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Propaganda radicalised us, then and now

By John Hargreaves - 10 May 2016 12

nashos nasho medal

I was reflecting on the Anzac Day stuff the other week and I confess to some disquiet.

This is when we commemorate the sacrifices of our young men and women in theatres of war in defence of Oz and our way of life.

Let me get this straight though, we sent young men and women overseas to fight in some else’s war because the Gummnt said so.

In the Great War, we actually sent volunteers to the Middle East and Europe to die for a cause. And that cause was?

We are currently sending troops overseas to fight for territory which is not ours, never was ours and against an enemy which is bent on world domination. Really?

Hmmm. Let me also get this straight. It is illegal for a young man or woman to go overseas to fight against the same regime our soldiers, sailors and airpeople are fighting against.

How’d that go in the Boer War, where volunteers from Australia (or more correctly, the colonies) went overseas to fight the oppressive Boers and maintain the “Empire”?

Whilst conscription didn’t get up for the Great War, it was not illegal for Australian citizens to go and fight, so long as it was not against the Aussies or Brits and mates.

It was not illegal for French-Australians to go overseas and fight with the French Resistance or Italian Australians to fight with the Italian Partisans.

It has only been illegal for people to go overseas and fight where they fight against our own troops. I guess that’s because our all seeing, all knowing Gummnt knows best.

But it is now illegal for Australians to go to Syria to fight against a regime which is murderous, yet it was not illegal for people to join the Anti- Saddam Hussein rebels, or the Anti-Gaddafi rebels.

There seems to be a contradiction here, perhaps.

We say that radicalised young men should not be allowed to leave the country to defend another country against an oppressive regime. How did these people get radicalised? By propaganda that’s how. By the intentional tapping into the insecurities of the young mind, to tap into the risk attracted young men, anxious for adventure and glory, having been brought up on the diet of violence and pro-Western ideology.

I was radicalised as a young man. I was told that the communists were at our doorstep and that a forward defence policy to stem the tide of the yellow peril advance down the Indo-Chinese Peninsula, domino fashion was essential.

I was convinced that if I were to be a true Australian, I would go into the Army and face the enemy. And so I did. I volunteered for nasho.

I would have happily gone to Vietnam, and tried to get posted there. I would happily have taken up arms and shot someone to protect my family and my country.

Boy, was I wrong. Only later, after much research and talking to folks who did go, did I realise the enormous lie which had been perpetrated upon me. But I was indeed radicalised and would brook no counter to my view on the imminent danger.

A letter from Richard Manderson in the Times on Anzac Day prompted me to think of this perspective.

He said that “the young men who are so easily conscripted into the horrific cause of Islamic State are perhaps not so extraordinary. They are not the first young men, full of bravado and testosterone, hungry for adventure and respect, sometimes with chips on their shoulder, to sign up for doubtful causes, about which they may know very little.”

The first that I know of were the Boer War soldiers. This continues until the current day, I know cos I was one of them.


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