Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek
benpeek

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today, we see the return of anzac day.

*sigh*

it's my hope, that before i die, this anzac day shit will stop. and soon. i am sure this is not a popular opinion within the world, as i can see, in the fabric of the city, a very real sense of emotion from people and the ol'anzac pride, because, as you may or may not know, the anzacs died for their country. big fucking deal. so they did it in mud, as bullets sung, and the generals got everything wrong. how unusual. how new. history just isn't dotted with those kinds of stories--so why this sense of pride then, why the marches, why are people my age, some even younger, heading out to distant places to look at graves, or ringing up radio stations and talking about grandparents they didn't really know? or even that they did know. why this pride in a war. in this killing and death for a country that has changed since that day happened?

i really don't understand it.

it ties neatly, though, into a whole mess of concepts i don't understand and which i was thinking about the other day. which is that, on the scale of people living in sydney,i am pretty much located in the corner somewhere. things like anzac day show that i am, really, not in touch with a whole heap of concepts that other people find important. concepts that i would like to have in my book.

but really. anzac day. it's just another facet of this patriotic bullshit. a time to pull the old surviving soldiers out, to push them int heir wheelchairs down the street and to say what wonderful kind of australians they are. well, really, come on. what makes them better than any of the other people that were around during the war, or indeed, are around now?

perhaps it's how i grew up. my pop, who isn't exactly the most rational of men, has never marched in anything since he left the navy. he disarmed bombs there. his opinion, paraphrasing here, is generally that marching and pulling out the medals now is to give everything the nice shiny plastic cover, and to ignore the fact that it was horrible. that what happened, what went on, wasn't about medals and marches and patriotism.

of course, this is also ignoring the fact that my pop is an englishman living in australia. maybe he doesn't have anything to do with it over here.

for me, i think, really, that things like anzac day only continue to keep alive a type of patriotism that no longer has a place in the world today. it's useless. this idea that there are borders that we must defend, that there is an ideal of australianness that we must uphold, it's a load of shit. really. the notion of australianness changes every five years, and this concept that there is one way to live, one way to be a good australian, to be a good anyone, leads to all that fucked up violence and anger that we see daily within our streets. to walk down parramatta and fear a group of lebanese guys, or to watch A Current Affair (the woman's weekly of tv) and find that they are playing the race card again because they are not in that small little ideal of a perfect australian, is just to continue this cycle is intolerance that is built in the fundamentals of politics.

what's the quote?

'patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.'

or something very close. i wish i could remember who said it. but it's true, nonetheless: all the intolerance of the world, the last remains of racism and where true inequality lies, is in the heart of patriotism.
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