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John Dolva

OZ!

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Edited by John Dolva

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(email received yeasterday:)

"Capt. Hugo Throssell VC

Sunset Memorial

ANZAC Day Peace Commemoration

Hugo Throssell was awarded the VC for bravery at Hill 60, Gallipoli, where he was severely wounded.

He returned to active service and was again wounded in the 1917 Battle of Gaza, in which his brother was killed.

Hugo Throssell did not support ANZAC Day. He became a peace campaigner and refused to glorify war.

Join us to remember all those killed in war, all those disabled in war, all those orphaned in war, all women raped in war, the Earth damaged by war and the war against Aboriginal Australians.

Gather in the grounds of Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers'Centre

11 Old York Road, Greenmount

(corner Old York Road & Great Eastern Highway)

5:00 pm ANZAC Day, April 25

Hills No War Alliance 9299 6453"

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This is Australia

Ganggajang - Sound Of Then

Yothu Yindi - Treaty

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''The Meaning of Anzac'' - address delivered at the Australian War Memorial, Anzac Day 2004, Garth Pratten :

''At 5pm on the 25th of April 1915, the position in the hills above Anzac Cove was exceedingly desperate. The Anzac troops had failed to capture their objectives on the third ridge and a combination of the rugged terrain and poor communications and leadership had left them scattered in isolated parties ranging in strength from several hundred, to pairs and trios fighting alone in the scrub. Determined Turkish counter-attacks were driving in the Anzac frontline, such as it was, and increasing numbers of stragglers were wending their way back down the gullies towards the beach – some wounded, others scared out of their wits, and some simply looking for that most vital, but intangible of all military commodities – leadership. In the light of this situation, senior Australian officers were already beginning to raise the possibility of an immediate evacuation after nightfall.The ensuing discussions were robust. Notions of national pride and military virtue told them to hold on, judgement and common sense urged a withdrawal. Eventually, around 11pm, evacuation was recommended to the senior British commander, General Sir Ian Hamilton. Consultation with the navy, however, revealed that an evacuation in the five or so hours that remained before dawn was impossible, and in fact would not be possible for at least two days. Confident that progress by the British troops landed on the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula would relieve the pressure at Anzac, Hamilton urged the troops there to ‘dig, dig, dig’ until they were safe. This they did. Ultimately, the campaign lasted for 8 months and killed over 8000 Australian troops, but achieved nothing more than had been accomplished on that first day.

I raise the question of an evacuation on the 25th of April 1915 to reflect on how weremember Anzac today and what this means to us as a society. How many of you knew that fighting at Anzac could have ended on the very day that it began? We have all heard of the how the Anzacs were landed in the wrong place, how they were slaughtered on the beach, how their bravery was squandered by British bungling, and how the plan never had any chance of success. How often do you hear, however, that Anzac Cove was actually one of the safest places along that stretch of the Gallipoli coast for the Anzacs to land, how they quickly advanced into the lightly defended hills and relatively few of them were killed on the beach, that failures in Australian command and leadership were as much to blame for the disaster at Anzac as was any bungling by British brass hats, or that up until about midday on 25 April the Anzac landings actually stood a good chance of success?

There is a danger that by clothing real historical events in a thick coat of myth and cliché that we will lose touch with the experience of those involved and its significance. History is the means by which we understand who we are, and the basis upon which we make the judgements that determine our future. We do well to remember the words of an Australian infantryman from the First World War who wrote: ‘For Christ’s sake write a book on the life of an infantryman and by doing so you will quickly prevent these shocking tragedies.’

Australian troops on the 25th of April 1915 were woefully ill-prepared for what they would face, yet in the 1920s the Anzac legend was so pervasive that some politicians seriously argued that the permanent armed forces be disbanded because the First World War had proved that any young Australian, given a rifle and the most basic of training, would become a first class soldier. This is a vivid illustration of why we must do our best to understand the past in all its complexity. To do so, does not demean the values we honour today, if anything it raises them in our esteem. The Memorial in which we now stand was founded on the principle of commemoration through understanding. The Anzac legend appeals to us because it embodies universal human values – courage, resourcefulness, determination, selflessness. In the fragmented world in which we live it provides the sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves that many of us crave.

Unfortunately we need to be on our guard against the manipulation of this feeling, the transformation of what we uphold as the Anzac values into little more than clichés. We are lucky that politicians in the 1920s had theforesight to protect the use of the word ‘Anzac’ in legislation, otherwise I am sure that we would have everything from Anzac brand TVs to Anzac brand toilet paper. We often hear our sporting celebrities glibly comment that they are upholding the spirit of Anzac. Yes, courage, camaraderie, determination are all needed on the sports field, but at the same time the sports field is not the battlefield. There is one elemen tmissing. To borrow from the often all too poignant comedy series Blackadder – ‘the Harrow fullbacks are not armed with heavy machine guns’. We need to remember that at its core any spirit of Anzac is also intimately involved with killing and death. As human beings the most precious thing we have are our lives, and thus the most awesome responsibility we can be accorded by our society is the power to take them from others. What we recognise today is that twin burden that our service people have carried, the ultimate selflessness in the name of their country.Look around you, there are 102,000 names on these walls. People often have difficulty in visualising numbers, so I will borrow on an old trick from my high school history teacher. 102,000 people is roughly a capacity crowd at the MCG, two and half capacity crowds at the Sydney Football Stadium, or four capacity crowds at Canberra Stadium. Every one of these 102,000 people had families, friends, loved ones and workmates. Think of all the people important in your life, of the people you work with, play sport with, get drunk with; the people you’d invite to a party, or a wedding, or who would arrive at a family funeral. Multiply that number of people by 102,000 and you have a very crude measure of the impact of war upon this country. War and the experience of it has been a powerful force in Australian history and this partly explains the continuing significance accorded to Anzac Day.

Anzac Day has evolved throughout its own history to meet the needs of the community. In the 1920s and the late 1940s it was a sombre day of mourning for a society that had experienced the bitter cost of war at first-hand.

In the 1960s and 1970s it was debated and contested as modern Australia sought to work out what it was, and where it was going, and from the 1980s onwards it has progressively become a focus for national pride. Anzac Day will evolve still, and we should not stop it. It has, and will, continue to mean different things to different people.*

What we do need to do is ensure that the essence of what it is all about – the 102,000 that surround us this evening – remains at its core. 102,000 people who experienced both fear and courage, success and failure, who were both selfless and selfish, and who lived and who died.

It is now just after 11am in Baghdad. No doubt, the Australian personnel there marked Anzac Day with a dawn service a few hours ago. It was probably a much more subtle affair than that which many of us attended here this morning and, I would venture, much more poignant. We are fortunate here in Australia that we can leave home in the morning with the reasonable expectation that we will return alive at the end of the day. This morning, like they did yesterday, and like they will tomorrow, Australian personnel in Baghdad started their day in the knowledge that there is a chance they will not see the sun set, that today may be the day when they will have to kill, or be killed. It is the same grim reality that Australian soldiers, rowing towards the dark,brooding hills of Gallipoli, faced on that first Anzac Day in 1915.

I would like you to think about what living with that knowledge means. It is only then that we can truly appreciate the meaning of this day.''

_________________________

*For me it means something very sad. Australians are indeed supremely brave and self sacrificing. They, like cannon fodder throughout the world, are exploited by their leaders and forced into inhuman situations to live or die according to chance, in this case a totally futile avoidable endeavour, leaving behind dead in Turkey, and ruined lives at home. ANZAC day should be commemmorated as an example of the forced inability of the common soldier to dictate events and instead have to suffer the ill concieved commands of their 'leaders'.

War serves no purpose but to recreate markets, destroying outdated infrastructure, and the disposal of excess labor and to prevent humanity from uniting against their true enemies, their leaders.

This creates the Australian spirit. The defiance of flawed authority. Titles continue to mean little, respect is to the person, not the position in society. And that, to me, is the true ANZAC spirit today, comradeship in the face of insurmountable adversity.

Edited by John Dolva

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Thank you for this touching post, John.

Anzac Cove today

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Thank you to Cigdem, from Turkey, and Evan, from OZ.

In a few generations we come together over a time when our Governments were at war.

Lest We Forget

Laurence Binyon

"For the Fallen"

"...They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them. ..."

Joan Baez

(with some evocative scenes of OZ countryside, (note the asymmetry of the trees, very different from many parts of the Nothern Hemisphere).)

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Redgum

(an australian band from Adelaide in South OZ, where thursday nights are boring, the city is flat as a pancake (except for the hills surrounding it) with what used to be one of the spookiest entry to a capital city when coming from Melbourne way, (they've flattened and straightened out the road now, but some of the descents are still great for being stupid on) and the temperature can stay 36 celsius + day and night for days on end, unforunately not very good beaches. Sometimes dossing down in the central park or by the river helps, and when driving out of this sometime hell hole, no clothes and an esky full of ice to scoop over oneself is a trial of endurance)) singing about another futility:

I was only 19

Edited by John Dolva

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(f..k bidvertiser)

Where to go from here?

I'm reluctant to leave Perth, so I'll jump back once in a while. It's such a beautiful place with a few thousand kilometers of beach to watch the sunset from stretching north and south.

To the South lies the Blackwood River basin which one can spend weeks with an old army survey map exploring caves, great fishing spots, water holes and so on.

To the North lies nowhere dotted with somewheres all majestic in their own way.

East and North-East lies a vast unknown.

Past the Black Stump the dusty roads go everywhere and nowhere. That's where I'm drawn next.

How to get there?

Head for the morning sun and trust you'll get somewhere before running out of water, petrol, having a breakdown, or a crash.

Driving the outback is an experience one needs to be somewhat prepared for, and even then until experiencing it one can only hope the preparations have sunk in. So, a brief summary of what to look out for.

...but before leaving perth, one more AC/DC.

Bon, I'm sure it's not coca-cola... (and had you known gg is a rockspider you wouldn't have mentioned his name)

Little Lover

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Think I'll stick around here till next summer.

AccaDacca's gonna be here and their two concerts sold out in 7 hours. Hopefully they'll put on a couple more, otherwise I'll park in a side street and just listen..

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.

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At freo markets, reflective poster of Ned Kelly in front of the Eureka Stockade Flag emblem, with a BFG

Edited by John Dolva

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Perth, on a full moon night...

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Some alternatives on the OZ political scene:

glf01.jpg

glf02.jpg

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