ANZAC DAY – Glorifying war and empire
The annual orgy of nationalism and militarism known as ANZAC day has come around again and as usual is being used to justify our current imperialist military ventures and to whip up the patriotism of the young. Defence Minister John Faulkner gave a Dawn service speech from Afghanistan. Meanwhile over 300,000 people have joined a ANZAC day facebook page demonstrating how out of control the ANZAC “legend” has become in this country.
Defence Minister Fawkner made clear the link between ANZAC day and its role in legitimising current imperialist military when at a dawn service speech in Afghanistan he said
The Age reported that “Mr Faulkner told them that it was important on Anzac Day to remember not only those who had served in the past but also to thank the soldiers of today ''who put their lives in the service of Australia's interests''.
''The sacrifices you, your families and loved ones, have made in the service of Australia are many,'' he told the troops.
''I am, and the government is, very much aware of the dangers you face, the hardships and the long separations. On behalf of the Australian government, I thank you, as I know the Australian people thank you, this generation's heirs of the Anzac tradition, for your service and your dedication.''
The cult of the ANZAC was also on display on Facebook with over 300,000 people joining the page 1,000,000 FACEBOOK USERS HONOUR THE ANZACS "LEST WE FORGET". Which asks people to join to “In Remembrance of those who died for our country”
More pop cultural evidence of the out of control nature of Australian nationalism is the fact that Ray Martin has managed to get himself sent death threats by merely hosting a debate about whether to remove the Union Jack from the Australian Flag. See link below
A great article recently explaining how the ANZAC myth has been lovingly nurtured by Australian Government both Labor and Liberal in the last 15 years to justify current wars was recently published in the Age. Under the title “Letting go of the ANZACS” they finish their article with the following quote
“With Australians positioned as either for or against the Anzacs, the digger has once again become a divisive figure as much as a unifying one. Like the many Australians who are concerned with the homage paid to the Anzac spirit and associated militarisation of our history, we are concerned about the ways in which history is used to define and distort our national heritage and national values.
We suggest that Australians might look to alternative national traditions that gave pride of place to equality of opportunity and the pursuit of social justice: the ideals of a living wage and decent working conditions, the long struggle for sexual and racial equality. In the myth of Anzac, military achievements are exalted above civilian ones; events overseas are given priority over Australian developments; slow and patient nation-building is eclipsed by the bloody drama of battle; action is exalted above contemplation. “
The joke is that on ANZAC day we are extorted to “never forget” when the real threat to peace is that Australians are encouraged to “forget” that we are currently at war in Afghanistan and until recently Iraq. Australians soldiers are still fighting killing and dieing in the name of Empire and power. ANZAC Day serves to further the myth of the male warrior and that Australian’s interests and identity revolves around fighting foreign imperialist wars.