Sunday, 3 May 2015

Anzackery: ignorant flag wavers shouting down Australia's genuine and complex military, political and social history

Anzackery ~ n. 1. nationalistic, laudatory and distorted portrayals of Anzac history with little regard to accuracy or context;  2. hyperbolic rhetoric extolling the supposed place of Anzac in history; 3. jingoistic mythology or praise concerning Anzac exploits, usually at the derogatory expense of allied or enemy combatants; 4. shameless exploitation of Anzac commemoration and sentiment for commercial, political or authorial gain. 5. fixation on inaccurate or actual Anzac history at the expense of considering Australia’s current and future strategic security needs. [Draft definition produced by defence lobby group Australia Defence Association]

This was Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull venting on Twitter before contacting SBS management to complain about one of its sports journalists:

Unfortunately for Mr. Turnbull, uncomfortable history is not that easily airbrushed away.

This was the type of behaviour that the journalist was alluding to when he wrote about summary execution and rape in two of his five ANZAC Day tweets…..

World War Two Australian newsreel exultant admission that strafing of Japanese survivors was widespread in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea at approx.1:23 minutes and 5:23 minutes, with images of Australian airmen killing Japanese soldiers and/or sailors adrift in a small lifeboat at approx. 5:36 minutes:

For the next several days, American and Australian airmen returned to the sight of the battle, systematically prowling the seas in search of Japanese survivors. As a coup de grâce, Kenney ordered his aircrew to strafe Japanese lifeboats and rafts. He euphemistically called these missions "mopping up" operations. A March 20, 1943, secret report proudly proclaimed, "The slaughter continued till nightfall. If any survivors were permitted to slip by our strafing aircraft, they were a minimum of 30 miles from land, in water thickly infested by man-eating sharks." Time after time, aircrew reported messages similar to the following: "Sighted, barge consisting of 200 survivors. Have finished attack. No survivors." []

The killing of unarmed, sleeping, sick or wounded Japanese was common. Although official pressure was put on troops to take prisoners, the Australian front-line soldiers - like their American counterparts - had little desire to do so. [Australian War Memorial, 2015, symposium document]

[Extract from the war diary of Australian Second AIF soldier Eddie Allan Stanton in Richard J. Aldrich,  2014, The Faraway War: Personal Diaries Of The Second World War In Asia And The Pacific]

I stood beside a bed in hospital. On it lay a girl, unconscious, her long, black hair in wild tumult on the pillow. A doctor and two nurses were working to revive her. An hour before she had been raped by twenty soldiers. We found her where they had left her, on a piece of waste land. The hospital was in Hiroshima. The girl was Japanese. The soldiers were Australians. The moaning and wailing had ceased and she was quiet now. The tortured tension on her face had slipped away, and the soft brown skin was smooth and unwrinkled, stained with tears like the face of a child that has cried herself to sleep…..
This was the first time it happened. But since then I had become a monotonously regular visitor to the hospital, always bringing with me a victim of the Yabanjin  - the barbarians – as they began to call the Australians.   [Extract from the memoirs of former Australian interpreter & Second AIF soldier with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) in Japan, Allan Stephen Clifton writing as Carter, 1950, Time of Fallen Blossoms, p 86]

Ending of the Preface to Time of Fallen Blossoms

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