The tradition of ANZAC has done nothing to make Australian cautious, reflective and wise in sending troops to war, argues Binoy Kampmark.
ANZAC Day has become a parade for amnesia rather than reckoning, a ritual that rejects peace makers and conciliators in favour of the war mongers and undertakers, argues Binoy Kampmark.
Australia’s capitalists were quick to see the tremendous marketing potential of Anzac Day by aligning their consumer brand with the officially revered military brand of Anzac. As early as 1916, the “commercial appeal” of the word “Anzac” was being used to flog various foodstuffs, beverages, soaps, toys, all sorts of apparel, Rexona healing ointment (tested in the trenches!), watches, matches, jewellery, cafés and restaurants.
On a cold, wet November morning in the village of Rocles in central France, I attended a World War I centenary event unlike any I had seen before.
In the town square there is a small war memorial with a marble plaque listing the district's fallen sons, much as you find in every locality across France and Australia.
However, on closer examination, this one is a bit different. Instead of "Vive la France", it has palm leaves engraved in the stone, slogans calling for peace and acknowledges all the victims of war. How could this be?
I’ve often heard it asked, “Is Australia a racist country?” only for the question to be railroaded by a series of semantics: “What does that even mean?”; “How can a country have a collective mindset?”; and “You can’t confer a universal attitude onto a population of 24 million, surely?”
Politicians and commentators tell us there are such things as Australian values. The same quibbling arguments about whether Australia is collectively racist apply to so-called national values.