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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
#61
schmeah5:02 pm, 19 Apr 13

Yet again, JB proves that having a critical opinion of this country’s infatuation with defence memorials is a sure bet to popular damnation. Yes, yes I also come from a multi-generational service family and have no issue with people who make a choice to serve but I do get fed up with the big-wigs, who happily send other people’s sons and daughters into conflict just so they can make political allies and then glamorise their service so as to feel better about themselves when it all goes pear shaped, a-la Iraq II.. and who better to show us how it’s done than Brendon Nelson; what did he say about Iraq again “everyone knows we’re only there for the oil”.

All the wars throughout history and all the maimed, dead and traumatised soldiers we have to memorialise and we still haven’t stopped fighting other people’s wars.

Oh, and I don’t vote Green .. ever.

#62
poetix5:39 pm, 19 Apr 13

Stevian said :

Barcham said :

Is everyone here related to someone who has served? What a coincidence!

We should all hang out and be friends. :)

I have relatives that served in the army during WWI & II. The German army. My family came to Australia in the 1950′s. Am I allowed to celebrate ANZAC day?

Only if you wear lederhosen and serve beer to the rest of us…(-:

#63
Pork Hunt5:58 pm, 19 Apr 13

Stevian said :

Barcham said :

Is everyone here related to someone who has served? What a coincidence!

We should all hang out and be friends. :)

I have relatives that served in the army during WWI & II. The German army. My family came to Australia in the 1950′s. Am I allowed to celebrate ANZAC day?

Celebrate is the wrong word. Commemmorate is perhaps more suited.
I’m sure the Turks bow their heads in rememberance in some shape or form on the day.
Since the Germans and Turks were allies, your question has to be answered in the affirmative.

#64
poetix6:34 pm, 19 Apr 13

Grimm said :

Who the hell said anything about ‘freedom’ or any of the other nonsense? During both WWI and WWII, a lot of young men gave their lives for their country. Had it not been for those men, the world would be a very different place, and it’s quite possible we would all be speaking German and goose stepping these days.

And what the hell do you expect when some little left wing peanut posts this kind of s***, when people who have served, seen conflict and seen mates die read it? I’m one of them, and I find it offensive when some little d***head calls the War Memorial the “temple of the death cult”, basically s***ting on the defence force and the memory of our fallen soldiers, and then tries to tell us how we should observe ANZAC day. It’s not as if we are having an old Soviet style Military parade, or celebrating war.

Are you aware of the irony here? You are criticising the Soviet Union for how they commemorated World War II. No country did more to defeat the Nazis than the Soviet Union. Civilians (remember them?) and service men and women were lost in tens of millions. Yet you don’t like the way they had military parades, and feel free to criticise that, while criticising others who have reservations about our own methods of remembrance.

Don’t go to Russia, where there is still tremendous pride at the victory in the Great Patriotic War. The uppercuts might be more than idle banter. Which I wouldn’t approve of, in most cases.

#65
Pork Hunt8:05 pm, 19 Apr 13

poetix said :

Grimm said :

Who the hell said anything about ‘freedom’ or any of the other nonsense? During both WWI and WWII, a lot of young men gave their lives for their country. Had it not been for those men, the world would be a very different place, and it’s quite possible we would all be speaking German and goose stepping these days.

And what the hell do you expect when some little left wing peanut posts this kind of s***, when people who have served, seen conflict and seen mates die read it? I’m one of them, and I find it offensive when some little d***head calls the War Memorial the “temple of the death cult”, basically s***ting on the defence force and the memory of our fallen soldiers, and then tries to tell us how we should observe ANZAC day. It’s not as if we are having an old Soviet style Military parade, or celebrating war.

Are you aware of the irony here? You are criticising the Soviet Union for how they commemorated World War II. No country did more to defeat the Nazis than the Soviet Union. Civilians (remember them?) and service men and women were lost in tens of millions. Yet you don’t like the way they had military parades, and feel free to criticise that, while criticising others who have reservations about our own methods of remembrance.

Don’t go to Russia, where there is still tremendous pride at the victory in the Great Patriotic War. The uppercuts might be more than idle banter. Which I wouldn’t approve of, in most cases.

Well said.

My Dad fought in WW 2 in the Finnish army against the invading Russians. Until Germany entered the war, England and Finland were allies. Post Barbarossa, this changed and England, a democratic nation declared war on Finland, another democratic nation . This is unique in history.

My point is that every war is started by belligerents with their own axe to grind. Some soldiers defend their own country, others attack and oppress the weak.
The people who start wars rarely die in them. Others are sent to do their bidding with horrific consequences.
The only thing history has taught us is that we do not learn from history.
As a former Australian serviceman, I pause on Anzac Day to remember the fallen of other conflicts as well as WW1.
Let us not forget the profound words of Kemal Ataturk on April the 25th:

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.”

#66
plumtree3:03 am, 20 Apr 13

This months Mully goes to….watch this space.

#67
Stevian10:30 am, 20 Apr 13

poetix said :

Stevian said :

Barcham said :

Is everyone here related to someone who has served? What a coincidence!

We should all hang out and be friends. :)

I have relatives that served in the army during WWI & II. The German army. My family came to Australia in the 1950′s. Am I allowed to celebrate ANZAC day?

Only if you wear lederhosen and serve beer to the rest of us…(-:

Be careful what you wish for. Last time I wore lederhosen children screamed women wept and strong men fainted in terror. Not a pretty sight I can assure you

#68
Masquara3:26 pm, 20 Apr 13

plumtree said :

This months Mully goes to….watch this space.

Perhaps not – it would be a brave if not reckless JB who awarded the Mully to our Diggers within a week of ANZAC Day …

#69
IrishPete6:48 pm, 20 Apr 13

You can always rely on RiotAct to throw up a few pedants (punning metaphor intended).

I am in fact descended from the Captain Hardy of Admiral Nelson’s “kismet Hardy” or “kiss me Hardy” quotation, who later went on to become Admiral Hardy so you can’t call him Captain any more. Everyone in Europe fought with everyone else for thousands of years, switching sides occasionally to keep it interesting. So anyone in Australia of Europan descent would probably be in the same boat as me.

I just kinda thought we might be talking about more recent wars. After all ANZAC Day commemorates World War 1, and to a lesser extent all the wars since, as does Remembrance Day (a much more appropriately sombre day, perhaps because it’s not a booze&gambling public holiday). The Australian War Memorial commemorates wars in which Australians were involved, which doesn’t go back much further than WW1 (Boer War being the best known one).

Where I come from (UK) Remembrance Day is also a big deal for soldiers who lost their lives in Northern Ireland, which makes it incredibly political in that little corner of the UK. I don’t think it is yet commemorating Northern Ireland’s civilian dead (no matter who killed them) nor terrorist dead.

IP

#70
tuco6:58 pm, 20 Apr 13

Pork Hunt said :

poetix said :

Grimm said :

Who the hell said anything about ‘freedom’ or any of the other nonsense? During both WWI and WWII, a lot of young men gave their lives for their country. Had it not been for those men, the world would be a very different place, and it’s quite possible we would all be speaking German and goose stepping these days.

And what the hell do you expect when some little left wing peanut posts this kind of s***, when people who have served, seen conflict and seen mates die read it? I’m one of them, and I find it offensive when some little d***head calls the War Memorial the “temple of the death cult”, basically s***ting on the defence force and the memory of our fallen soldiers, and then tries to tell us how we should observe ANZAC day. It’s not as if we are having an old Soviet style Military parade, or celebrating war.

Are you aware of the irony here? You are criticising the Soviet Union for how they commemorated World War II. No country did more to defeat the Nazis than the Soviet Union. Civilians (remember them?) and service men and women were lost in tens of millions. Yet you don’t like the way they had military parades, and feel free to criticise that, while criticising others who have reservations about our own methods of remembrance.

Don’t go to Russia, where there is still tremendous pride at the victory in the Great Patriotic War. The uppercuts might be more than idle banter. Which I wouldn’t approve of, in most cases.

Well said.

My Dad fought in WW 2 in the Finnish army against the invading Russians. Until Germany entered the war, England and Finland were allies. Post Barbarossa, this changed and England, a democratic nation declared war on Finland, another democratic nation . This is unique in history.

My point is that every war is started by belligerents with their own axe to grind. Some soldiers defend their own country, others attack and oppress the weak.
The people who start wars rarely die in them. Others are sent to do their bidding with horrific consequences.
The only thing history has taught us is that we do not learn from history.
As a former Australian serviceman, I pause on Anzac Day to remember the fallen of other conflicts as well as WW1.
Let us not forget the profound words of Kemal Ataturk on April the 25th:

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.”

Let’s also not forget where these words are carved in stone. About 80 metres south of this photo. It’s about remembering the tragedy – for young men, for mothers, for families and for entire nations – and finding ways so that we don’t keep making the same bloody mistakes.

#71
kea10:09 pm, 20 Apr 13

thebrownstreak69 said :

Nasty stuff. What have you done, RiotACT?

Can’t hold my tongue.. and I have to say that the views of the OP don’t necessarily reflect those of all employed by RioACT Media Group Pty Ltd

#72
A_Cog12:19 am, 21 Apr 13

I’m with JB on this one. Our ANZAC heritage has been somewhat hijacked into a death cult-esque celebration/elevation of what should be mourned. I see the clear difference between the original soldiers in the original conflicts, and the way that the Dept of Veterans Affairs and the government leadership of the day uses these important national days (Australia Day, Anzac Day, Remembrance Day, various commemorations) to boost their agendas for foreign deployments (read:alliances), increased defence spending (read: lobbyists and allies), justifying changes to force composition (read: preparation for the next conflict which could have been avoided with decent diplomacy but for the fact that our alliance partners don’t want to compromise) etc. And this is not just Howard. Gillard has gone for this too, with the Centenary of Anzac celebrations slated for 2014 to 2018, and the ridiculous little grants for communities country-wide to celebrate an occasion which saw an entire generation of young men (and a lot of boys, just kids, who lied about their age) wiped out in a pathetic war caused by imperialistic notions of ‘national interest’ and alliances and just plain pig-headedness by old guys in their 50s and 60s who thought nothing of sending thousands off to die in slaughter. These Anzac Commemoration Grants, to celebrate a war in which all who fought have since died, and the rest of us have only heard echoes of echoes, show that the death cult which JB refers to has bipartisan support. A rare example of consensus.

#73
A_Cog12:27 am, 21 Apr 13

And I wouldn’t normally quote a Republican, but John McCain was right:
“War is awful. Nothing, not the valour with which it is fought nor the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war. War is wretched beyond description and only a fool or fraud could sentimentalise its cruel reality. Whatever is won in war, it is loss the veteran remembers.”

#74
Postalgeek9:45 am, 21 Apr 13

A_Cog said :

Gillard has gone for this too, with the Centenary of Anzac celebrations slated for 2014 to 2018, and the ridiculous little grants for communities country-wide to celebrate an occasion which saw an entire generation of young men (and a lot of boys, just kids, who lied about their age) wiped out in a pathetic war caused by imperialistic notions of ‘national interest’ and alliances and just plain pig-headedness by old guys in their 50s and 60s who thought nothing of sending thousands off to die in slaughter. These Anzac Commemoration Grants, to celebrate a war in which all who fought have since died, and the rest of us have only heard echoes of echoes, show that the death cult which JB refers to has bipartisan support. A rare example of consensus.

Is there any official use of the word ‘celebrate’ that you can point to?

#75
IrishPete1:28 pm, 21 Apr 13

If you search Google for “celebrate Anzac day” with or without quotes, you’ll find a few government and other official-looking websites which use the term “celebrate”.

IP

#76
shauno1:32 pm, 21 Apr 13

I agree with Johnboy just a quiet dignified ceremony at dawn is all that’s needed and a day of two up and remembrance for the fallen no need for over the top fanfare.

#77
Masquara2:52 pm, 21 Apr 13

Anzac Day centenary celebrations will be a supreme, no-expense-spared PR-fest for politicians. Of course ordinary people (like relatives of the Gallipoli fallen) will be marginalised. Unless the public manages to somehow exert enough pressure to get transparency, expect the “ballot” selection process to include an inordinate number of family, commercial, political “connections” among the successfuls …

Mind you, with any luck the Turks will mess the logistics up beautifully, like the memorable Anzac Day a few years ago where the G-G turned up AFTER dawn thanks to a slow boat, and the idiot dignitaries already on the Peninsula didn’t have the commonsense to do the service sans the GG, and honour the fallen. The consternation on everyone’s faces as the sun rose was a sight to see, and this was pre mobile-phone communication. Oh, the farce and ridiculousness of a “dawn service” with the sun mid-way up the sky …

#78
Jethro4:00 pm, 21 Apr 13

shauno said :

I agree with Johnboy just a quiet dignified ceremony at dawn is all that’s needed and a day of two up and remembrance for the fallen no need for over the top fanfare.

Does the dawn service come with or without a personal wake-up call from VB?

#79
pepmeup4:00 pm, 21 Apr 13

The first story read at closing was about a young man who lived in Canberra, JB go meet his family and tell them you think it is over the top to have that ceremony for him.

#80
no idea4:14 pm, 21 Apr 13

This post started as a criticism of the closing ceremony, now it’s moved onto ANZAC day, I was raised by a WW1 soldier, (my Great Grand father), he went to ANZAC day march in Sydney till ill health forced him to no longer take part. I can swear on his grave that ANZAC day was important to him not to celebrate but to show respect for all the mates and others who had lost their lives. You must remember in 1914 my GGfather had only been in Australia for around 6 years or so, and there was still family back in Ireland etc He didn’t go out of nationalistic pride he went because he thought it was the right thing to do. ANZAC day is special for me because I remember him.

#81
shauno6:23 pm, 21 Apr 13

Jethro said :

shauno said :

I agree with Johnboy just a quiet dignified ceremony at dawn is all that’s needed and a day of two up and remembrance for the fallen no need for over the top fanfare.

Does the dawn service come with or without a personal wake-up call from VB?

The old boys from WW1 wouldn’t begrudge us a cold VB thats for sure.

#82
JimCharles7:32 pm, 21 Apr 13

IrishPete said :

Where I come from (UK) Remembrance Day is also a big deal for soldiers who lost their lives in Northern Ireland, which makes it incredibly political in that little corner of the UK. I don’t think it is yet commemorating Northern Ireland’s civilian dead (no matter who killed them) nor terrorist dead.

It’s interesting that Remembrance Day in the UK is suffering from the same accusations of excessive commercialisation and “poppy fascism”, to the point where people feel obliged to wear them weeks before the actual day and there’s blanket poppy wearing for weeks across all TV channels, news, sports managers, public officials, sewn into sports shirts and flags.
This is fine, but those who choose NOT to wear a poppy are being increasingly vilified, normally Irish people who might have very good reasons not to commemorate soldiers they saw as deadly enemies.
The irony is, they’re just exercising the right to independent choice and freedom of expression that soldiers fought for. Trying to push and organise everyone to remember the same thing in the same way is exactly what most WWII soldiers fought against.

#83
Masquara9:15 pm, 21 Apr 13

JimCharles said :

… normally Irish people who might have very good reasons not to commemorate soldiers they saw as deadly enemies.

Would that be folks who relate to the tiny minority of Irish people who supported the German-Irish collaboration during WWI, as opposed to the vast majority who supported participation?

#84
IrishPete1:17 pm, 22 Apr 13

Masquara said :

JimCharles said :

… normally Irish people who might have very good reasons not to commemorate soldiers they saw as deadly enemies.

Would that be folks who relate to the tiny minority of Irish people who supported the German-Irish collaboration during WWI, as opposed to the vast majority who supported participation?

Can you provide a source for the “tiny minority” “vast majority” claim? In 1916 Irish republicans/nationalists took the opportunity of a distracted and weakened Britain to try to gain their independence. They probably had the support of the majority of the population, but failed for a variety of reasons including, perhaps, a lesser level of support for their timing than for their aims.

You can criticise them for their timing, but given they won partial independence 5 years later, it would be hard to criticise their motives.

And it’s never been clear to me whether the Germans in WW1 were any “worse” than the British – move to WW2 and you are on much safer ground. Perhaps Britain was a democracy in 1914 when Germany wasn’t, but most of Britain’s remaining colonies weren’t democracies.

IP

#85
LSWCHP12:21 pm, 25 Apr 13

IrishPete said :

And it’s never been clear to me whether the Germans in WW1 were any “worse” than the British – move to WW2 and you are on much safer ground. Perhaps Britain was a democracy in 1914 when Germany wasn’t, but most of Britain’s remaining colonies weren’t democracies.

I think you should read a little more history. History is written by the victors of course, but I’m pretty firmly convinced that things would not have turned out well in the long run if the Kaiser and his crew had achieved the quick victory they desired. As it was, things turned out pretty poorly for almost everybody in the short run, but it wasn’t Britain who invaded Germany to kick it all off.

#86
LSWCHP12:30 pm, 25 Apr 13

My boys and I went to the dawn service this morning and I thought it was good.

We got there about 4:50 while the readings were taking place. They were sometimes very moving, particularly one from a digger who had written a letter to his partner to be delivered if he was KIA, which he sadly was.

The images projected on the walls of the AWM were unobtrusive.

About 5:20 it all stopped and the lights went out. We had ten quiet minutes in the dark, and then the traditional dawn service took place as usual.

I was concerned that it might have been distasteful and cheesy, but I thought it was quiet, low-key and dignified.

#87
IrishPete2:52 pm, 25 Apr 13

LSWCHP said :

IrishPete said :

And it’s never been clear to me whether the Germans in WW1 were any “worse” than the British – move to WW2 and you are on much safer ground. Perhaps Britain was a democracy in 1914 when Germany wasn’t, but most of Britain’s remaining colonies weren’t democracies.

I think you should read a little more history. History is written by the victors of course, but I’m pretty firmly convinced that things would not have turned out well in the long run if the Kaiser and his crew had achieved the quick victory they desired. As it was, things turned out pretty poorly for almost everybody in the short run, but it wasn’t Britain who invaded Germany to kick it all off.

Quick victory over who? WW1 did not start when Germany invaded Britain (it never did of course, the land war not being fought on any British soil and Britain entered the war later than most other protaganists). Nor even when it invaded France (or more correctly, Belgium). It started when the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia as a consequence of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. How and why everyone else entered the war isn’t entirely clear to me, but as one outcome of WW1 was the rise of Russia and then the Soviet Union, and of course Hitler’s Germany, I doubt there are any positives. The world may have been a better or worse place if WW1 had not taken place, or if it had ended differently. We will never know.

IP

#88
Roundhead895:22 pm, 25 Apr 13

JimCharles said :

IrishPete said :

Where I come from (UK) Remembrance Day is also a big deal for soldiers who lost their lives in Northern Ireland, which makes it incredibly political in that little corner of the UK. I don’t think it is yet commemorating Northern Ireland’s civilian dead (no matter who killed them) nor terrorist dead.

It’s interesting that Remembrance Day in the UK is suffering from the same accusations of excessive commercialisation and “poppy fascism”, to the point where people feel obliged to wear them weeks before the actual day and there’s blanket poppy wearing for weeks across all TV channels, news, sports managers, public officials, sewn into sports shirts and flags.
This is fine, but those who choose NOT to wear a poppy are being increasingly vilified, normally Irish people who might have very good reasons not to commemorate soldiers they saw as deadly enemies.
The irony is, they’re just exercising the right to independent choice and freedom of expression that soldiers fought for. Trying to push and organise everyone to remember the same thing in the same way is exactly what most WWII soldiers fought against.

I think it is time for the hype to be taken out of Anzac Day commemorations. It has just become too overblown in the media and maybe it is time to scale it back to the way it was in the 1970s and ’80s – dignified, level-headed and not ostentatious.

According to Alan Jones on 2GB money is being spent and preparations are being made to spread the centenary of Anzac commemorations over four years – 2014 to 2018! If this is true it will be going completely over the top and risks Australians suffering Digger fatigue.

#89
Tetranitrate5:57 pm, 25 Apr 13

IrishPete said :

And it’s never been clear to me whether the Germans in WW1 were any “worse” than the British – move to WW2 and you are on much safer ground. Perhaps Britain was a democracy in 1914 when Germany wasn’t, but most of Britain’s remaining colonies weren’t democracies.

IP

Britain and Germany were both ‘flawed’ democracies at the time –
The German Empire had universal male suffrage, but entrenched mal-apportionment at the state level (the largest ‘state’, the kingdom of Prussia, about 2/3rds of the country had a 3 class franchise, where the rich, poor and middle class each were allocated a 3rd of the seats – more or less at least)

The UK on the other hand directly denied the poor the right to vote through property qualifications, denying the bottom 40% of men the vote entirely. That ended in 1918 of course – telling millions of traumatized war veterans that they had no right to have a say in how they were governed would likely not have ended well.

The claim that WW1 was over freedom and democracy is on the face of it absurd though given that we were on the same side as Tsarist Russia, the most autocratic state of any note on the planet at the time.

#90
IrishPete4:28 am, 26 Apr 13

Tetranitrate said :

[
The UK on the other hand directly denied the poor the right to vote through property qualifications, denying the bottom 40% of men the vote entirely. That ended in 1918 of course – telling millions of traumatized war veterans that they had no right to have a say in how they were governed would likely not have ended well.

indeed, especially after the example of Russia in 1917…

IP

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