Thought I would reprise this one from a couple of years back:
Today, 25 April, is ANZAC Day – celebrating the role of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in the First World War.
A few facts: Australian and New Zealand troops were sent off to defend ‘king and empire’ in WWI. One of their first engagements was to attack the Turks at Gallipoli. Using atrocious ‘intelligence’ and under the able ‘leadership’ of none other than a youthful Winston Churchill, they landed at the wrong beach (it had cliffs) and the Turks were waiting. The Aussies and Kiwis hung on, suffered copious casualities and finally pulled out.
Now this is, according to the myth-makers, a moment of nation-building. The new federated nation-state, which came into existence on 1 January 1901, had ‘proven’ itself.
That’s the bullshit I don’t get: how can travelling half-way around the world to fight someone else’s war, indeed to protect the good old empire, be nation-building? Was it because this rag-tag and undisciplined force had shown that they were as manly and as brave as anyone else? That’s just crap. And somehow the Kiwis get dropped from the picture, unless you assume some grand plan for a new state, Austro-Aotearoa.
I’m also deeply suspicious of anything that smacks of patriotism and nationalism. People do stupid and usually brutal things to other people in the name of these crazy ideals.
So I prefer to celebrate my daughter’s birthday instead: Steph was born 22 years ago in Montreal on 25 April.