Noel Turnbull, author of Crikey’s Miscellany column, writes:

When Miscellany visited Gallipoli a few years ago he finally got to realize just how significant a site it is. Partly influenced by reading, during the visit to Turkey, the Andrew Mango biography of Kemal Ataturk, Gallipoli came into its real historical perspective and significance – as the birthplace of a modern secular Turkey and the end of the Ottoman empire.

Now once again Australians are behaving – because of some roadworks – as if Gallipoli is really only a site of Australian significance and that Turkey and that the Turks ought to realize it and act accordingly.

One cannot but be moved by the tragedy of all the troops from all sides at Gallipoli. Unlike the leaking of details of a Commonwealth Games parade this is really a tragic thing – particularly for (in order of numbers dead in the campaign) the Turks, the British, the French, the Australians and the New Zealanders. Of course, if we judge things on a per capita basis, the last positions would be reversed.

And is it more sacred to Australians than to all the other races, tribes and nations who fought and died over centuries on both sides of the straits?

Let’s honour those who died – but in the sort of words often used by people in that imperialist nation who got us into the Gallipoli s…t to begin with, let’s not get above ourselves chaps.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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