Daily prompt: Nothing to do with chillis

Today is Anzac Day. Most of you don’t know what Anzac Day is – and why should you? You don’t live here, and in terms of world power, Australia…isn’t.

And to those of you who might have heard of it, the importance of Anzac Day must seem little short of bizarre. At dawn on April 25th 1915, troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed in a small cove (later known as Anzac Cove) on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, at the behest of the British High Command. The whole project was ill-conceived. They faced impossible odds in impossible terrain, and from a military point of view, the campaign was a disaster in which more than 8,000 Australian troops died.

So why celebrate something that would really be better swept under the military carpet? Because we’re slightly mad? There is that of course. But what Gallipoli brought home to us, if you like, was that we were mad in our own way: that we were no longer an outpost of Britain; that the courage, hard work and mutual support needed to survive in this huge, alien and often harsh land had forged a spirit of independence, freedom and individuality that was uniquely ours. We were different, and we began to be proud of it.

Obviously a lot has changed in 100 years – but we’re still different, and still proud of it.


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8 Responses to Daily prompt: Nothing to do with chillis

  1. bkpyett says:

    Well said. This year the hype about Anzac Day has been awful. I guess with 100 years, you’d think we’d want to forget how many were killed leaving a whole generation of single women.

  2. Aunt Beulah says:

    This bit of your history fascinated me — I’m learning so much from my Australian blog friends — and I liked the take-away beginning with “…we were mad in our own way…”

  3. Nothing wrong with that x

  4. The British High Command should have been dismissed for total incompetence early in that ill-conceived war. Every battle was ill-conceived. The number of dead and wounded beyond comprehension and when it was all over, I’m pretty sure no one was certain what it had been about. It’s good to remember. I keep hoping we have learned something, but I wonder.

    • I don’t think we’ve learned anything. The Iraq war wasn’t a huge achievement. Or the Vietnam war. Idealistic fervour drives the young, self-righteousness and greed drive the middle-aged. It’s only when you get old you realise how stupid it all is.

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