The Kea's Nest

The Kea is a well known, cheeky, mountain parrot from New Zealand. What better name to take for myself to comment on the funny drawings I find online?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Anzac Day

It has only the most tenuous links to webcomics, but it's an important day, indulge me.
Nearly one hundred years ago New Zealand answered the call to join its colonial leader, Britain, in the First World War. It became a moment that helped create a sense of ourselves in the world. It also lead to a tragic campaign in Gallipoli where one in four New Zealand soldiers died. To commemorate their sacrifice Anzac Day was created (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) as a day of memorial and tribute.

Today there will be thousands of people attending sombre ceremonies, while wearing poppies, at small memorials in towns across the country. As seen in one cartoon (I'm sure there will be more, but I'm not likely to get online to make a post about today later), it is important to make sure that the younger generations know what they are remembering.

One thing that I find important about Anzac Day is that, generally, we do not celebrate the war. The day commemorates a hideous military failure. Although we are thankful that so many were willing to give themselves to defend us, we also note that their sacrifice was largely pointless. We can see that war is foolish and must be held back from if unnecessary. As Dean Parker said in an opinion piece yesterday, let's remember the eleven conscientious objecters from so long ago who, when asked why they refused to go to a war on the other side of the world, simply wrote that they were scared. I would be too.


At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Unpatriotic said...

According to the dinner table conversation at my parents house a hell of a lot more Turk's died than Aussies, Kiwi's and Brit's put together.

According to wikipedia the total allied casualties came to 44,072 dead and 97,037 wounded as opposed to 86,692 turks dead and 164,617 wounded. And yet we act like we were the ones who were decimated and that it was the brits fault for putting us in that position. The british actually took twice as many casualties as Australia and New Zealand combined.

On one level I understand (and possibly even respect?) the concept behind Anzac day, but I honestly think it's become a bunch of nationalistic wank, at least in Australia. It's been subsumed into the liberal political model of Australian values - The Anzac "Legend".

At 7:39 PM, Blogger The Kea said...

I'd be willing to bet that many multiple's more Turks died. That's another symptom of tragedy.

IT basically was the commander's faults (although I don't know who were at the top) and yes, their decisions affected many others just as awfully.

The key thing is proportion. We lost a greater proportion of our men than most (I think out of everyone we lost the largest proportion). That's what makes it a huge sacrifice. Also, the youth of the culture invovled meant that it become a large event.

I do see the 'Legend' being proposed around. Pushing these guys to hero status and wanting to be like them, do what they did. I see a bunch of people who were willing to sacrifice but ended up used awfully. Which is why I identify with those who said they were too scared to go.


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