More parting shots for the Armistice centenary (mostly from the non-mainstream media)

Scott Bennett in Inside Story on whether war memorials hide more than they reveal. His book is The Nameless Names: Recovering the Missing Anzacs.

Paul Daley in Guardian Australia marks the passing of ‘Peak Anzac’, and he says this is not before time. ‘The centenary is over. Let’s get on with it.’

Effie Karageorgos reviews the new Peter Jackson movie, They Shall Not Grow Old.

My only conclusion after watching this film is that, despite the impressive manipulation of the film to make the battlefield more immediately relatable, it – yet again – tells us a white, male story of the First World War, and one that does not acknowledge the individual cost of war in psychological terms. I understand there is only so much you can fit into a 100 minute film, but I would happily have swapped some of the explosions and descriptions of combat for a more complete story of the war.

Another review on the World Socialist Web Site.

Michael Mullins (formerly Eureka Street) in Pearls and Irritations on the politicisation of remembrance in Australia.

Greg Lockhart, historian and Vietnam veteran, in Pearls and Irritations on the history of Armistice and Remembrance Days.

Tony Stephens in Pearls and Irritations on aspects of Remembrance Day. His article is memorable for its final paragraph, presenting in microcosm our often cock-eyed appreciation of war and the men who fought it. Alec Campbell’s life showed there is more to Australia than Anzac – and there always has been.

Alec Campbell, who went to Gallipoli at 16, half expecting to die, but lived to fulfil his dreams …  was the last Gallipoli veteran to die, in 2002. His was a rich life in which Gallipoli played only a bit part. He had worked to build Canberra in the 1920s, graduated in economics after he turned 50 and fathered the last of his nine children at 69, insisting that the girls enjoyed education opportunities equal to those for the boys; two children earned PhDs. He sailed in six Sydney-Hobart races, was president of the Launceston Trades Hall Council, campaigned with Jessie Street for peace and contributed to the Australian Dictionary of Biography. His contribution to his country was outstanding. Yet everyone wanted to talk with him about Gallipoli.

Lindsey German writes for the UK Stop the War Coalition on what we should remember after a century,

The whole atmosphere around Remembrance Sunday has become one where any deviation from uncritical and uninformed thinking on the topic, any refusal to wear a red poppy or (horror) to wear a white one symbolising peace, is regarded as beyond the pale … I find it frankly nauseating that we must listen to endless tributes to the dead without any honesty or self-criticism about how and why they died.

When we hear the military, the politicians, the royal family, all using the genuine feelings of remembrance and grief that people have to justify more of these policies, we should remember the bitter opposition to that war [the Great War] which grew as it went on and more people were sacrificed, and exploded at its end as people demanded an end to war, poverty, hunger and disease.

Suzanne Moore in The Guardian has a rethink about commemoration.

Carolyn Holbrook (Anzac: The Unauthorised Biography; Honest History committee member) in Australian Policy and History puts the recent announcements for War Memorial extension, Virgin priority boarding and discount cards in the context of the history of Anzac.

Binoy Kampmark in Crikey calls for more recognition of the peacemaking efforts during World War I. The commemoration industry focuses on how war is remembered.

Christopher Clark in the New York Review of Books reviews two books on the future of war. Timely in all sorts of senses.

Former soldier Rodger Shanahan on the Lowy Institute blog on whether we have reached ‘peak veteran’, with particular reference to the Virgin Australia proposal.

Finally, Graeme Dunstan (Peacebus) reports on a recent meeting with War Memorial Director, Dr Brendan Nelson. Great cartoon by David Pope.

Our earlier modest Armistice bundle.

David Stephens

13 November 2018 updated

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