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.
Bob Innes says
Brave words and true Jon. History is important, and true history even more so.
David Haviland says
It seems too many of our countrymen no longer dare to look beyond or behind the hyperbole generated in the past — through dire circumstance and ignorance — but is no longer justified now the obvious is there to see, of the duplicity and devious behaviour of the Turks. Too many of our current politicians are invested in mastering the knack of never offending constituents (or some foreign entity) when they comment or hold forth on any issue– be it domestic or inter-national — instead of stating firmly what we Australians are so proud of: our sense of “Fair go, mate!” The many Australians who died to back this up must be rolling in their graves at Gallipoli .
Julia Drought says
Once I discovered that the Anzacs had actually landed in the wrong place, it underlined, even more so, the stupidity of war.
You have bravely walked on sacred ideals, and I believe you are so correct. Well said. I doubt, sadly, that any attention will be paid to your opinions by those who could take a different stand, but you have expressed what so many believe….Anzac Day has become waaay too precious at the expense of truth.
Keep up your stance, Jon, very commendable!
Mr Cocks, it takes courage to write these words. As an Australian with Armenian heritage, You touched my soul, Our ANZACs fought hard and sacrificed their lives in Galiopoli for the sake of humanity and respect. They would have been appaled that their efforts could have been put aside for so long to appease a few dispotic leaders.
The dignity of th Armenian people has been shattered by the unwilingness of successive leaders in Australia ademently refusing to recognise the crime of Genocide perpetrated against them, by the same country that we, as Australians revere as our so-called friends. As you rightly say; ‘For some ardent Glory we look the other way…” The famous saying ‘Evil will triumph if all good men do not speak out’ is so poignant at this point.