ANZAC DAY – Some alternate thoughts

anzac day dawn service at gallipoli
anzac day dawn service at gallipoli

How much more of this ANZAC crap can we all stand? Commemorating a military disaster – referred to afterwards as “Churchill’s folly” and causing said Churchill to be sacked from the War Cabinet – Gallipoli was an insane plan to invade Turkey. No-one quite knows why as it would have had no effect on the real war on the Western Front but the Brits used mainly colonial troops – Australians and New Zealanders – as they were thought to be expendable.

Those troops were not fighting for our way of life or our values but British colonial, imperial and economic policies. Basically they were mugs even if well-meaning ones. After the disaster, there was a fear that Australians would be so outraged at the slaughter of their young men for nothing that they might withdraw from the war which they had no real stake in any way except as lackeys of the Empire so Charles Bean and Keith Murdoch – the execrable Rupert’s dad – dreamed up the media spin of all time. Despite no land being taken, thousands being killed and then the survivors being withdrawn it was a mighty victory and representative of Australia becoming a real nation!! I think it would have been better if we had remained an unreal nation.

This whole ANZAC circus is also being used, of course, to garner support for our insane present mission in the Persian Gulf and to try and make them the new ANZACS… which in some way they are being mugs fighting for American imperialism this time! What is really depressing is that the whole ANZAC nonsense almost collapsed in the 1970’s – we weren’t interested in commemorating war after we had got rid of the one in Vietnam – and there was even talk of abandoning the march altogether because the numbers attending were so small.

Then some kind of new jingoism arose in brainwashed young people and all this crap of going to the Gallipoli Beach – wrapped in the Blue Ensign which the ANZACs didn’t even fight under – started up. Now its almost another Grand Final day! “If we don’t learn form the mistakes of history we are doomed to repeat them,” the wise man said and there is no greater example of that than the travesty of ANZAC day. Commemorate the tragic losses by all means – as we used to do on November 11th which seems to have now been forgotten, so much for “lest we forget” – but let’s not pretend they had any meaning for us then or now, except to commit to never doing it again which of course we have many times.

I am extremely proud of my grandfather Horace Pepperell who, despite massive pressure, refused to take part in the mass insanity of World War I and thus survived to sire my father who sired me. Good one Gramps! Not allowing myself to be drafted for possible deployment to the Vietnam War in 1966 was my tribute to him and to the beauty of life and freedom.

anzac day – some alternate thoughts

David N. Pepperell is a well known Melbourne writer and occasional contributor to the TAGG/Toorak Times.

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