Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter


The World

Apr 24, 2012

Anzac Day and why we need to question 'myths' of war

So once again we slog up the hill, shouldering the usual baggage for the Anzac wars.


“Good morning, good morning,” the editor said
When we met him last week to work out the line
Now the bits he commissioned read as half-dead
And we’re cursing his pages for wasting our time
“He’s passionately interested in national identity,” said Harry to Fred
As they called to the bar for another cheap red.
But he did for them both with his Anzac op-ed

— with apologies to Siegfried Sassoon

So once again we slog up the hill, shouldering the usual baggage for the Anzac wars. The papers opened the batting yesterday, with a tub-thumping peace by Jim Marett, president of the Vietnam Tunnel Rats Association, in the Hun, and the premiere of Beaconsfield on the Nine Network, a piece of drama so bad it managed to make a mining disaster and rescue boring.

The coincidental timing of the 2006 Beaconsfield disaster — it occurred on Anzac Day, the cave-in at the Tasmanian gold mine occurring due to the effects of mining activity on seismic shifting in the area — gave the network and the culture a chance to conflate the mateship of being two miners trapped in a hole for 15 days with the Anzac mateship myth.

Yesterday the debate had gone meta, with Tim Soutphommasane in The Age, digging out a few lines from a 2010 Veterans Affairs report that worried over the impact of the hundredth anniversary of Gallipoli on multicultural relations, and comes up with a formula for commemorating Anzac Day which appears to achieve harmony by removing all content from the day whatsoever — no war, no Australian ethnos, nothing except the day as a “touchstone of mateship”.

Soutphommasane’s take is designed as one that can fit Anzac into his ideal of a progressive patriotism — he has toned down his language somewhat from the book of the same name, where he suggested that the day should be seen as “an ecstatic myth” of mateship, to be put beyond question by crtical minds — but Labor’s use of the day is probably closer to Marett’s “tunnel rat” take, where Anzac starts out as a commemoration of the devotion of soldiers to each other, and ends as some addled notion that each war we have been involved in was some sort of fight for freedom.

Labor needs to hew to this decidedly unprogressive nationalist line in this day and age for one reason alone — Afghanistan, and the desperate need to confer meaning on a meaningless conflict, being run by a government of old student lefties, who would not have ventured near military service in a million years. Thirty Australian troops have been killed in Afghanistan, another 50 or so seriously wounded, there will be another 50 to 100 or so seriously f-cked up by the experience.

These are wasted lives, pointless deaths of young men who could have filled the next 70 years of existence with spouses, children, careers, and 20,000 sunrises. Perhaps it is a terrible thing for the relatives of the dead to hear that — but it is worse still to continue a war simply to double-down on your losses, and give those deaths some retroactive meaning. The only thing more wicked than such a policy is the one Labor is now pursuing — staying committed to a fake war to limit the Right’s ability to criticise it on foreign affairs grounds (lest it look unpatriotic). The front they are defending runs through the swing seats, not the AfPak border.

But when was it ever otherwise? We were pitched into the First World War, not merely out of unquestioning imperial duty, nor out of racial fealty, but also as a confected nation-building exercise. Billy Hughes, the little grave-digger, was quite clear on this — a nation, federated from six states, and existing as a dominion (at the time Australia had no independent diplomatic missions, and most national activity still occurred under the Union Jack) would never find an identity until blood had been spilt, in its own name, and in copious amounts.

Gallipoli served perfectly — and in a weird way it continues to serve for the empty zen patriotism of a Soutphommasane as much as for the “meaningful sacrifice” school of Jim Marett. The Ottoman Empire was pitched into the war by a cabal of German financiers, young Turkish nationalists, Marxist and Zionist agitators. All except the Turks did so on the belief that the conflict would destroy the empire, allowing for either revolution (the Marxists) or a Middle East carve-up by Western powers. Even in the framework of the First World War it was pointless — the US when it joined the war in 1917 never declared war on the Ottoman Empire, seeing no need to. Our whole encounter was a double fatuity.

From that absurdity, the myth of Anzac has salvaged two things — the myth of mateship, and more recently, a symmetrical notion of nation-building, given that Kemal Ataturk was the Turkish commander at Gallipoli, and used the disaster as a lever to throw off the Ottoman leaders once and for all. But neither bear too much examination. Mateship appears to have been forged as much in an Australian disdain for British objection to our troops’ propensity to commit war crimes against Arab populations. Much of what we construct as “stuffy” British reaction to our rough-and-ready boys was really General Allenby’s disgust at an army that looked on the mass killing of Arabs with such insouciance — a habit that was unquestionably a transfer of white attitudes to Aborigines, to a new indigenous population.

Nor does the Turkish-Australian bond come out squeaky clean either. Its hard not to be moved by Ataturk’s entreaty to the “mothers of Australia”, that ‘Johnny and Mohammed’ lie together on a Turkish beach, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that Ataturk’s nationalists went on to massacre and cleanse their own minority populations — Armenians in the East, Greeks in the West, in an attempt to create a Turkish ethnos that mirrors white Australia.

Now, in a country that has raised the postmodern problem of meaningless, decultured, post-religious existence to a world-standard level, we are disinterring Anzac — the politicians to shield themselves in the shrouds of young men, more naive, and possibly more simply decent, than professional politicians that have been playing the angles since they joined the ALP club in O-week, and a public desperate for some meaning — hence its lacing into Beaconsfield, an inept piece of drama, unwilling to explore the most interesting thing about the event, the bizarre media-political circus that erupted round the rescue, the deep-cut of elite cynicism that the disaster exposed.

The whole meaning drought has created the most distinctive recent phenomenon — people wearing the medals of long-dead relatives, men who, in many cases, they never knew, and whose views of those medals they have no sure knowledge of. The mere fact that the medals were kept indicates no certain view of them — naive patriotism and adventurism turned to revulsion and anti-war sentiment after the conflict, as people began to understand what they had been let in for.

Today, we should retain the same circumspection. It is a day for a dwindling number of soldiers to remember fallen comrades. To deny anyone that right would be less than human. To pile on it for other reasons — and to underwrite the wars of the future with the pointless ones of the past — is a travesty of what remains genuine at the heart of the day. Don’t march with someone else’s medals. They’re not yours, you didn’t earn them, and you might not feel so good about them if you had. Unpopular as it may be, we need to keep questioning the “ecstatic myths” of war in the hope that by doing so we may actually save some — Australian, Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian — lives to come, not those that have been.


We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola


Leave a comment

40 thoughts on “Anzac Day and why we need to question ‘myths’ of war

  1. anpl

    It is “Johnnys and Mehmets”, not “Johnnys and Mohammads”.

  2. Holden Back

    and I’d bet it was “a tub-thumping piece”, Jim Marett wrote, not peace.

  3. paddy

    That last para says it better than most.

  4. Boerwar

    I hadn’t heard about the massacres of Arabs by Australian troops and would appreciate a link.

    There may have been a link to massacres of Indigenous people in Australia so I would assume that they were carried out by the small majority of ANZACs who were actually bushies and who would have known about that sort of thing.

    Most of the Australian contribution to ANZAC were city kids.

    I believe the the last Indigenous massacre (Conistan, in 1927) did have a Gallipoli veteran at the heart of it, but am uncertain about that.

  5. Son of foro

    Interesting song I heard recently on Melbourne radio about Anzac Day: http://andrecamilleri.bandcamp.com/track/anzac-day-again

  6. shepherdmarilyn

    Boar, Paul Maley wrote a book about it. Track it down because the massacre was horrendous.

    Even worse though when Maley wrote the book he wrote only about the effect on jews, didn’t interview a single arab descendent of those
    Bedouin’s Äustralian solkiers massacred in 1919.

    After the war ended.

    He also describes in pitiless detail how Australia slaughtered people to get from a – b and the great horse ride itself was a massacre.

    It’s always been a hoax that these soldiers were defending Australia, they were defending Britain.

  7. David Allen

    Counterpoint, on Radio National, recently did a three part series on ‘ANZAC Myths’. You’ll be able to listen to it on line – it started about 4 weeks ago.

  8. Harry Rogers

    I see the point you are trying to make which is made every ANZAC day and I dont disagree however:

    “British reaction to our rough-and-ready boys was really General Allenby’s disgust at an army that looked on the mass killing of Arabs with such insouciance — a habit that was unquestionably a transfer of white attitudes to Aborigines, to a new indigenous population.”

    Wow thats amazing sentiment. I guess you are talking about “the Surafend affair” of a guessed 40 people killed?

    As I understood it this was never clarified as committed by Australians.

    No matter just remember this is a theatre of war and don’t force the illusion that only Australians should feel guilty about murder and mayhem during a long conflict. Its the nature of war.

    Let he who is without sin…..

  9. elpez


  10. elpez

    no war, no Australian ethnos
    to be put beyond question by crtical minds

  11. michaelwholohan1

    that is an inspired last paragraph, clear sharp as a scalpel….bravo

  12. calyptorhynchus

    “Now, in a country that has raised the postmodern problem of meaningless, decultured, post-religious existence to a world-standard level…”

    Never understood this, wherever I look I see and feel a complex web of meanings and have always assumed that everyone else shared this….

    Sad really, probably explains TV and alcohol, and other things.

  13. Philip Hunt

    Our society’s lack of ontological depth results in an invented pagan religion to fill the gap. It’s not a bad argument for the idea that the human species’ need for meaning is built-in for a reason.

  14. Down and Out of Sài Gòn


    It certainly doesn’t sound like “a transfer of white attitudes to Aborigines, to a new indigenous population”. Most of the perpetrators were New Zealander (and with a different attitude to their indigenous population, the Māori).

  15. jam

    I’m interested in the number of my veteran friends and colleagues who want nothing to do with the ‘celebrations’ – I reckon they outnumber those who do party

  16. Cletus Purcell

    As an ex-professional combat soldier & Senior Infantry NCO I thank Mr Rundle for this piece. I too have problems with the ongoing “misuse” of Anzac Day & the very many myths it reinforces. His comments about how it is used as a de-facto or “disguised metaphor” for the ongoing scandal of our pointless losses in Afghanistan is bang-on. Most people’s connection to & understanding of military affairs & historical truth these days is tenuous at best & hopeless at worst. Are there any politicians left now that have hefted a pack & rifle after Graham Edwards of WA retired – “real” soldiers from combat arms Corps – not remfs or other clerks & jerks? In point of fact, the Kokoda Campaign is a far better example of a truly “Australian” iconic battle – it HAD to succeed or Japan would have got to the Australian mainland. Mr Rundle targets the ALP here but seems to suffer “selective amnesia”. John Howard got us donkey-deep into Iraq & Afghanistan, reveling in his Khaki PM poncing & posing, to the point where he usurped the traditional role of the GG & would attend the opening of a military envelope! There are simply too many false beliefs swirling around Gallipoli that people accept as facts. Even the term “Digger” was first applied to Pakeha & Maori NZ Engineers competing in constructing a road under constant shell-fire by impressed Tommy soldiers & civilians in Northern France/Belgian Flanders. It has since been”appropriated” by Australia – as with so many Kiwi people & cultural icons. ( Prof. Fred Hollows, anyone?) Most claim “Digger” as an exclusively Australian term. It is not. Despite the confected outrage over a NZ journalist’s remarks recently – it is fact that Kiwi troops were far superior & better trained & prepared there – even Australian authors such as Les Carlyon in his definitive work acknowledged this. Australians misbehaved spectacularly in Egypt with the fabled Light Horse being among the very worst offenders. Australian Generals too sent young Oz blokes over the top into solid sheets of MG fire, not just Pom ones. Simpson was actually a “Geordie” from Newcastle-on-Tyne who jumped-ship & signed-on here. Does that make him Australian? Peter Weir’s otherwise terrific 1991 film, failed to mention NZ in any way, shape or form, rendering its contribution & sacrifice (the worst Commonwealth casualties in both WW1 & WW2 as a percentage of population) invisible to an entire generation of young Australians. One wonders if Weir knew what ANZAC meant? Rundle misconstrues one thing here – provided relative’s or unearned medals are worn on the RIGHT side, personally, I don’t see any problem. I wear mine on the Left while our eldest Grandson wears his Grandfather’s on the Right, as a mark of respect & remembrance, nothing more. Anzac Day is not some “Gala” or excuse for a day-off is it? I truly understand it for what it really is & should be – a time to remember the REAL cost of War – those that didn’t come back – or returned maimed, blinded & mentally-damaged. Robbed of life & the devastated families & entire communities. There is no “glory” in combat – it is ugly, fast, horrible, random, arbitrary & cruel. Lest we forget …

  17. Mike Flanagan

    When I was a young man I carried my pack
    And I lived the free life of a rover
    From the Murray green basin to the dusty outback
    I waltzed my Matilda all over
    Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
    It’s time to stop rambling ‘cause there’s work to be done

    So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
    And they sent me away to a war
    And the band played Waltzing Matilda
    And we sailed away from the quay
    And amid all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
    We sailed off to Gallipoli.

    How well I remember that terrible day
    How the blood stained the sand and the water
    And how in that hell they called Suvla Bay
    We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
    Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
    He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
    And in five minutes flat he’d blown us to hell
    Nearly blew us right back to Australia
    But the band played Waltzing Matilda
    As we stopped to bury our slain
    We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
    Then we started all over again

    Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
    In a mad world of death and fire
    And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
    But around me the corpse piled higher
    Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
    And when I woke up in my hospital bed
    And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
    Never knew there were worst things than dying
    For no more I’ll go waltzing Matilda
    All round the green bush far and near
    For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
    No more waltzing Matilda for me

    So they collected the cripples, the wounded and maimed
    And they shipped us back home to Australia
    The armless, the legless, the blind and insane
    Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
    And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
    I looked at the place my legs used to be
    And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
    To grieve and mourn and to pity
    And the band played Waltzing Matilda
    As they carried us down the gangway
    But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
    Then turned all their faces away

    And now every April I sit on my porch
    And I watch the parade pass before me
    And watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
    Reliving old dreams of past glory
    And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
    The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
    And the young people ask “What are they marching for?”
    And I ask myself the same question
    And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
    And the old men answer the call
    But year after year their numbers get fewer
    Some day no one will march there at all

    With much appreciation and all credits to Eric Bogle

  18. Kevin Herbert

    Tell it like it is Guy…nice work..particularly that last par.

  19. Dogs breakfast

    “To pile on it for other reasons — and to underwrite the wars of the future with the pointless ones of the past — is a travesty of what remains genuine at the heart of the day.”

    To point out that the government uses Anzac Day for less than genuine reasons misses a very large part of it all Guy.

    Have you watched any of the commercial news channels lately.

    Quite frankly, I get a slightly sick feeling in my guts every time they cross to Anzac Cove or wherever else to fill in some not very newsworthy point that the young and the restless are going to be there in great numbers, having a freaking party where a great horror occurred 100 years ago.

    It’s not a memorial, it’s a party, a reality TV show.

    But don’t get me wrong, I’m not bludgeoning Australia here, I don’t know any country that would do this well, and there is no country with such a short history and such a story, so let’s not compare.

    Let’s just say that it seems inglorious, at best.


    In my mid-teens my aged grandmother remarried a Gallipoli veteran, and I can never erase the image of some crumpled old photographs he rummaged through a battered suitcase to find, verifying his story of how they hanged some captured Turks. It was my ‘coming of age’, to be told the truth, that war is barbarous, and the old man was clearly unburdening himself of it one more time.

    It was an initiation into an adult world that shocked me, and to this day makes the jingoism and jangling medal marching seem so utterly wrong.

  21. Microseris

    Continuing in Afghanistan is akin to a gambler on a losing streak going back to the ATM so he can continue. We all know its a hopeless waste of life/resources/effort but Laborial are united as they are on many things no matter how inane.

    Whilst I respect the original diggers for their sacrifice, Anzac day has forever been poisoned for me by Howard’s tawdry jingoism.

  22. Scott

    See, I find the wearing of medals by relatives of the dead veterans to be a living memorial to those that fought in the wars and a way of ensuring that younger Australians don’t think war is something that happens only on a xbox. But each to their own I guess.

  23. AR

    MikeF – you beat me to Eric Bogle’s song so I’ll just add Wilfred Owen’s crib of Horace, “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.“.

  24. nasking

    Useful post…had to be said.


  25. willis william

    I have been taking groups of Australians to Anzac Day in Gallipoli and I am also a Vietnam veteran.
    The overwhelming majority of people who go there are to respect the fallen and the wounded. The people who go there are from all ethnic groups within Australia and see their journey to Gallipoli as a way to define what it is to be an Australian. The people who visit there recognise the universal aspect of what it means to sacrifice your self for your country or an ideal and recognise the futility and pain of war. They recognise that heroism, sacrifice are part of war just as they recognise that it is also mainly a dirty, soul destroying experience to inflict on people of any race.

    The jingoism and pseudo nationalism comes not from the “ordinary” traveller to Gallipoli. They recognise that they themselves could just have easily been one of the veterans or one of the family of the veterans.
    Over the years that I have been going to Gallipoli I see the change as the government of the day, Liberal or Labor, has appropriated it as an “event”. They now engage event managers to organise the the ceremony. The debacle of a few years agao that was widely criticised in Australia as a drunken group of youths desecrating the sacred grounds was only a few young drunks who were quickly dealt with. The real desecreation was the event manager turning it into a pseudo pop concert.

    Over the years I have seen the dimunition of the service as being a place to remember the Anzacs and in its place it has become an “event” that politicians can display their phony concern for veterans of any campaign and “tick the Anzac Day at Gallipoli box” on their illustrious political resumes. Then they return to their jobs back in Australia and once again send young men and women off to fight wars that are only in the interest of the politicans, not the country.

    Just to illustrate this point it wasn’t too many years ago that Anzac veterans and veterans of any other armed forces were invited to sit in designated seating at Lone Pine for the service there. Once seated the cermony MC would invite the crowd to stand and applaud the veterans. Now the designated seating is not used by the veterans but by a host of beaucratic flunkies and the seats are rarely filled. And where are the veterans? They are back in the crowded seats and they recieve a quick acknowldegement as to their service. Once again the veterans are relegated to the background and there is no interest in at least on one occasion to give them the public recognition that they are entitled.

    The service then drones on about their sacrifice and the example of mateship that the Anzacs gave to Australia’s identity but the politicans continue to treat the veterans in the same disdainful and patronising way thaat they always have.

    So when people criticise veterans for war crimes or atrocities that they may or may not have committed please remember that these “crimes” are small in comparison to the crime that the politicans commit all the time when they commit the lives of young men and women to fight and die not for their country but for the needs of a shallow, vain and deceitful politician who will never have to face what the service men and women will face

  26. lilac

    Good piece Guy powerful last paragraph .

  27. michael

    As an outsider, it seems that Australia has turned Anzac Day into just another event, something that falls around the same time as Mardi Gras and the Easter Show. Maybe it’s the parade element that makes it too much of a performance. And if you focus too much on the ANZACs, myths or otherwise, it’s easy to overlook the many other Australians involved in former wars – the RAAF, nurses, etc. It might be said that the Australian coastwatchers around the Solomons did as much for keeping Australia free from Japanese conquest as the diggers on the Kokoda track. War is a bloody awful business. It’s unfair, arbitrary, impersonal and abrupt in snuffing out the lives of so many people often before they have had a chance to do any living. ANZAC Day should be a time for a reflection on the truth of war, not a celebration of mateship or a soundbite and photo op for politicians.

  28. shepherdmarilyn

    Well that’s nice but they do volunteer to go and kill.

  29. David Allen

    Powerful and insightful posts from Cletus Purcell and willis william. Thank you.

  30. Kevin Herbert


    Thanks for the moving personal insight into the myths surrounding Anzac Day. I’m sending it on to a friend who serves in the Army Reserve & who’s forever talking up Anzac Day as a manifestation of an Aussie national ‘ethos’. Your final sentencfe is particularly telling.

    One thing…..how do we know that the Japanese intended to invade Australia? Can you point me the source for this claim. Recently I read that Japanese military records show that New Guinea was a failed attempt at a decoy action to tie up Allied forces away from the main battle front.

  31. Mike Flanagan

    They don’t volunteer ‘to go and kill’. They volunteer to serve their country and all of us collectively. They volunteer to put their own young lives and bodies at risk at the behest of our political and corporate masters’ perceptions. The same political masters we vote into office.
    The day is not a celebration of war, or its’s hideous and murderous consequences, but a day of reflection and a time to honour those that have fallen and those that have returned broken in body, mind and spirit.
    It is also a time to reflect and say thankyou to those that continue to serve and and put themselves at risk at our political leaders insistance.

  32. Prestia Gaetano

    I keep hearing about how we should be use ANZAC Day as an insight to the “truth of war”, or, for the left of our society, a day to showcase how awful war truly is.

    Only thing is, we don’t need to reflect on that, because everyone already knows that.

    If only Mr Rundle realised that ANZAC Day is actually a day to acknowledge those that have sacrificed BECAUSE of that awful sense of war, as opposed to merely sitting back and discussing WHY it is awful.

    I hope that one year the academics (or wannabe academics) of this nation can just sit down and shutup for one second and let us remember those that have ultimately sacrificed to even give people like Mr Rundle an opportunity to rabble on and on like he has in this piece (and let’s not forget his diluting of Colvin’s work in Syria, to which he degraded by suggesting she was nothing more than a war monger).

    Oh, and Guy, next time you do write a piece like this, don’t hold back. It’s quite clear how diplomatic you’re being in this piece, you coward. Tell us what you really think: ANZAC Day glorifies war, and it should be scrapped off the national calander.

  33. Nick

    “Don’t march with someone else’s medals. They’re not yours, you didn’t earn them, and you might not feel so good about them if you had.”

    That’s an individual choice, Guy. Not something you can just throw a rhetorical blanket over. Maybe someone’s grandson marches because he knows it makes his mother happy because it reminds her of her dead father.

  34. Frank Campbell

    ANZAC day- time for Rundle’s annual flogging of Simpson’s donkey…

    Now ANZAC day has morphed yet again, but the big sententious, corporate, political ANZAC “event” has nothing in common with the innumerable chilly gatherings around the marble soldier in small towns across the country- a scene which has hardly changed in a century.

    Phillip Coorey in The Age describes the caravan of carbon yetis thus:

    “It was an incongruous scene. There were big screens, grandstands, light shows and music. On the screens, video documentaries of Australian and Kiwi veterans recounted the horror of that day, talking about their mates being cut to ribbons.

    How the soil upon which the backpackers slept – packed together in neat in rows, like bush grubs in their sleeping bags – had been covered in blood and flies.

    Outside, locals ran merchandise and food stalls. The weather was unusually mild, so blanket sales were down.

    The tour buses lined the road for kilometres. Yet organisers said numbers were down a bit this year. Probably because people are saving up for the centenary in 2015 .

    There were backpacker tour groups aplenty – Contiki, Top Deck and so forth. All could be easily identified by their matching sloppy joes, specially printed for the occasion.

    Also here, in bright yellow tops, were the fanatics, the same group of diehards usually seen at sporting events egging on the likes of Lleyton Hewitt.

    The Kiwis, ever keen to differentiate themselves, had their silver fern and Steinlager logos prominent. The two nations’ flags are too similar for quick differentiation.

    Even the government was in on the act, handing out showbags, the contents of which included Gallipoli beanies, pins and information booklets.”

  35. zut alors

    Excellent final paragraph.

  36. Peter Illingworth

    Guy, Excellent and provocative article as usual.

    However, like others above, I query the section

    “Mateship appears to have been forged as much in an Australian disdain for British objection to our troops’ propensity to commit war crimes against Arab populations. Much of what we construct as “stuffy” British reaction to our rough-and-ready boys was really General Allenby’s disgust at an army that looked on the mass killing of Arabs with such insouciance — a habit that was unquestionably a transfer of white attitudes to Aborigines, to a new indigenous population.”

    What is your source for this section???

  37. pertina1

    Excellent piece Guy….final para spot on. Thanks

  38. NeoTheFatCat

    What I dislike most about the glorification of ANZAC and all things military is that it has become the new religion in Australia. To criticise the military, past or present, is more blasphemy than any oath. And ex-servicemen are elevated to the point of demi-God.

    How often do we see comments suggesting that people who haven’t experienced real combat have no right to even comment on this topic, a topic that so defines what it means to be Australian? As though we must sit at the feet of the great military gurus and listen to their wisdom.

    Joining the armed forces gives no-one a special insight into our culture, our country or our ethos. I have friends in the fire and rescue, ambulance and police services who display far more bravery in a working week than some people who spend their entire careers behind a desk at Russell.

  39. Venise Alstergren

    All the waffle about Anzac Day is an extension of our cultural cringe. First to England, now to America. “You’ve always been our superior, but at least we can throw away the lives of a few of our young soldiers without discernible angst: so there!”

    What possible moral example for our children is the sight of unknown old men shuffling along and wearing tin medals? In fact what possible orgasmic function for adults is the sight of shuffling strangers, etc…..? And why do we have to listen to our politicians spouting crocodile tears at an event which they use to garner votes?

    Thanks to the unlamented John Howard the damned day is acquiring the status of ‘our national day’. Why? Surely if we ever get a true National day-I’m ignoring the day of sun and surf which is called Australia Day-we might arrive at a day which is inclusive of the female sex. God Australians revel in unquestioning mediocrity.

Leave a comment


https://www.crikey.com.au/2012/04/24/rundle-anzac-day-and-why-we-need-to-question-myths-of-war/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

Show popup

Telling you what the others don't. FREE for 21 days.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.