Cahill, Rowan: Khaki future?

Cahill, Rowan

A khaki future?Overland, 1 October 2013

Brief history of Australia’s ‘martial and warlike’ history from 1788, noting military rule by the New South Wales Corps in the first days of settlement, through preparations for World War I, use of military forces in strike-breaking, frontier wars and the revival of Anzac Day in the last 25 years, including military literature and the proselytising of children.

Much of this martial history – minus the war against the Australian indigenous people; minus military involvement in industrial relations; minus secret armies; minus a significant record of mutiny, discontent and non-compliance in Australia’s armed forces, and atrocities in the field; minus the long and ongoing history of bullying and sexism, and sometimes suicide, in the armed forces; minus the high rate of mental health issues (alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder) in defence force personnel returning from battlefields in the modern era; and minus the long history of ex-service personnel turning up in the ranks of mercenary outfits on the global stage, beginning with the despicable crew of thugs known as the Black and Tans during the Irish War of Independence ­– is celebrated and commemorated in the hugely popular secular day of religiosity, Anzac Day.

Notes the religious aspects of Anzac Day and the prospects for alternative forms of commemoration.


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