Hassan, Toni: what’s the War Memorial good for?

Hassan, Toni

The War Memorial: what’s it good for?Age, 6 November 2015

Also in other Fairfax papers, this piece takes up themes common in Honest History: the Australian War Memorial shies away from recognising the Frontier Wars, it plays up the ‘forged in war’ trope at the cost of our peaceful past, it elides opposition to war and division during war, it generally leaves things out.

While this writer understands it is a war memorial and not a peace museum, it should be possible for the institution to show high noble purpose (where it exists) as well as ghastly futility (where it exists) as well as everything in between.

In this year of all years, in the centenary of what we are told was our seminal war, it’s surely time to remember more. Our memorial risks demeaning us if it papers over the very real divisions we have had over wars and by failing to acknowledge some of our earliest.

Memorials should tell the unvarnished truth. They are meant to shed light on our past in order to better prepare us for the future.


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