‘Foreign fighter with the “Anzac spirit”‘, Eureka Street, 12 July 2015
Brief article on Reece Harding, killed fighting with Kurdish Peshmerga forces against Islamic State. Harding was technically in breach of Australian law, though Robertson describes the factors that may have helped drive him.
The media saturation, the constant “death cult” references and the battle between the two major parties over who can better protect Australians has meant politicians have benefitted from the characterisation of IS as a force more violent and ruthless than the world has ever seen … IS has a special status, partly because of their online propaganda, but also because politicians have afforded it to them.
Reece Harding was simply answering the prime minister’s increasingly nationalistic and jingoistic calls to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the “Islamist death cult”. The government has warned Australians against travelling to the Middle East to fight on any side. But these calls are drowned out by decades of contradictory rhetoric that has seen the Anzac legend (or myth) placed at the very fore of Australian history and culture. It’s become Australia’s great foundation story, filling the void of the revolution she never had and obscuring the mass murder of the Aboriginal people.