|FFS - Gallipoli teddy bears?!!!|
From Australia Post catalogue
I'm going to burn in hell for this!
This is a personal post about the 100th anniversary commemorations of the 1915 Gallipoli landings. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I do want to express a little contrariness on this day of secular worship. If I had family directly involved in the campaign I might feel differently, but I don't so only have the perspective of an observer.
The further removed we are from the event, the seemingly more we are turning it into a day of jingoism, especially in this 100th year. While it is important to remember the sacrifice of the soldiers who landed and fought on the Dardenelles as the first blooding of the new nation's army in the War to End All Wars, I believe that too much is invested in this one event. Too many myths have grown up around the event which make investigating the reality all the more difficult as correcting the myths is tantamount to heresy. The fact that the Gallipoli campaign was an unmitigated disaster in an invasion of another sovereign country, and that we were one of several nations involved (and not the biggest player in the event) all seem to be forgotten in the jingoistic remembrance-fest.
I'm not sure how the event is being observed by our NZ cousins, but the way that the event has been commercialised here has also stuck in my throat. The picture above is from a catalogue of tat from the Australia Post catalogue. At least these have the redeeming feature of a certain percentage of the proceedings going to Legacy. Supermarket chain Woolworths got into all sorts of bother with their branded "Fresh in our Memories" campaign , which not only had their logo emblazoned on the images, but riffed on their advertising campaign as the "Fresh Food People". I can't express how strongly I feel that commercialism of this event is plain wrong. I can't understand why you'd want to shell out for this kind of thing in the first place, but obviously there's a market for it. I think it's an extremely cynical cashing in on the emotion that has been manipulated by the whole event.
The remembrance of Gallipoli campaign overshadows the much more significant involvement of the ANZACS on the Western Front, especially in the 1918 counter-attack around Villers-Brettoneux and the Battle of Hamel which followed.
As a catch all day for remembering the fallen, it dwarfs Remembrance Day but seems to me to lessen the importance of all other wars and the sacrifices of those who served in them. I really think that Remembrance Day is a much more appropriate day and certainly does not have the baggage of jingoistic nationalism that ANZAC Day has accumulated.
I think a much more appropriate way of commemorating the sacrifice of those who served in our name would have been to dedicate a lot more spending to helping the veterans of recent wars than blowing $300 million on the centenary, especially when compared to the $95 million spent on veterans' mental health in the four years up to 2014.
Lest we forget the veterans of all wars and their sacrifice.