Sunday, April 24, 2005

Those poor bastards.

Tomorrow is Anzac Day downunder. This is the national Rememberance Day and is held on the day when Australians as a newly federated nation collectively went to the middle east to fight some else's war. This occurred at Gallipoli, Turkey April 25th 1915...... they lost and lost badly to the Turks under the direction of a young Winston Churchill amongst others. Not much has changed in ninety years as we "support" the USA in it's objectives in Iraq.

I'm going to go to dawn service at 6am to remember all those poor bastards killed under the hypnotic causes of fascism, nationalism, fundamentalism, rationalism, imperialism and every other form of -ism that some leaders decide to push on their mob, which has resulted in that mob deciding it would be a good idea to kill another mob and take some land and/or commodities depending on what -ism they are standing for.

My grandfather's brother will be rembered as one such victim in the Pacific as a teenage sailor, another great uncle survived the concentration camps in Hungary will be remembered after he drank himself to death wracked with guilt after surviving.

Two Assyrian sisters who worked in a Hotel in Bagdhad to pay for their father's heart surgery will be remembered too. They were shot and their corpses set on fire for "consorting with the enemy" in Iraq. There's no story in the media but I know it happened.

That kid's family will be remembered. That wedding will be remembered. That ethnic cleansing will be remebered. That camp will be remembered. That prison will be remembered. I'll remember this guy. who Yahoo seem to have forgotten.

I will remember.

Just 16 years after the end of WW2 Aussie playwright, Alan Seymour wrote "The One Day of the Year" which looks at Anzac Day from the perspective from a veteran and his son. It was w-a-y out of the box and controversial in 1960 and yet still pertinent today. Here's the son's (Hughie) monologue. Wacka is Hughie's father from memory who went to Gallipoli.


Do you know what you're celebrating today ? Do you? Do you even know what it all meant? Have you ever bothered to dig a bit, find out what really happened back there, what this day meant?

Oh, Wacka what would he know about it?

What does the man who was there ever know about anything? All he knows is what he saw, one man's view from a trench. It's the people who come after, who can study it all, see the whole thing for what it was.

Wacka was an ordinary soldier who did what he was told. He and his mates became a legend, all right, they've had to live up to it. Every year on the great day they've had to do the right thing, make the right speeches, talk of the dead they left there. But did any of them ever sit down and look back at that damn stupid climb up those rocks to see what it meant ?

How do I know ? Didn't you shove it down my throat ? It's here. Encyclopaedia for Australian Kids. You gave it to me yourself. Used to make me read the Anzac chapter every year. Well, I read it. Enough times to start seeing through it. Do you know what that Gallipoli campaign meant? Bugger all.

A face-saving device. An expensive shambles. It was the biggest fiasco of the war. The British were in desperate straits. Russia was demanding that the Dardanelles be forced by the British Navy and Constantinople taken. The Navy could not do it alone and wanted Army support. Kitchener said the British Army had no men available. So what did they do? The Admiralty insisted it be done no matter what the risk. Brittain's Russian ally was expecting it. There was one solution. Australia and New Zealand's troops had just got to Cairo for their initial training. Untrained men, untried. Perhaps they could be used.

Perhaps. Perhaps they could be pushed in there, into a place everybody knew was impossible to take from the sea, to make the big gesture necessary to save the face of the British. The British, Dad, the bloody Poms. THEY pushed those men up those cliffs, that April morning, knowing, KNOWING, it was suicide.

You know what it was like. Show them the maps. Show them the photos. A child of six could tell you men with guns on top of those cliffs could wipe out anyone trying to come up from below. And there were guns on top, weren't there, Wacka, weren't there ?

Oh yes, great credit to them if you happen to see any credit in men wasting their lives.

And as long as men like you are fools enough to accept that, to say that, there'll always be wars.


  • Yes, I'm sorry about this war :( Not only lives... America is eating away its social capital to pay for this war.

    By Blogger tetricus, at 2:48 pm  

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