100 years since the outbreak of the most catastrophic of australia's imperial wars, it would appear there are no lessons to be drawn whatsoever. i read a transcript of a speech by putin a while ago in which he listed australia as one of america's vassal states. he's not even smart for realizing it: we have always been the proudest, loudest vassal state of whatever white empire is currently dominant
sudan war, boer war, boxer war, great war, second war, korean war, malayan war, vietnam war, iraq war, afghan war, iraq war, iraq war. in only one of these wars was australia ever attacked, and even there the argument that the nation was under threat of invasion is entirely unconvincing, japanese ambitions aside
of course as of recently we DO stand up to our imperal master in one way (or, at least, sort of do):
we are standing up for the rights of vested interest to double down on business as usual, re: fossil fuels!
of course, if remembrance day were handled and conducted differently it could be an excellent occasion for national reflection and enlightenment. in this topsy-turvy world questions would revolve around the costs and benefits of 60 000 agonizing dead, or perhaps an attempt to understand the motivation for involvement in a distant slaughter, then and, dare i say, now
of course, here in 2014 soldiers didn't die, they became fallen. they weren't wasted, they were sacrificed. rather than the astounding stupidity and pointlessness of australia's involvement in imperial adventures, the forgetting that we insistently lest every year is all about fallen, sacrificed australian heroes.
explicitly and exclusively australian dead, of course. if they died in turkey, so much the better. about 100 000 australian soldiers have died in war in all time. at verdun alone the french lost 400 000, and at the siege of leningrad the soviets lost 1.5 million in 900 days. but these figures are, of course, totally and unbelievably irrelevant to our current remembrance day. about as relevant as the fact that napoleon was, in fact, average height
obviously i have a problem with remembrance as it currently stands. im all for remembering (after all, i am primarily a history nerd), but i dream of a focus on key themes and lessons rather than the individuals, who are after all now unanimously at peace and now no different from one another. in my imagined world remembrance has more to do with war itself than dead australians (most of whom, of course, identified as british)
Why think of it ? They are past and in the grave, All those long troubles. For I think the slain Care little if they sleep or rise again ; And we, the living, wherefore should we ache With counting all our lost ones, till we wake The old malignant fortunes ? If Good-bye Comes from their side, Why, let them go, say I. Surely for us, who live, good doth prevail Unchallenged, with no wavering of the scale ; Wherefore we vaunt unto these shining skies, As wide o'er sea and land our glory flies : " By men of Argolis who conquered Troy, These spoils, a memory and an ancient joy, Are nailed in the gods' houses throughout Greece." Which whoso readeth shall with praise increase Our land, our kings, and God's grace manifold Which made these marvels be. My tale is told.