hempanon April 25, 2012 at 11:27 am
I dodged the Vietnam bullet by being lucky enough to avoid conscription. The youth of my day were all too aware that war is the ultimate obscenity but today’s youth attend dawn Anzac services proudly wearing the medal of some dead relative while others go off like pilgrims to celebrate our defeat at Gallipoli.
A touch too Orwellian for me where death is glorious, defeat is victory and peace can only be attained through war. My immediate reaction to yet another death in Afghanistan is to shout at the TV….. STUPID IDIOT !
Meanwhile, those poor young fools who survive return home only to be eke out their days in their own private hell.
Canguro April 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm
Hempanon, what would you have done, had your marbled number had been pulled from the barrel?
The option of conscientious objector existed, and I’m wondering how many young men went down the rabbit hole when they learnt they were to be conscripted to fight in this war that posed no clear and present threat to the Australian community.
It’s striking how obedient we are, that we would so easily obey a diktat to abandon our circumstances, don the uniform, have our heads shorn and then after a period of preparation be sent to act as targets for hostile strangers who naturally resented our presence in their country.
If one puts oneself in the shoes of the invaded, it’s an easy stretch to see that the act of defense of one’s homeland under those circumstances is natural and desirable, and why not? You’d be mad not to, as it’s said. But to be packed off to fight in another country that has no interest in ours, no interest in expansion or invasion, simply to be fodder for the foe because of a clash of political ideology and cultural integrity, no, no, and a thousand times no. Jesus wept, that we might one day collectively develop the spine and fortitude to stand up to the decision-makers and force them to confront alternatives to the ongoing military madness that so debases us as supposed intelligent and sensitive creatures.
hempanon April 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm]
I suspect that at age 20 I might have copped it sweet and joined the ranks of the other brand new cannon fodder. I was a late developer, particularly politically, and still hadn’t worked out that my Menzies obsessed parents were barking up the wrong tree. A year or so later things were very different and I maintained the rage for many years.
Yes, the kiddies are compliant and mostly put the uniform on without much complaint which is surely an indication that the education system is ‘working’. Thank God Gough turned up in 1972 to put a stop to the insanity.
Doug Quixote April 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm
Hear Hear Hempanon. Gough got in and ended the ridiculous conscription system that even the Army did not want, in excellent time to save me from the machine; not only that, he enabled me to go to university at a time when my parents would have really struggled to enable it, and that is not mentioning all the wonderful reforms to health, family law and trade practices which were 20 years overdue.
David Black April 25, 2012 at 11:54 am
Once when I found myself in the middle of the dreary city of Newcastle, I discovered a WW1 memorial to the men of Newcastle who had “Died For The Honour of The British Empire.”
Why would anyone risk one’s life for that?
Australians in those days, thinking themselves as basically British, were probably different then.
Doug Quixote April 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm ]
Exactly that David. We were the South British. Our troops were the Australian Imperial Forces and ‘imperial’ meant just that : the forces of the empire, Australian contingent.
James April 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm
ABC TV began its Anzac Day program this morning with a portentous declaration that Anzac Day was a “uniquely Australian” day. What’s your analysis of this, Bob?
Bob Ellis April 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm
It’s the only national holiday that celebrates a defeat. There is in England no Titanic Day, in France no Surrender To Hitler Day.
We have no Granville Train Disaster Holiday, nor even one for the Newcastle earthquake.
But we have this one. Because it was the first big defeat that killed or crippled, probably, one quarter of our fit young men.
And since this is an impossible for us to live with, we have to pretend it was a victory of some kind, a test passed.
James April 25, 2012 at 5:31 pm
You’ve missed the point. The letters NZ in Anzac stand for another country that observes Anzac Day as a national holiday. I had hoped you would have something to say about the mindset that allowed the ABC to put its lie to air.
Your own points are well made, though. France could well observe its own counterpart to Anzac Day. The number of Frenchmen killed at Gallipoli was nearly as great as Australians and New Zealanders combined.