Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On ANZAC Day and the 'ANZAC Spirit'

With the 100th year commemorations of WWI there comes an outpouring vicarious emotion and jingoistic fervour as both individuals and states alike clamour to align themselves with the myth of righteous sacrifice. There are two phrases that will be repeated endlessly in this part of the Pacific: “Gallipoli: The birth of a Nation” and the “The coming of age”. Both really grate with me. I’ve just been in Australia and witnessed first-hand the exploitation of BRANZAC: clothing, ornaments and trinkets, maps, books and TV docs that all point to the honour and sacrifice made by the ANZACs, a cashing in on the “spirit of the ANZACs. That spirit – “honour, sacrifice, mate-ship” is the unashamed currency both the New Zealand and Australian Prime Minsters recently chose to spend in when justifying their decisions and support for troops to return to the same part of the world where all this started: The Middle East. Granted, Iraq is slightly south on the map but the underlying, unspoken rationale for sending the troops is the a same. Commerce - The same driver as gross commercialisation of the ANZACs, and the same driver that brought any of us to Aotearoa in the first place. Cry all you want but I am pessimistic...