Daley, Paul: lavish spending on memorials cloaks reality

Daley, Paul

Australia’s lavish spending on Anzac memorials cloaks a more distasteful reality‘, Guardian Australia, 11 November 2015

[A] century after the first world war began, I think it is well and truly time to reflect on how it is, precisely, that we commemorate those killed. It’s certainly time we stopped spending hundreds of millions of dollars on pointless new monuments to the Anzacs and to focus, instead, on the living …

PTSD, of course, is not a matter of belief but fact – like climate change or the extinction of the dinosaurs. But then belief – or suspended disbelief – is central to the Anzac story and Australia’s creation myth. This country has been telling itself the story for a long time now, in a quasi-religious language that deifies the “sacrifice” and “spirit” of Australia’s white-hatted soldiers, especially the “fallen”, never just the “killed”. It cloaks the more distasteful reality of ruined lives, mortal and moral imperfection and evisceration.

The article concludes with a summary of Honest History calculations of the cost of commemoration in Australia (compared with other belligerent countries) and a plea for abandoning the $100 million commitment to the Monash Interpretive Centre at Villers-Bretonneux.

Paul Daley is one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters.

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