April 25th in Australia is ANZAC Day – a holiday to commemorate the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces (for more info, check out: https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac/anzac-tradition/)
There is something unique about the absurdity of celebrating the absolutely horrific circumstances of the Gallipoli landing and what followed with oatmeal cookies. There has been some discussion of ‘Australian values’ in the media here recently, and to me this absurdity seems to come as close as anything else to a summation of the national character. But despite spending a lovely, floury afternoon supervising my daughter and bff’s son baking Anzacs, the history of biscuit is not what’s been on my mind.
I have mixed feelings about ANZAC day. While I have the utmost gratitude and respect for the brave souls who have made, and are making, unbounded sacrifices for us to enjoy the freedoms we so often take for granted, I can’t abide the romanticisation and glorification of war. I find the willingness of our government to continually engage in atrocities at home and overseas absolutely disgraceful, and the increasing normalisation of fear-mongering and falsely inflated nationalism make me heartsick and tired.
But, as we again teeter globally on the brink of g*d-knows-what, I think that days like this provide a vital opportunity for reflection, to consider how and why certain things have come to pass, and at what cost. And to plan the changes we can each actively make to build a better future, or any future at all.