Many #Australians uncritically hail the sacrifice at #Gallipoli as the blooding of a nation. Mainstream media enhances the narrative with digital sound and fury to elevate the Homeric myth in hearts – as war poet Wilfred Owen observed – ‘ardent for some desperate glory’. And somehow, our sons are their sons, lying in #Turkish soil.
Any rational analysis can show that the more politicised aspects of the reverence towards the #Anzacs are open to question, unlike the well-documented courage and endurance of the volunteer soldiers. #Australians have bought into an epic narrative, the #Anzac legend, which has become canon in the minds of the many who lap up the spin without the hard yards of historical scholarship.
Many Australians see #Gallipoli as the ‘real’ birth of #Australia. The failure of the British Empire’s ambitious but doomed naval plan to force Allied passage from the Aegean to Constantinople caused untried but brave men to storm impossible cliffs to invade a nation. There was no glory in the ensuing eight-month stalemate that cost eight thousand #Australian lives for no military gain. But how ardently we remember.
Pointless sacrifices occurred. Elegiac speeches went on record. Now, #Anzac Day is intrinsic to mainstream #Australian culture. Gallipoli is sacrosanct. But few Australians know the other April 1915 story, the slaughter of #Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, initially smoke-screened by the Dardanelles campaign. Not many Australians know of Armenia, let alone the unacknowledged #genocide that tortures its national soul.
#Gallipoli sparring partner camaraderie wore thin in Ankara last year, when #Turkish President #Erdogan ranted that he would send descendants of #Anzacs home in caskets like their grandfathers if anything they said were to disparage his record on human rights. #Erdogan would cancel #Anzac Cove commemorations in a heartbeat, should #Australian Parliament acknowledge the truth of the #ArmenianGenocide.
Why do #Australian leaders ignore Turkey’s numerous unacknowledged outrages? Each #Anzac Day, are we so desperate ‘for some ardent glory’ that we look the other way from a deliberate mass killing that remains unacknowledged for a century?
What if #Australia acknowledged the #ArmenianGenocide? If #Australia were to be denied its #Anzac Cove commemoration, it would be a relatively small price to pay to go on the record for principles of #democracy and fair play. Our #Anzac spirit and heritage will survive the dictates of a despot who will not rule forever.
We can sacrifice #Gallipoli. For now. We will be a better nation for it.