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Erik is a public policy professional and owner of the online training course in democracy and civic action: www.3ptraining.com.au The Blog …explores ways to create a sustainable and just community. Explores how that community can be best protected at all levels including social policy/economics/ military. The Book Erik’s autobiography is a humorous read about serious things. It concerns living in the bush, wilderness, home education, spirituality, and activism. Finding Home is available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble and all good e-book sellers.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Letter to an Imaginary ANZAC

Well Joe, it’s been a hundred years but ANZAC day is coming around (yes that’s what they call it) and I thought I would write you a letter. You may be pleased to know that you are not forgotten. Your name is engraved on a cross in the middle of your small town that is smaller now than when you left it. You wouldn’t believe how many other names are there Joe. It is hard to imagine there were any men left in the town.  Why did you all leave anyway? Did you really think the Turks or the Huns were going to ride across the paddocks? Was it for Empire or did you just want to be off with your mates?

They print your names in the paper on ANZAC day and school children write about how you are all heroes. God bless ‘em but I can’t see it. You volunteered to go to the other side of the world and make some mother childless, some woman a widow, for what Joe? You were the aggressor, the Turks were defending. You were gallant I’m sure. You endured hardship, stood by your mates and were brave beyond belief – but so is everyone in war.  I doubt that your death was glorious; I bet it was pretty bloody awful if the truth were known. And you were cruel Joe. There is no nice way to stab someone to death with a bayonet, but you chose that. Maybe you thought it would make you a man.

Speaking of men, the war left a generation of widows and unmarried women.  You might have been more a man if you had stayed at home. The children you could have fathered, who would have built the country, were never born. We were forced to open the flood gates to immigration. They were good blokes those immigrants, still are mostly. I’m one of them. But things have changed a lot Joe. The white Anglo Saxon Christian nation you thought you were fighting for no longer exists.

We won by the way. That’s what they told us and some of your mates came home. It wasn’t the war to end all wars though; it just turned out to be a dress rehearsal for the next one. It was bad mate. We didn’t need you at ANZAC Cove we needed you at fucking Kokoda. The Japs came down and tried to make us all their slaves. War came to us then, we were fighting for our survival, and that bloke Churchill still wanted our troops in their theatre of war.

Oh, and the Empire? That finished up in the sixties. Doesn’t exist any more. Its over. See after your war financial speculators on the New York stock exchange crashed the global money system. We would have been alright but the private banks broke the Commonwealth bank and we got no help from Britain. They called in the Great Depression and it was worse than the 1890’s. A lot of women had no men and were forced into prostitution. If you thought it was bad here but you should have tried Germany. The French and the Brits made Germany pay for the whole cost of the war. Fair enough maybe but the Germans were starving. They needed a nationalist leader and they found one; then it was on for young and old. Not that you can be blamed for that. My mother’s father fought the Germans and Italians in North Africa. My Fathers father was a pacifist. He sounded the air raid siren at his factory in Coventry. They both survived the war but my parents didn’t want to stick around for the next one. They came to Australia.

So you know Joe, its kinda funny. You went to the other side of the world to take part in a war. My family came from the other side of the world to get away from wars. Australians are still trotting off to take part in wars on the other side of the world because some big country wants them to. We are still brave and we still give our troops useless shit to fight with. The propaganda has changed a bit but the same old lies still get used, and they still work.

The fact is mate, we’ve forgotten. Rest in peace.


To see some local war memorials go here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-22/11-unsung-war-memorials-to-see-in-tasmania-this-anzac-weekend/6401618


  1. I find this deeply offensive on several levels. What gives you the right to try to publicly denigrate the motivation of Australia and Australians who chose to place a higher value in something other than their own personal safety. Do you think that your 21st century perspective is relevant to the experience of a WW1 digger in any way? Have you considered that had these brave men and women not done their part (and others like them from other allied nations); not risked their own lives for King and Empire that your ancestors may have lived very different lives, or not lived at all? I am also a very firm believer that the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign was the birthplace of Australia as a nation. To compare the first and second World Wars to current overseas deployments is disingenuous. Do you not think that "Islamic State" and other terrorist breeding grounds and sponsors are worth fighting? I am grateful for, and proud of every Australian who puts their own personal safety aside to protect us, our interests and those of our allies. I would like to thank them, and their families for the service and sacrifices that they have made on our behalf, whether you recognise it or not. You may be prepared to "let the years condemn" Mr Peacock, but I am not. You may be prepared to judge them harshly, and out of historical context, with the benefit of subjective hindsight, but I prefer to value their sacrifice. To them I say "Lest we forget", to you I say "Get over yourself!".

    1. Well I did plant a poppy and I didn’t write this piece to be offensive. However I would like to encourage some more thinking about what all that sacrifice was for and what we can learn. I have that in common with the late Governor and I think it honours the fallen better than engaging in mythology. It is hard to project into the past but I note that we are still fighting ill-conceived wars on behalf of great powers contrary to our national interest, so not much has changed.

      For example, if we had not destroyed Iraq ISIS wouldn’t exists. ISIS is a creation of US foreign policy which we supported militarily. Saddam protected Christians in Iraq. ISIS is now massacring them. The US supported terrorists to destablise Syria. ISIS has walked through that door to capture large parts of that country, but elementary truths like that cannot be spoken in Australian public life.

      If our troops had stayed out of WWI (and the Boer war) Australia would be a stronger more prosperous and more united nation. We would have been in better position to defend our interests in WWII when we actually faced a military threat for the first and only time. Yes I do honour those who fought for freedom including my Grandfather (you missed that reference?). We could have been overrun if we lost at Kokoda (hence that reference).

      I recommend you read some more articles on this blog since I talk a lot about military strategy and acquisition. I have campaigned for the RAAF to have a credible fighter force for ten years. I am not a pacifist but I don’t glorify war.