crazyjane: (anzac)
You may find the following offensive. I do not apologise.

As usual, ANZAC Day brings out strong opinions. Most often, it's some kind of anti-war diatribe. Maybe it's the 'war machine' that 'eats our children'. Maybe it's the government who sends our military off to war for 'oil'. Maybe it's the patriarchy, Western imperialism, sexism, rape in war, whatever. The common thread here is that some people seem to think this is a day when it's just fine to make some of the most strongly-worded, bordering on offensive, statements possible, and shout them far and wide.

These people seem to think they're making a protest - and that justifies what they're doing.

Here's a fucking news flash.

You are not making a political protest.

You are trampling on someone's memory. You are invading their remembrance service, and you are distressing their relatives and their descendants.

How dare you?

You have 364 days every year to make your political points. You can write, and yell, and shout and stamp. You can lobby furiously, do your damnedest to change laws or change the culture - whatever you think it takes.

But when you choose ANZAC Day - of all days - to do it, then you're no better than Westboro Baptist Church. Remember them? The fundamentalist whackjobs who think they have a right to turn up to funerals waving their 'GOD HATES FAGS' banners and preaching their own message? The ones who provoke equal parts anger and grief in already upset people and think they're justified, because their message is so important? Those abhorrent, insensitive fanatics?

Yeah. That's you.

Have a bit of fucking respect and give it a rest for one day. You can go back to it tomorrow - and I might just join you, because I have no love for war, or profiteering or any of the many horrors that cause and stem from it.

But today, I will remember and honour the fallen. I will mourn for those who lie in foreign soil like my Great-Uncle Alby, and for those who came home to bear their scars and remember their comrades, like my Gramps. I will mourn for those who remain lost. I will honour them, along with hundreds of thousands of others.

I don't ask that you do the same. I ask you simply to let this day pass.
crazyjane: (anzac)
Laurie, my Dad's father, was a Commando who fought in the conflicts in Timor and New Guinea. He survived to come home to his orange block and his family. He was the epitome of the Aussie farmer - gruff but affectionate. He didn't talk much about his service, although he was full of useful hints that he'd learned in the jungles. I don't know if he ever marched. He died with his family, having lived long enough to see his first great-grandchildren.

Jack, my Mum's father, was a Cook who was posted in Darwin during the intense bombing campaign carried out by Japanese forces. He survived to come home to his job at the drop forge, but never really came home to us. Occasionally he'd tell us an anecdote about baking hundreds of scones at once, or how a mate got surprised once by a crocodile, but he'd never talk about the bombing. He drank heavily, and he was a mean drunk. Today, we'd call it post-traumatic stress disorder. He never marched, but Anzac Day was a day when everything in his house stopped. He died old, broken and bitter in hospital, four months before his first great-grandchildren were born. Sometimes, when I look into my son's eyes, I see Jack staring out at me.

One of my great-uncles was a prisoner of war. Another was a pilot who was killed in action, and still another was on the verge of being shipped out when Japan surrendered. I know very little about them.

[profile] fire_wuff was an Air Cadet at school. Had things turned out differently, he might have signed on. On days like this, I thank the Gods he didn't.

War is abhorrent to me. It's appalling and callous and kills us all in one way or another - physically, emotionally, spiritually. As Wilfred Owen said, 'the old lie ... dulce et decorum est pro patria mori'.* But I'll stand silent on Anzac Day and remember them all, the family, the friends, the people I hear about in passing. We sent them out to die - we encouraged them to do it, told them it was the right thing to do, brought them up to love their country and be willing to lay down their lives for it. The least we can do is honour their memories.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget.

* "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country".

August 2017

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