‘Anzac Day should be quarantined from politicians – a solemn moment to reflect on the agony of war‘, Guardian Australia, 23 April 2015
In a generation’s time the Anzacs will have slipped from living memory entirely. None of the stories of their pain – or the pain they caused to others – will be within experience.
But official commemoration is, arguably, at its most ideal when the pain is all gone.
Unchecked, only then, are the evocations from politicians, military leaders and diplomats as they wring new meanings from it all – about mateship, national character, resilience, sacrifice the “fallen”, lost and “spirit” …
Politicians use commemoration to justify wars, past and future. This month the joint deployment of Australian and New Zealand troops to Iraq purportedly for training purposes was inevitably seen through the prism “Anzac100” – Australia’s commemoration for the global maelstrom that was the first world war (beginning August 1914) but which we, parochially, hinge to our force’s operations at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.