Things I wish I never had to hear again on Anzac Day

  • The ‘high diction’ (as literary historian Paul Fussell called it) of terms like ‘the fallen’ and ‘sacrifice’.
  • ‘Anzac Day doesn’t glorify war’ (no, but it does sentimentalise and de-politicise it).
  • ‘They died for our freedom’. (Fighting for the British Empire in the First World War or to prop up the corrupt regime of South Vietnam?)
  • The fake Kemal Atatürk ‘Johnnies and Mehmets’ quote.
  • Silence about the wars of invasion that took place within Aotearoa and Australia.

To be clear, I have no problem with people mourning those who died in wars overseas or who returned from those wars physically and psychologically wounded. But I am tired of the cliches that, every year, get pressed back into service on this day.

Meanwhile, with the military-themed street names of Waiwhetū and Waterloo having been in the news over the weekend, it seems timely to refer back to my posts about these names (here and here).

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