Friday, 25 April 2014

An absolute legend

There is much to be said ion such a national day as this.
I am interested about the current rhetoric of ANZAC Day.
We are now openly talking about the 'legend'...and recognising that legend is about conveying a different truth from historical detail .
Readers of Scriptures should have no problem with this idea.
People are sufficiently aware that Gallipoli was not all it was cracked up to be, and as you look at the pristine beaches of ANZAC Cove it is clear that this was not what the soldier of 1915 encountered. There are many things to say: in this week of Royal enthusiasm we should not forget that it was blind loyalty to another legend, The British Empire, that annihilated the young men of many Australian country towns. Boys enthused, possibly by the notion of masculine camaraderie; who soon found out that: Turkey, the western Front; and in the next war: North Africa, Malaya, Singapore, Normandy and then Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Solomons, Iraq, East Timor (How on earth did we not get drawn into the Falklands?)......war is fine until you discover that people die, and that one of those people might be you, or the boy next to you.[ am not, of course, being sexist...many women have borne the brunt of war...not particularly or necessarily as service personnel ...and therefore have often been disregarded as collateral damage. As have children.  And there are now women serving in theatres of war.]
Even the army seems to be questioning whether or not ANZAC Day has become too commercial.
In my local community a thousand or so people gathered at the busy Blackwood intersection to note that we have not forgotten and should not forget.
But it is about the need for a sense of  community as much as anything.
Legend is about truth. Community truth. Not necessarily about what we (loosely) call fact.
That young men die at the behest of the old. That 'the best laid plans ...have some times gone awry'
I do not think we should step away from ANZAC Day. Rather the contrary. But we should vigorously explore the truth. Allow the legend to speak.
And critique it with history. Lest we forget

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