More ceremony for the temple of the death cult

By 17 April, 2013 92

war memorial

The ABC reports on ever more elaborate rites being laid on at the War Memorial.

Speaking as someone who used to go to the dawn service back when it fitted inside the memorial* I’m increasingly disturbed by the trend this is part of.

The national anthem will be played, the public will be able to lay wreaths and a uniformed member of the defence force will read a short account of the life of one of the people on the memorial’s Roll of Honour.

The daily ceremony will end with the playing of the last post and it will also be streamed on the internet.

The Memorial’s director Brendan Nelson says he felt a more meaningful closing ceremony was needed.

It started under the Howard Government, the ever increasing fetishism of Anzac as the last veterans who could have told them off finally disappeared.

Conservatives have always liked the authoritarian nature of Christianity, but it’s imperfect for them.

That hippy preaching love, forgiveness and running the bankers out of the temple? Troubling.

Whereas a militaristic death cult immortalising the sacrifice of the young for the maintenance of the old men’s position of power?

Wrap it in a flag, play the last post, and bow your head as you walk past their name etched in bronze?

That’s more like it isn’t it?

* The author comes from multi-generational service family and is all in favour of remembering the fallen. But all things should be in moderation.


UPDATE: The memorial’s media release is available in full.

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92 Responses to More ceremony for the temple of the death cult
#1
Grimm11:00 am, 17 Apr 13

I’m also from a multi-generational service family, one of those generations being myself. People like the author of this sicken me. I’d call bullshit that they have ever had anything to do with the ADF, and are almost guaranteed to be a greens voter.

The people we remember on ANZAC day gave their lives so you could live yours in the way you do. Calling the ADF a “death cult” is just pathetic. You need an uppercut.

#2
FioBla11:08 am, 17 Apr 13

Iron Man 3 will be on screens that day.

#3
FioBla11:16 am, 17 Apr 13

Grimm said :

People like the author… are almost guaranteed to be a greens voter.

Egads! Revealed!

#4
enrique11:28 am, 17 Apr 13

Calling it a death-cult is a bit OTT… perhaps tone that one down a bit.

However, the glorification of the whole thing is getting a bit worrying. Last year I overheard some yr 6 kids talking about how ‘cool’ they thought it all was and how ‘excited’ they were that they were going to the service.

Nobody involved in a war who would have seen a bullet rip another young mans life & limb apart would ever think such things were very cool. Nobody should ever think like that.

Solemn remembrance? Yes, absolutely.

Fanfare and big-event marketing? …I’m not so sure it’s appropriate.

—–
On a similar topic, why isn’t it called the ‘Peace Memorial’?

Wouldn’t that send a better message? i.e. let’s celebrate the sacrifice these people made so we now have peace and stability… let’s encourage people to celebrate all the years of non-conflict… Yes, let’s acknowledge the terrible events that took place in the past, but let’s put more emphasis on the positives associated with friendships, negotiation, collaboration, etc. rather than continuously opening up old wounds. It would be a minor tweak but the future outcomes would be so much more constructive and positive.

#5
smiling politely11:33 am, 17 Apr 13

I heard about this on the radio this morning and my immediate reaction was that the new arrangements sound a bit over the top and jingoistic-y. There should be less ceremony and more silence. Less carry-on and more contemplation. You’ll raise ire with your choice of wording John but I completely see where you’re coming from.

#6
Jim Jones12:10 pm, 17 Apr 13

Grimm said :

The people we remember on ANZAC day gave their lives so you could live yours in the way you do. Calling the ADF a “death cult” is just pathetic. You need an uppercut.

No they didn’t.

WWI had precisely fe^k-all to do with ‘freedom’ and ‘our glorious way of life’ and all that rot.

WWII perhaps, but not WWI, and certainly not Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

This is not to diminish the work of the armed forces, but they idea that they ‘defend our freedom’ and our way of life is dependent upon their sacrifice is utter bullsh1t. Our ‘way of life’ and ‘freedom’ are more dependent upon politicians than soldiers, and more centred on economics than military excursions.

I’m all up for remembering the deaths of fallen soldiers, but lets not surround the day in meaningless jingoism with no basis in reality. A realistic look at who soldiers were and are is far more emotionally moving and important than this stupid hyperbole.

#7
p112:31 pm, 17 Apr 13

Grimm said :

Calling the ADF a “death cult” is just pathetic.

While JB’s intentionally confrontational title irks me slightly, I find your post irritates and offends me more? Perhaps it is because you don’t seem to understand his post?

BTW, I also come from a multi generational service family. Seems many of us do.

#8
EvanJames12:32 pm, 17 Apr 13

Grimm said :

People like the author of this sicken me. I’d call bullshit that they have ever had anything to do with the ADF, and are almost guaranteed to be a greens voter.

Why do people from the conservative side of politics always resort to ad homs when disagreeing with an opinion?

#9
BimboGeek12:37 pm, 17 Apr 13

What Jim Jones said.

And also a reminder that soldiers aren’t actually hired to die for their country, although they are sometimes deployed to help the other side die for theirs. Generally you don’t get butterflies that fart rainbows just by sacrificing a few kids.

War doesn’t cause peace. In fact you could argue that the tensions that lead up to any given war were caused by the mess left by the previous war. Peace, prosperity and a positive way of life are the result of getting over the pain and working for pacific solutions to humanity’s problems.

It’s definitely important to remember the bad times, but sadly there’s little to celebrate, just many painful lessons to learn.

#10
thebrownstreak6912:39 pm, 17 Apr 13

Nasty stuff. What have you done, RiotACT?

#11
Rollersk8r12:43 pm, 17 Apr 13

You’re being ridiculous. I have many issues with the commercialisation of ANZAC Day, the flag and what patriotism means these days. Those issues have nothing to do with this. It is a war memorial, after all. It should be an honour for serving personnel to be chosen for the daily service – and it also should add meaning for those present.

I admit – it sounds over the top at first. However, it makes a lot of sense to start a tradition like this for the overwhelming majority of visitors who attend on the other 364 days of the year.

#12
Jim Jones12:44 pm, 17 Apr 13

It’s also particularly stupid that people feel that they have to preface statements on this sort of thing by listing their family’s involvement with the armed forces. That doesn’t sound like much of a ringing endorsement of ‘our way of life’ and ‘our freedoms’ if people’s opinions on any matter are validated by their closeness to the armed forces … (actually, that sounds a lot closer to the plot of Heinlein’s fascist state in Starship Troopers).

And it’s quite telling that your criticism of JBs post ends with a threat (even if it is a throwaway mock threat) of violence.

Even the disparagement of Greens voters is pretty funny. Are you implying that the diggers died for our freedom, but if anyone chooses to use that freedom to vote for a political party that you don’t like then all bets are off?

#13
Postalgeek1:10 pm, 17 Apr 13

In my opinion, you don’t fall into the moderate camp if you start calling the AWM the ‘temple of the death cult’. JB, you’re in danger of occupying the other ugly side of the pendulum.

Grimm said :

I I’d call bullshit that they have ever had anything to do with the ADF, and are almost guaranteed to be a greens voter.

Yeah, let’s drag bogan politics into a AWM discussion. You’re as bad as those you criticise.

#14
davo1011:27 pm, 17 Apr 13

Grimm said :

The people we remember on ANZAC day gave their lives so you could live yours in the way you do.

Yeah, pretty sure that if Australia had stayed out of all of those foreign adventures my life would be the same as it is now.

Grimm said :

Calling the ADF a “death cult” is just pathetic.

Care to point out exactly where in the post that the ADF is called a death cult? I think not quite understanding the concept.

Grimm said :

You need an uppercut.

Ah, yes, rational debate always the best way to sort these things out.

#15
qbngeek1:28 pm, 17 Apr 13

Grimm said :

I’m also from a multi-generational service family, one of those generations being myself. People like the author of this sicken me. I’d call bullshit that they have ever had anything to do with the ADF, and are almost guaranteed to be a greens voter.

The people we remember on ANZAC day gave their lives so you could live yours in the way you do. Calling the ADF a “death cult” is just pathetic. You need an uppercut.

You need an uppercut. I am also from a ‘multi-generational service family’ (including myself) and can tell you that the amount of people whose deaths directly protected our way of life is crap. I am as proud of our armed services as anyone and will always shake the hand of anyone who served or is serving and thank them for the job that they do. But my many still serving friends all the share the same opinion as me in regards to the marketing that currently surrounds the ANZACs and their legacy.

Less marketing and more rememberance is in order. I know I will not be at the AWM on ANZAC day, in fact I will be in Braidwood with a bunch of serving and ex-serving mates. We will be drinking, sharing ‘war stories’ and thinking abouut the mates we have lost and everyone else that has served in the forces whether they have lost their lives or not. In fact, try remembering their families as well and while you are at it, thank and hug some serving members partners for the sacrifice that they go through as well.

#16
Deref1:28 pm, 17 Apr 13

“Wrap it in a flag, play the last post, and bow your head as you walk past their name etched in bronze?

That’s more like it isn’t it?”
Well said that man.

This is all part of the growing Australian jingoism promoted by John Hunt the Coward and his ilk. By now this US-style flag-waving hoopla should have just about dies out, but instead it’s on the increase.

I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with a decorated-for-bravery veteran of WWII a few months ago. He’s horrified by this commercialisation and glorification of war which, he said. we should be doing everything we can to forget.

#17
Here_and_Now1:30 pm, 17 Apr 13

JohnBoy may be right. There’s a time and place for this sort of thing.

Some kind of venue for remembering and commemorating conflicts of the past.

A…memorial to war or something.

#18
PM1:43 pm, 17 Apr 13

smiling politely said :

I heard about this on the radio this morning and my immediate reaction was that the new arrangements sound a bit over the top and jingoistic-y. There should be less ceremony and more silence. Less carry-on and more contemplation. You’ll raise ire with your choice of wording John but I completely see where you’re coming from.

I don’t see it as a death cult. But nor do I think having such views means one is a hippy green (for want of a better term).

I like the name War Memorial because to call it a Peace Memorial indicates peace is no longer with us. Sure, we are in conflicts all the time, but let’s say peace is an aspirational goal. We commemorate those who died, not to glorify war, but to allow a sense of solemnity to accompany the memories of those we’ve lost.

I’d never begrudge a six year old for thinking waking up early to be part of something special is cool. They’ll get the heaviness to the day as they mature.

#19
IrishPete1:46 pm, 17 Apr 13

This choice “The new tradition will be launched tonight when VC recipient Corporal Daniel Keighran will read the story of Private Robert Poate who was killed in Afghanistan last year.” seems extremely political. Who would dare to complain about a recently deceased Digger, being eulogised by a recent VC-winner? Yet Afghanistan is a controversial invasion and war.

Well, johnboy dares, and good on you jb (though I don’t beleive you vote Greens). And isn’t it a bit pompous to describe this as a “new tradition”? isn’t that a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron?

Australia has been involved in 10 or a dozen wars, and has always gone to war voluntarily, never in self-defence. An objective assessment might therefore classify Australia as a warmongering nation. Even in WW2 the Allies involvement was somewhat later than it should have been (the war may have been smalelr and shorter if they hadn’t appeased Germany for so long). Australia may have been threatened by Japan, but only because Australia had gone to war with Japan’s allies. Do we need to enter every war available to us? Have we no independent judgement? I’d be much more proud of a country’s history of neutrality than of wars, neutrality is a much tougher decision.

Who said war represents a failure of diplomacy? They were right. Every war is a failure, regardless of the outcome.

IP

#20
poetix2:45 pm, 17 Apr 13

Grimm said :

…You need an uppercut.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

In the context, this little almost-threat to the writer is quite funny.

#21
bundah2:52 pm, 17 Apr 13

poetix said :

Grimm said :

…You need an uppercut.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

In the context, this little almost-threat to the writer is quite funny.

I’m sure he’s able to take it on the chin,no problemo.

#22
Thumper2:58 pm, 17 Apr 13

Personally I’d like to see ANZAC day reverted into a public holiday for those who are serving, have served, or can show a close link to someone who has served.

It would save me from the despairing sight of pissed jingoistic bogans playing two up as if they have earnt the right to do so by simply being born in this country.

#23
Jim Jones3:18 pm, 17 Apr 13

Thumper said :

Personally I’d like to see ANZAC day reverted into a public holiday for those who are serving, have served, or can show a close link to someone who has served.

It would save me from the despairing sight of pissed jingoistic bogans playing two up as if they have earnt the right to do so by simply being born in this country.

Meh … they’ll do that crap on Australia day anyway. You can’t remove a public holiday just because some people are d***heads. That’s completely unorstrayan.

#24
chewy143:35 pm, 17 Apr 13

EvanJames said :

Grimm said :

People like the author of this sicken me. I’d call bullshit that they have ever had anything to do with the ADF, and are almost guaranteed to be a greens voter.

Why do people from the conservative side of politics always resort to ad homs when disagreeing with an opinion?

I think it’s more a trait of ignorant retards myself.

And it’s definitely not a “conservative” thing, there’s plenty of stupid on all sides of the ideological spectrum.

#25
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd4:11 pm, 17 Apr 13

Grimm said :

I’m also from a multi-generational service family, one of those generations being myself. People like the author of this sicken me. I’d call bullshit that they have ever had anything to do with the ADF, and are almost guaranteed to be a greens voter.

The people we remember on ANZAC day gave their lives so you could live yours in the way you do. Calling the ADF a “death cult” is just pathetic. You need an uppercut.

Ummm what is being a greens member have to do with anything?

#26
ScienceRules4:31 pm, 17 Apr 13

Jim Jones nailed it. Repeatedly. Sir, it would be a pleasure to buy you several beers

There is a major difference between honouring young people chewed up by the war machine and using the occasion as blatant propaganda. This glorification makes it increasingly difficult to criticise the current insane/illegal/unjustified colonial conflicts without making it an attack on the troops we send to fight them.

If the government were truly serious about “supporting the troops”, which they aren’t, how about looking at improving the services to veterans and indexing their meager pensions? Just as a start…

#27
DrKoresh4:47 pm, 17 Apr 13

Grimm said :

I’m also from a multi-generational service family, one of those generations being myself. People like the author of this sicken me. I’d call bullshit that they have ever had anything to do with the ADF, and are almost guaranteed to be a greens voter.

The people we remember on ANZAC day gave their lives so you could live yours in the way you do. Calling the ADF a “death cult” is just pathetic. You need an uppercut.

I love the argument you always get from meatheads like this that essentially boil down to:
‘Those soldiers died so you can enjoy liberties like freedom of speech, so you’d better just shut the Hell up’

Grimm, mate, you’re one who needs an uppercut. You should re-enlist so you can go take that aggression out on some piss-poor third world country in defence of our freedoms.

I have a great respect for the service-people of our country, but I hate people who think the ADF is beyond reproach, or that criticising the glorification of senseless slaughter is a sign of disloyalty and also apparently (and somewhat bizarrely) Greens membership.

Pull your head in, Grimm, serviceman or not you’re acting like a proper tool.

#28
no idea5:51 pm, 17 Apr 13

I am not sure what JB hates. is it the War Memorial, the ADF , Servicemen/ women who have died, people who are proud of their families for having served? It is sad that some people seem to enjoy taking something that is important to other people and deciding they have a right to disrespect that belief. The closing ceremony seems a tad out of step with the local expectations but please don’t forget the AWM attracts a lot of foreign visitors who only see this place once, so the closing ceremony may be special to them , maybe look at the big picture and stop your personal bias from creeping into your reporting.

#29
Masquara5:59 pm, 17 Apr 13

JB as if you haven’t been moved by the recorded voices of the four or so Sandakan survivors in the space at the AWM that also pictures the 1500 who died. You can, you know, be Canberra’s beloved swaggering hipster trendoid faux-hippie beer-swilling culture tragic and Mini Me-dia mogul (mix & match to your self-regard) AND acknowledge our war dead!

#30
johnboy6:00 pm, 17 Apr 13

no idea said :

I am not sure what JB hates. is it the War Memorial, the ADF , Servicemen/ women who have died, people who are proud of their families for having served? It is sad that some people seem to enjoy taking something that is important to other people and deciding they have a right to disrespect that belief. The closing ceremony seems a tad out of step with the local expectations but please don’t forget the AWM attracts a lot of foreign visitors who only see this place once, so the closing ceremony may be special to them , maybe look at the big picture and stop your personal bias from creeping into your reporting.

I hate none of those things.

We’re doing it for foreign visitors now?

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