Anzac Fatigue: Why I Won’t be Buying Into the Collective Grief of Gallipoli
It’s not even here yet and I am already well and fucking truly over Anzac Day. It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to the idea that 100 years ago a bunch of Australian soldiers (as well as New Zealanders and a host of others) were slaughtered on some ill-fated beach invasion in Turkey. I mean, that’s a pretty sad event by anyone’s measure, but it’s the increasing crassness and commercialisation of Anzac Day and the idea that as Australians we should all come together in some sort of collective consciousness of feigned teary-eyed melancholy. Hell mend you if you don’t feel inclined to participate.
The grotesque “Fresh in our Memories” social media campaign instigated by Woolworths is just one example, but there are many others.
The reality is that we’ve become such a harsh and uncaring nation, as evidenced by our treatment of asylum seekers (with some polls suggesting that 60% of Australians feel we’re still treating boat people too leniently), our indifference towards the young and unemployed – heck let’s cut them off welfare for six months, and the increasing hostility towards Muslims living in Australia. It’s all part of the Abbott plan, and it’s a fucking disgrace.
It seems as though in the short space of just a few years, we’ve become such a hostile, selfish, and uncaring nation, that we almost need Anzac Day as a way to feel “human” again. One day a year where we can pause to give thought to others who made a sacrifice that few of us will ever have to make, to ensure that the way of life we “enjoy” today is protected and maintained.
I wonder whether many of those soldiers, 100 years ago, would think twice about making that ultimate sacrifice if they could see what the Australian psyche has become today.
One could be forgiven for thinking that Anzac Day could easily be replaced with any other name, like “thanksgiving day” in the US, where for one brief moment in time, we pause to think of something other than ourselves and our own greedy obsessions with accumulating wealth and material possessions. A type of “confessional” that makes us feel better about ourselves for being the fairly ugly mob of self-serving obsessives we’ve become for every other day of the year.
Heck even the RSL clubs bear no resemblance to their original function or reason for being. Once, the meeting place for war veterans to meet and socialise and look after each other in a warm and supportive environment, today they are multi-million dollar enterprises that look more like Las Vegas casinos than organisations caring for war veterans.
The whole thing has become a fucking disgrace, and I for one won’t be participating in the collective love-in which is more about a “look at me” attention-seeking self-serving indulgence in feigned grief than anything to do with remembering the horrors of war and those who were caught up in the crossfire.