Wednesday, 22 April 2015

ANZAC and other atrocities

Years ago I wrote a poem about ANZAC and Remembrance Day. I dug it up and posted it a couple of years back, but I've been thinking about it all with the ANZAC centenary this year, and thought I'd post it again.

Its a very emotional and evocative time for millions as they remember those who died in war. I understand that, and quietly remember them too. But for me, there is no glory, there are no heroes, there is no "dying for freedom" or sacrificing lives for the good of mankind, and any other patriotic idealism you want to throw at it.

It is simply murder on a massive scale. No glorious soldiers dying in battle. Just murdered humans.

We think of ANZAC, and acknowledge it was a devastating failure. But somehow, it's been made into more than that. It seems too hard for us to accept that it was the ultimate act in stupidity - absolutely pointless in every sense. Historians try to make something good out of it but fortunately, there are other historians who are presenting the truth now.
Murdered humans

There were no heroes. The reality is there were a bunch of scared young men played like puppets by pompous, arrogant British commanders. There is no "glory" in war - ever!

I don't join in any ANZAC or other war remembrance activities, and I never will. Sure, I know many think it's good to remember how horrible it is, and I'm OK with that. But for me, I won't give it any more than this blog.

Perhaps it's because my dad was a prisoner of the Japanese in WW2 in Changi and forced to work the Burma railway for 3 years, and I saw the determination he had to live life, to forgive the Japanese and actively embrace them. He detested the gatherings of the other POWs who would sit around and complain how horrible it was and hold on to their bitterness, and wallow in memories that became myths of glory and triumph.

No, count me out.

And what of our future;
Glories of war, past and present,
Lies and myths float on the phosphorous clouds
Inhaled by Red, Yellow, Black...
We have fought with patriotic eyes,
As have they!
Who can see death without tears?
How many knew the reasons?
Innocent, ignorant, martyrs.

A dawn's early mist drifts and carries fatigue,
Echoes of shellfire -
Scarred earth -
A child's terror,
Nightmare vision and Godless chills
And prickling hackles
Making beds for propaganda - patronising, patriots,

At the setting of the sun
And in the morning
We will grieve them, Lest we remember.