Monday, 25 April 2011

on not commemorating anzac day

i meant to do an anzac day post much earlier today, but have been too busy taking a break. which included a bit of a shopping splurge, and a fair amount of relaxation. i hate how anzac is becoming almost like a religious observance (& a not particularly inclusive one at that). i'm also not impressed with what we're remembering and how we're remembering it, at what is being deliberately hidden and put aside to maintain a particular narrative. it saddens me that our children are being encouraged to participate in an event that honours death through war, but only the death of soldiers. not the death of civilians, nor the destruction, nor the conscientious objectors, nor the social cost.

i don't really want to be a part of all that any more. and especially not after the revelations of what our current troops have been up to in afghanistan. i've read some really good posts on this today, including julie's. but i really recommend this one at reading the maps.

i can't remember who said in the last couple of days that anzac day has become our default national day, since waitangi day somehow "belongs" to maori. if this is our day to celebrate nationhood, then i would rather we did it by commemorating much more than the soldiers who died in various wars. there are so many valuable contributions nz'ers have made to our own country & the world, in so many fields. and let's start that commemoration from way before 1840, because nz history started well before that.

and when we do remember war, let's remember it in all it's horror and tragedy, in all its bloodiness and mutilation, let's remember the shell-shocked and the terrified, let's remember the cruelty as well as the courage. i may be influenced by the fact that i'm currently reading michael ondaatje's the english patient, not too longer after i'd read and captain correlli's mandolinthe blind assassin (which is set just prior to WWII). all books which do exactly that, the first 2 to a much greater extent.

to finish off, i''ll link to stuff i've been writing at the hand mirror over the last couple of weeks: a post about the funding cuts to a self-defence programme for girls; another that links to and quotes from a piece about giving value to women's work by paying wages for housework; and finally, one i wrote about appearing on tv1's q&a programme on sunday morning.


Scuba Nurse said...

agree agree and agree.
I especially love your point that we remember the deaths of the solders but not civilians.
Thank you.

blue milk said...

I understand your concerns about the way in which ANZAC Day is being commemorated and I completely agree.

stargazer said...

thanx to both of you. i totally meant to add that we should also remember the use of rape as a tool of war, because that is something also never mentioned on anzac day.