This is again the time of year when some New Zealanders consider to make the pilgrimage to Gallipoli for ANZAC day celebrations.
Two years ago after the centenary I have written about what is wrong with all these ANZAC day “celebrations” in my post under the title “100 years Gallipoli: ANZAC propaganda still working overtime“.
Now and then two things about the continuing ANZAC propaganda irk me most. For one the claim that the poor chaps who lost there lives on Turkish soil all died as heroes. One died sitting on the latrine being hit by a grenade. The next died storming up the hill to take out a machine gun position. Another died leaving the safety of cover to retrieve a wounded comrade (re Willie Apiata). According to the ANZAC propaganda they all died as heroes. This not only empties the word “hero” of its meaning but demeans the real heroes of war.
The other is the lie that this campaign and the Great War for that matter was about that we could live in freedom and democracy instead just a struggle of competing powers for superiority.
General Sir Ian Hamilton the one most responsible for the disaster whitewashing the report of the Dardanelles Commission warned Churchill :
If the people of Australia and New Zealand feel their sacrifices went for nothing, then never expect them again to have any sort of truck with our superior direction in preparations for future wars.
The propaganda has been working like a charm. New Zealanders have trundled along to every jolly war going if Britain or in the case of Vietnam the US asked them to. Helen Clark was the first New Zealand leader to resist in the case of the second gulf war. The one also based on a lie that time about weapons of mass destruction.
Freedom and Democracy
Besides the recent terror threats the people who peddle or believe the ANZAC lie about freedom and democracy should this year have even more reason to stay away from Turkey.
As a guest contribution I add the unedited thoughts of a learned friend :
THE DOUBTFUL LEGAL TURMOIL NEVER CEASES
With much turmoil reported in Ankara and the rest of Turkey and with some 60,000 people apparently detained and arraigned no matter their rank or profession it must be clear that our representatives of those who fought, were wounded or died at Gallipoli just 102 years ago must now stay at home in New Zealand.
With a president staking his future on a populist reaction of support by which he and they can condemn those arrested we must look to ourselves. Erdogan openly now discusses the death penalty for many of those whom he now has in his prisons when such a penalty does not exist there. He is doing and threatening things of state importance which cannot be done except by the existing law. And he is openly in favour with the crowds when he says that the sentence of death must be looked at in respect of the worst of his enemies. There does not appear to be any statute on the books which authorises execution of anyone by anyone else least of all by the state.
We abolished the use of the death penalty in the 1980s. Long before that we declared that retrospective legislation was something which we would not sanction from our Parliament or ask the Queen’s Representative to provide her Assent. Both those constitutional safeguards appear to be at risk now in the land of the repressive Ottoman Empire from which our foe Atta Turk created the modern Turkish state. It is that state which now welcomes us to the Dardenelles and the hills and ravines, ridges and shorelines where the history of the ANZACs began.
However we cannot stand alongside our Gallipoli hosts again until those most serious cornerstones for which those men of ours suffered and died and which seem at risk of deletion by Erdogan from Turkey’s lexicon of laws and been declared to be safe. Our society is one of the Rule of Law, a society which at its core is being dismantled in the very land of Atta Turk. He promised the mothers of our fallen that they there were now the children of his own land. Would they want that. Would they have gone so far in order to ensure that the democratic life with its safeguards here would not be lost to history? I think not.
Sadly as present things stand we ought not to have our present day servicemen and young people with all their great intent be seen at Gallipoli. They could only be seen to be supporting a regime and its illegalities of the death penalty and the retrospective legislation which will be required. In our constitutional framework both acts of a captured and compliant legislature would not possible. Nor should they be attack available to President Erdogan who this week is reported as having undertaken an ‘indiscriminate purge’ …and in particular ‘to secular opposition and silence independent media in the country‘. That is an unwelcome start for any dictatorial plans: First kill the messenger!
7th March 2017
So everyone who believes in freedom and democracy should now stay away from Gallipoli. This would send a real message in support of freedom and democracy.