One would have thought that if there were one topic that would avoid controversy, it would be the annual celebrations/commemorations at Gallipoli. I mean, what could be less controversial than going to a foreign country, visiting the point where we attempted to invade that country during Europe's last great dynastic war, costing the lives of considerably more Turks than 'Allies', and acting like we own the place? Anyway, Garth George takes on this challenge with gusto.
His nominal target is Robin Klitscher, the president of the RSA. Mr Klitscher has apparently warned young New Zealanders to steer clear of Gallipoli around Anzac Day, lest their rowdy behaviour detract from the gravity of the commemorations.
"Bullshit," says Garth:
On the contrary, when I attended the 90th anniversary observances at Anzac Cove and Chunuk Bair in 2005 I found their reception invariably welcoming and friendly.More or less prepared than they were for the invasion in 1915, Garth?
The Turkish authorities are highly organised and well-practised at catering for the invasion that comes at this time every year and, if some of their internal security troops and highway police are a tad abrupt, rude and autocratic, they are no different from authorities anywhere.
Of course, Mr Klitscher isn't the real target of Garth's ire. At the end of the piece, he gives the game away:
It was comforting to see them there, free of schoolteachers and university pedants, for they were unable to avoid a stern and valid on-the-spot lesson in their nation's fundamental history.As a university pedant myself, I am highly offended. I have personally taught many an impressionable first-year to spit on veterans and burp during the national anthem. It shames me to see all my good work going to waste when these youths descend on Gallipoli. I'm a bit confused about the "politically correct gaps in the laundered history," however. Does this mean there are gaps where the history ought to have been laundered, like when the bourgeois hausfrau uses 'other leading brands' in a washing powder commercial? Or has the laundering just removed bits of the history? I recommend going back to the good old days of being taught about the good ol' tommies fighting tooth and nail against the huns, and how the Maori arrived in New Zealand to kill off the peace-loving Moriori, when they should have known that it was Queen Victoria's land in the first place.
[...] They want to connect with their nation's history, some with their family history too. They are not taken in by the milk-sop pacifism preached in their schoolrooms and lecture halls, or by the politically correct gaps in the laundered history they have been taught.
God damned Nanny historical research, telling me I'm an old bigot.