Irving, Nick: Glorifying the Anzac myth and our attitudes to violent men

Irving, Nick

What does glorifying the Anzac myth say about our attitudes to violent men today?Junkee, 21 April 2016

Reflections on Anzac leave out the violence that soldiers inflict. The author looks at remarks by David Morrison as head of the army and research by Elizabeth Nelson into domestic violence perpetrated by soldiers after the Great War, violence which tended to be excused because of the perceived effects of war service. He suggests some links between the Anzac myth and our attitudes to domestic violence.

The ANZAC myth ensures that our focus remains on the perpetrators of violence, never its victims. ANZAC makes violent men into victims of violence, dying, sacrificing or “falling”, rather than perpetrators, killing … Perhaps if we remember instead that war is historically men killing, with state sanction; perhaps if we reflect on the ways in which the ANZAC myth normalises the violence that permeates our society; perhaps if we call out the ways in which we excuse and enable the mostly male perpetrators of violence through myths of magnificent sacrifice, we might be able to have some solidarity with the victims of violence, too frequently women, instead of with its perpetrators.

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