It seems rather obvious to me, that Anzac day has been elevated into the stratosphere of virtual religion, but this is not a bad thing necessarily... as the main focus is quite noble. Patriotism, Heroism, Commitment, National Pride. What I do say though, is that while these things are needed in a robust nation, they are rather empty without something more living and enduring than just the 'nation'.
I've just been listening to a podcast from Radio National re Anzac day and the common friendship between former soldiers from the Turkish and Australian &New Zealand sides. It almost makes me want to puke! Not that I reject the idea or reality of post war peace and utopian harmony.... human nature tends to long for fellowship rather than a fight. But when you hear how the Turks see things, you will quickly realize that the difference between war and peace is really just about one thing..'who won'.
What I'm saying is that we need to remember what the war was about, and what Turkey was really like to those it trampled on. There is nothing glowing or warm about the Turkey we tried to take down, they were and still are guilty of one of the worst genocides of modern times against the Armenians.
From Australia, we might think that we were trying to 'invade' the sovereign Ottoman Empire, and that they had every right to defend themselves and kill as many of our mob as they could, and without mercy. But what they were really defending was vastly different from just fighting off some random enemy who wanted to plunder their country.
The Ottomans were infamous for their own empire building methods, and their cruelty as Masters to everyone under them as slaves. During the initial expansion of the Ottoman empire, defeated nations were required to give a 'tribute' of 500 boys...human beings.... as 'tribute' to the Sultan. He then took these vulnerable children and brainwashed and raised them into unswerving loyalists to 'him'... as a force that was highly trained and NOT members of the various Turkish tribes that comprised Turkey.
The Turkish professor interviewed on Radio National podcast here pointed out that while Turkey (Ottoman Empire) won the battle of Gallipoli, it lost the first world war... and I'm rather chirpy to say that it was at the hands of Aussie light horse ! The location was.. Beer Sheba in Palestine, which was a colonial holding of the Ottomans.
While the Ottoman Empire existed, it has but one just destiny.. utter destruction and annihilation. The soldiers on both side were mere pawns in the political plans of privileged nobles and leaders who supped at the banquet table of unsurpassed luxury and opulence.
Yes.. as individuals we can be friendly to those from the other side, but remember, if the cross winds of history place us against each other in defense of our own freedom....we have only one duty, to kill them.
Anzac day should be a hook onto which we can hang the bigger historical picture of imperialist human exploitation, and it should be taught to our children for what it really was, and not what some mini me empire builders in Australia 'want' children to believe.