My place. Anzac Day, dawn.
It’s dawn. It’s Anzac Day. That seems appropriate.
The sun is still struggling behind the eastern hill, but the wallabies are already sitting on their tails, tummies facing the hill in anticipation of the warming rays.
I’m sad, despite the happy wildlife.
I don’t like Anzac Day: the remembrance of suffering, the hypocrisy of politicians, the perversion of language, the exploitation of people.
‘If you don’t love it, leave it,’ you might say.
Yes, I’ve seen the bumper stickers, replete with the Australian flag. These patriots often have a Eureka flag too, stuck to the rear window, just above the Nissan logo. The Eureka flag is, ironically, a symbol of people who didn’t love it, and didn’t leave it, but made it better.
Anyway, I’m not leaving. I don’t want to.
Today, in the shadow of another dawning, I’m sad. And sadness turns easily to anger.
There has been much talk about brave young men who gave their lives in defence of their country. Much of this comes from politicians whose smugness at their manipulation of Anzac Day to create political advantage is appalling.
Let’s get it straight: The wars were not fought in defence of Australia, they were fought to protect or propagate British or American interests. Many died. And the trauma suffered by survivors was shipped back home and spread violently through families and communities.
There were wars fought in defence of Australia; wars fought by Indigenous tribes against a European invasion. These wars are mostly ignored by the Australian government, preferring instead to continue its illegal occupation and disgusting treatment of the traditional owners, and preferring to celebrate a great Australian defeat, Gallipoli, where, under British misdirection, Australian young men died failing to invade Turkey.
Today, this tragedy is glorified (with appropriate downcast eyes, sombre expressions and lapel buttons) by the very government that allowed this to happen, and which has continued to use young people as Asian war fodder to prove its subservience to its masters. The government doesn’t care about Australian young people.
If it really cared about young people, it would avoid war, ditch the Adani Carmichael mine, subsidise renewable energy programs and create a future with hope.
The first rays spear through the ironbark. The wallabies scratch. But a dark cloud looms.
Lest we forget: War should be the last resort for the defence of country. War should not be for political and commercial advantage.
These days, despite many people’s sincere reflection upon lives lost, Anzac Day is a flag-bedecked wagon for government to jump upon, selling the great Australian lie like an American evangelist, bugling the virtue of dying for Australia’s defence, and trumpeting the glory of the global war machine.
This war machine, oiled by the blood of the innocent, fuelled by the sweat of the poor, maintained by lies, never stops, and has rolled through cities, towns and villages all over the world, a deadly juggernaut, devouring families, ecosystems and cultures, all the while laying golden nuggets for its corporate owners to stuff into offshore accounts.
Is Australia, a warmongering nation (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria) again preparing for war? The government has expressed its faith in Trump’s judgement and wisdom (yes, really), and is following Trump’s fading American light into the darkness of the China Sea.
Lest we forget.
Yet the people do forget, their memories eroded by a flood of synthetic patriotism, manufactured for that purpose, which makes them forget what the dead know, and they accept the ol’ defence-of-Australia lie again.
But the government knows. It remembers. It is guilty. Again.