The centenary of the first world war is being memorialised around the world. But as it fades from living memory, our children’s education sits uneasily with the uncritical demands of commemoration.
Reporter Scott McIntyre lost his job with SBS following several controversial tweets on Anzac Day – but does the Fair Work Act protect the right to political expression?
Scott McIntyre’s legal challenge against being sacked by SBS will be an interesting test of whether the Fair Work Act offers any safe haven for employees to maintain a personal and political identity.
The Lost Battalion, 2015. Acrylic, soil, charcoal and shellac on paper. Lev Vykopal.
Fremantle Arts Centre
Tackling Gallipoli is an onerous challenge: it carries baggage that must be accommodated or unpacked with extreme care. Western Australian artist Lev Vykopal’s two exhibitions offer a mix of reverence, analysis, critique and poetry.
Australian newspaper photographers have always been forbidden to show military failure or fragility.
AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Although more than 100,000 Australians have lost their lives as a result of war service, photographs of our dead have never been published in newspapers.Perhaps we should reconsider this.
‘Let me try and put sacked SBS sports journalist Scott McIntyre’s tweets in historical perspective.’
It is naïve to expect men to kill and die for their country, to live through the horrors of a particularly barbaric war, and to come out the other end unscathed – despite our popular myths.
Drape ‘Anzac’ over an argument and, like a magic cloak, the argument is sacrosanct – even though it shouldn’t be.
AAP/Alexander Turnbull Library
Never has the Anzac tradition been more popular and yet never have its defenders been more chauvinistic, bellicose and intolerant of other viewpoints.
A French field kitchen in use by the French troops within half a mile of the Turkish lines on the southern section of Gallipoli Peninsula, 1915.
As Australians commemorate the Anzacs who died at Gallipoli, spare a thought for the 10,000 French soldiers who also died on the Dardanelles in the first world war.
Livestock wagon with Armenians in the Summer or Autumn 1915.
Historisches Institut der Deutschen Bank, Frankfurt.
In 1915 and 1916, the Ottoman Armenians were destroyed as an organised community and more than one million of their number were killed – just as the Allies’ failed invasion of Gallipoli took place.
Australian Navy, Army and Air Force personnel marched in record numbers at the 2015 Mardi Gras, led by senior Defence officers – a stark contrast to the way gay veterans were treated in the past.
Department of Defence
On Anzac Day 1982, five gay veterans tried to lay a wreath at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, but were turned away by the Shrine Guard and the state RSL president. This year, that won’t happen.
Activists trying to bring attention to the issue of rape in war were arrested for protesting at Anzac Day services in the 1980s.
ACT Heritage Library
Protests on Anzac Day, rather than being ‘utterly alien to Australians’, have a long tradition and embody the democratic right to dissent for which the troops fought.
What is obscured in our understanding of returned servicemen’s problems is the private pain of families who bear the brunt of these psychological strains.
Australia has continually faced a returned soldier crisis. This is something that marked men returning from all the wars of modern memory – from the Great War to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
We are used to thinking of Gaza as a war-torn stretch of ground. A place where life goes grimly on in the face of an intractable conflict. A graveyard not only for civilians caught in the crossfire, but…
Lest we forget is an expression with dignified origins, a rich history and a budding linguistic fossil.
This Anzac Day the words “lest we forget” will often be spoken. It’s a usage that we don’t otherwise hear. Why do linguistic fossils such as “lest we forget” linger – and how do they help us remember the fallen?
Labor has long had leaders, such as former prime minister Paul Keating, capable of speaking the language of Anzac.
There is a complicated story involving the Anzac legend and the left between the 1920s and the 1960s which historians have barely begun to untangle.
The Australian flag is flown at Anzac Day parades but it’s not the flag that soldiers at Gallipoli fought under.
AAP Image/ Dan Himbrechts
When Australian soldiers fought at Gallipoli, they did so under the Union Jack. Our flag has changed since then and debates about national identity have shifted. Is it now time for a new flag?
Protesters attend a huge anti-conscription rally at Yarra Bank in Melbourne, 1916.
National Library of Australia, n6487142
The democratic freedoms Australians hold dear today – freedom of the press, assembly and speech – were won on home soil by courageous women and men who sacrificed much, but rarely recognised for it.
The recent concentration on Victoria Cross heroes as major ‘carriers’ of the Anzac legend has skewed Australian military history.
Australians now seem so fascinated by the Victoria Cross that such attention has begun to get in the way of a balanced perspective on its place in military history.
Men like Australian official correspondent, and later official war historian, Charles Bean (pictured on the island of Imbros, in 1915) understood the myth-making power of images.
Source: Australian War Memorial
The Anzac legend is under siege by marketers trying to cash in: but the government also has a branding stake.
Would the Anzac Day game of two-up be a more meaningful commemoration if it were still illegal?
Anzac Day is the one day of the year it’s legal to play two-up. If we want to retain the thrill that was so important to the diggers, we’d keep it illegal rather than sanitising the practice.
The Gallipoli campaign is frequently celebrated as the ‘birth’ of Australia as a nation, but were we already well on our way?
Every country has its most symbolic year from each of the world wars, and can trace the consequences of the bloodletting that accompanied the global realignment of the last century.