event, but last night the oration ended with an affirmation of belief in “our saviour Jesus Christ” and in the resurrection of the dead.

    I don’t know if this was a typical Anzac Day oration, but it was disturbing that in this instance Anzac Day was used to further the Christian agenda. It was also significant that Big Brother chose Rebecca, the conservative Christian in the household, to perform the oration.

    I also found it significant that Rebecca was the only one to shed a tear at the reading. Perhaps the fact that the reading contained a strong affirmation of her Christian faith made it more meaningful for her.

    I suspect that Anzac Day is cherished more by the Christian part of Australian society because our enemy at the time was the Ottoman Empire, and the war is subconsciously felt as part of the long term crusade against Islam.

  39. John Greenfield says:

    silkworm

    I would not be surprised if all the members of the Big Brother house are Zionists plants of AIPAC, would you?

  40. John Greenfield says:

    silkworm

    I suspect that Anzac Day is cherished more by the Christian part of Australian society because our enemy at the time was the Ottoman Empire, and the war is subconsciously felt as part of the long term crusade against Islam.

    Oh absolutely! Yes, I recall listening to my great uncles and grandfather raving on about the Mussies all the time. Why, I imagine that most Australians spent their childhoods listening to endless diatribes from their grandads who were waging jihads against Muslim.

    Please.

  41. Calculus says:

    I find it interesting that Anzac Day is used as our foundation myth. The notion that the senseless slaughter of thousands of young Australians was the basis of our nationhood.

    However, I think the fact that the Govt lost two referrendums trying to establish the draft (albeit by modest margins) for WW1 was ample evidence that we already had a sense of separateness from the mother country before 1914

  42. FaceLift says:

    It can’t be a foundation myth. That implies genesis, a starting point, or birth, which usually leads a certain time of innocence and lack of guile or realisation. If it is any kind of myth it must be an awakening to reality, an unexpected education, an invasion of negative truth, that life isn’t always heroic, beautiful or kind, that it requires controversial decisions and demands responsibility, and that sometimes we have to do things we’re uncomfortable with so that we can protect, yet never really recover, the concept of the innocence we began with.

    We still need to salute the ones who tried.

  43. Toryhere says:

    I have to laugh at the irony of the usual small-minded little onanists who give us all the anti-war cliches, but who in all likelihood had or even have a soft spot for the REAL killers of the 20th century, Mao and Stalin.

    of course most of the millions they killed were not killed in war, so that’s all right then.

  44. Paul Norton says:

    So Toryhere, how would you have cooked the thirteen dwarves you and your two friends captured?

  45. Mick Strummer says:

    That speech by Mustafa Kemal is enough to reduce me to tears every time I read it. And yes, I know what a stupid failure Gallipoli was. And I wish we – Australians – had enough sense to cut and run from Iraq the way we withdrew from the Dardenelles…
    Cheers…

  46. Mick Strummer says:

    PS. To Calculus. The plural of referendum is referenda… The singular of media is medium…
    Anyway…
    Cheers…

  47. Nabakov says:

    Apropos of SL’s comment, tis interesting to note that if you ask most Australians to name a couple of our war heroes, the answer will generally be Simpson (and his donkey) and Weary Dunlop – both lifesavers not lifetakers.

    Despite the efforts of small-minded little onanists like Toryhere, pretty much most Australians still see war as a last resort and terrible sacrifice where any selfless, courageous and dryly humorous glimpses of humanity should be justly celebrated.

    I personally see our two major war memorial days as:
    – Armistice Day – never again, what a sorry bloody stupid futile waste war so often is; and
    – ANZAC Day – but if we ever have to again, let’s remember the example of our ancestors at their best during the worst.

  48. patrickm says:

    The statement;

    “To connect with this place is to feel fully Australianâ€?

    , is in my view unremarkable and inoffensive. Something else may make you personally feel fully Australian, but if nothing at all makes you feel Australian then it’s fair to say that you’re by self definition not fully Australian.

    I have even heard migrants explaining the experience of when it was and sometimes over what issue they came to feel Australian. Whatever it was seems to me to be their business; but the question of an intangible yet none the less real national character can not be dispensed with, even by the most determined internationalists; and I happily include myself in that last political category.

    IMV if you had never heard of ANZAC day you could not be said to be able to feel fully Australian. If you had never heard of Australian Rules football or Rugby League how would it be possible to have been intimately involved with the people that make up the distinct Australian nation. No intimate involvement no national bond.

    Our diverse Australian nation has come into being as something distinct but not unchanging; the Australian national character is something apart from our Aboriginal; English; Vietnamese; German; character and so on – some of these people have also immigrated (even in minute numbers) to the USA and produced a different national identity. Recognizing that there is a national identity is the starting point to thinking about the initial statement and the issue of ANZAC day more broadly.

    I think it’s important for internationalists to give the National Question due consideration otherwise wherever we went we would be trying to fit everyone into the same size shoes.

    If England, America and Ireland, which speak one language, nevertheless constitute three distinct nations, it is in no small measure due to the peculiar psychological make-up which they developed from generation to generation as a result of dissimilar conditions of existence.

    Of course, by itself, psychological make-up or, as it is otherwise called, “national character,” is something intangible for the observer, but in so far as it manifests itself in a distinctive culture common to the nation it is something tangible and cannot be ignored.

    Needless to say, “national character” is not a thing that is fixed once and for all, but is modified by changes in the conditions of life; but since it exists at every given moment, it leaves its impress on the physiognomy of the nation.
    Thus, a common psychological make-up, which manifests itself in a common culture, is one of the characteristic features of a nation.

    We have now exhausted the characteristic features of a nation.
    A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.

    It goes without saying that a nation, like every historical phenomenon, is subject to the law of change, has its history, its beginning and end.’

    ANZAC day exists as an event unique to Australia and New Zealand our sister country and intimately connected neighbour.

    ANZAC day connects us with a tragic event and necessarily the place that it occurred. As an incident it connects the nation while not affecting many that may live in or pass through the country of Australia. The incident helped create the national consciousness that arises from the shared history of peoples.

    Leftists ought not have mixed feelings over ANZAC day it’s up to any leftists to put forward (in the political spirit of democratic competition) their interpretation as the lessons and experience gets passed and modified generation after generation.

    As with analysis founded on the right we leftists take from it what we want to take and not what right-wingers or the pseudo-lefts would want us to take. My country right or wrong type crap swallowed by many a ‘good’ German and or Australian is as boring today as its equally wrong mirror slogan ‘my ruling class is always wrong’. At present it is the phony pacifism of the pseudo-left that is the greater danger to even presenting a left analysis of such a nationally important occasion.

    Karl Marx once said that the workers of the world were behind the stars and stripes and he was right. The titanic battle against the armed masters of the south as they fought to retain the right to buy and sell other human beings was really a no-brainer for communists.

    On a day like ANZAC day, like the U.S. descendants of the civil war, we humans all have our wars and glorious dead to commemorate – and to perhaps grieve together that we still live in an era of war – and that is a point of unity that many of us who believe in progress both left and right can share on ANZAC day.

    We can ponder how to change the world in the direction that those who often fought for the red flag and or the star spangled banner objectively did.

    When the Saudi regime was ordered to end slavery in the 1960’s the world had changed profoundly from when Fisal attended the WW1 peace conference with his slave in attendance, and this was tolerated by the disgusting ruling class that had just waged mass slaughter – needlessly sending the pride of a generation to an early grave.

    These liberal and conservative representatives of the ownership class were about to go ballistic over the dreaded Bolshevik menace. Communists would not have tolerated such a thing but it is now Communists and their leaders who are vilified as mass-murderers at every opportunity because we are prepared to fight this scurge.

    One is reminded of the film Spartacus who was depicted as a rebel of thousands-of-years-ago who would not tolerate slaves being brought along to his tent, but simply freed them on the spot. How backward are our liberals and conservatives that descend these miserable few years from their predecessors despicable behaviour of the 1960’s, let alone 1919.

    How praiseworthy are the efforts of the open conservatives that have abandoned their rotten policies of propping up reaction in the Middle East and have sent troops to assist these people overthrow tyranny.

  49. Spartacus says:

    I am Spartacus!

  50. Nabakov says:

    Back OT.

    One of the best statues I have seen is Peter Corlett’s ‘Weary Dunlop” on St Kilda Road. Corlett’s a bit hit and miss if you ask me but he definitely rose to the subject matter here.

    “Dunlop” is a slightly larger than life representation of a former boisterious country lad and rugger bugger turned cheerful army doctor turned genuine hero under utterly appalling circumstances, but rendered to present him in the final years of his life as a very tall and slightly stooped patrician buddhist.

    The statue is the colour of its native metal except for a bright red poppy in Weary’s buttonhole.

    But really makes this tribute come alive is two things.

    Firstly, his head looking down with a small and rather embarrassed smile at anyone walking up the stairs towards him.

    And secondly, one hand is held out so you can hold it. And in less than 15 years, that sturdily cast bronze hand has been worn glass smooth by human touch.

  51. casey says:

    Jack Robertson

    I think you write profoundly and beautifully. I’ve read a lot of words on this site, but I’ve read none so astounding as yours. Its kind of savage, the way you write. It cuts through mediocrity so cleanly, you almost need to take a step back from the screen, to give it the space it deserves. Your ability to imagine the moment at the unknown soldier’s grave was masterful. As a reader, its wonderful when you come across the real thing. You read and read, your eyes blur and you know what you are reading is ‘worthy’ but it just irritates you. Then once in a while, from the desert, a prophet comes…. Thanks.

  52. Laura says:

    Nabs, you might like to read an old post of mine about the Weary Dunlop statue:
    http://allordinary2.blogspot.com/2005/10/statuary-friday-16.html

    I completely agree that it’s one of the finest and most humbling memorial statues in Melbourne.

  53. Jack Robertson says:

    Sorry for the delay in replying, computer time is a bit haphazard for me. Thanks to cressida, Bridie, suz, wpd, adrian and casey for your generous posts. Deserved or not, any writer who loves writing as much as I do but lacks confidence about his own needs to hear that sort of unironic encouragement occasionally. I really appreciate you taking the time. Helen Dale, I’ll reply to you over on today’s Saturday Salon to keep this thread OT.

  54. Graham Bell says:

    Calculus:

    that the Govt lost two referrendums trying to establish the draft (albeit by modest margins) for WW1 was ample evidence that we already had a sense of separateness from the mother country before 1914

    Yes. Perhaps that separateness was strong as early as the eighteen-nineties. When I was a kid in the ‘forties and early ‘fifties, there were still old people around who thought Federation was a p*ss-poor substitute for real Independence and that instead of having a mere branch-office of the Royal Navy we could have had our own armaments and shipbuilding industries with fast, modern passenger and cargo ships ….. and a modern Navy that would defend and advance Australian rather than English [sic] interests.

    Graeme Bird:
    You’ve made good points there. Casualties in war too often reflect the lack of preparedness and decisiveness. [Sadly, Australia is a temporary example of this] Being ever ready to fight a war and to fight it with all your might is a very, very good way of ensuring that you don’t have to do any such thing. For example: the aggressive “neutrality” of the Swedish Air Force during World War II made sure that Swedish families were safe in their beds while families in most of Europe each night died horribly or lived in dread …….

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