Critics of President Donald Trump have been calling him a fascist ever since he was running for President in 2016, and those characterizations continued in the aftermath of Election Day, as Trump repeated false claims of widespread voter fraud and baselessly accused President-elect Biden of trying to steal the election. “Donald Trump is a fascist,” Late Show host Stephen Colbert argued in an emotional monologue on Nov. 5.
The “Whaler” is the shorten-form Aussie term for a breed of horses in New South Wales that served as the stead for the famed Lighthorsemen Brigades in Egypt, the Middle East and Gallipoli during World War One. I thank Brigadier Sri Mudannayake** for bringing this somebe dimension of the disastrous Gallipoli and other Middle Eastern campaign to our attention.
It’s a hundred years since the World War One ended.
It was called “the war to end all wars”, a war “to preserve Democracy”. It was, in fact, fought for nothing more than the needs of a handful of European countries wanting yet bigger pieces of the global pie, fighting each other for it or to deny it to others.
Brian Victoria …… Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. John Donne
Introduction: Is religion a force for peace or war? Or to borrow a phrase from the title of Christopher Hitchen’s book, God Is Not Great,does religion really poison everything, including the possibility of living in a peaceful world?
The answer is much like posing the question of whether the glass is half full or half empty.That is to say, for every example cited to prove that religion has supported warfare and violence, other examples can be presented to show ways in which religion has contributed to peace and the avoidance of war, reconciliation between bitter enemies and the general betterment of humanity and the world. When the question is posed in this way, the debate is as endless as it is futile unless the “winner” is the side that amasses the greatest number of examples.
It is curious how little military men know about war. You would think they would think about it more. Yet, oddly, they regularly misjudge practically everything concerning the dismal trade. Their errors are not the sort that inevitably must occur in a contest, as when a quarterback doesn’t pick up a blitz. They are fundamental misappreciations of war itself. The foregoing sounds both arrogant and improbable, like saying that dentists do not understand teeth. Actually it is neither.
The reasons are several. First, the military attracts certain kinds of men—authoritarian, hierarchical, conformist—who are not imaginative and do not think independently. Second, the appeal of the military is visceral, emotional, hormonal. Neither of these things is true of dentists. SEE https://www.google.com.au/search?tbm=isch&q=trench+warfare+photos+World+war+I&gws_rd=cr,ssl&ei=uRnhVoLBDcjujwOc_K3wAg#tbs=simg%3Am00&tbnid=Bf7qrmahwyhL2M%3A&docid=zJIqjHIqZHvxTM&tbm=isch&imgrc=JIqheGROOQLZvM%3A
Michael Roberts,courtesy of Library of Social Science Guest Newsletter Series, where the title is “Australian Nationalism and the Ideology of Sacrificial Death”
Addressing the practices of remembrance in Australia as an outsider Richard Koenigsberg has recently noted the irony of a battlefield defeat, that at Gallipoli in World War One in 1915, serving a people as an emblem of nationhood: the “Australian nation, came into being [on the foundations provided by] the slaughter of its young men.”
There is yet more irony. The commemoration of Australian courage, sacrifice and manliness at Gallipoli (and subsequently on the Somme) was threaded by tropes of youthful innocence that drew on classical Hellenic motifs; while the monuments and epitaphs that were crafted in Australia to mark this event were manifestly Greek in form. The gendered masculine metaphor, in its turn, was often embodied in the seminal image of a full-bodied blonde young man. “Archie Hamilton” in Peter Weir’s classic film Gallipoli was/is one such trope (and he died of course).
Wars are undertaken based on a structure of thought—a template enacted upon the stage of reality. In the first place—in order for a war to occur—there must be an “enemy:” a particular group or class of people imagined to be seeking to harm or to destroy one’s nation and its sacred values. Identification of this dangerous or threatening enemy generates the belief that it may be necessary to wage war—to defeat this enemy that threatens the existence of one’s nation.
Waging war requires engaging in battle, where some citizens may become casualties. Citizens who die in battle (often soldiers) are said to have made the “supreme sacrifice.” Their sacrificial death is conceived as a gift: they have given their lives to their country—so that the nation might live.
ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney
Subsequent to a war (or during it—as was the case in the First World War), a nation may create monuments—whose purpose is to preserve the memory of soldiers who have “given their lives” in the process of fighting for or defending the nation. Gravestones memorialize or symbolize the dead soldiers who have sacrificed their lives. Continue reading →
Hello Michael, At last I’ve read the entire paper. Good analysis. Some comments follow, in no particular order.
Regarding Monis, recent reports of his mental health paint the picture of a man who was a lunatic rather than a terrorist. Some might ask, is there a difference? What annoys and saddens me about the whole episode is that Monis’ actions got the maximum possible media exposure, while the tragedy in Cairns at almost the same time, where that woman killed seven of her own children plus one other, was largely ignored. One doesn’t like to rank tragedies, but I would have thought that eight child murders are just as newsworthy as two adult murders. I cynically suggest that the Monis affair was emphasised to continue keeping the people afraid of infidels.
Recently I went to a musical (re)presentation of the International Congress of Women held in 1915 in The Hague….
Letter from Richard Koenigsberg to Michael Roberts, 21 May 2015
Again, your description is great—like to see more of this kind of “literary” prose. I think you have an idea of what I’m doing, but let me put it forward again (this is where it all began): I’m trying to point out that the West is DEEPLY IMPLICATED in “suicide missions” (SM as you call it, or is it S&M?) In the scene you just saw—and in nearly every battle in the First World War (and also in the Civil War), generals sent soldiers into battle with a high probability that they would be slaughtered. THE SCALE OF THIS DWARFS WHAT ANY TERRORIST ORGANIZATION HAS DONE.
Yet, for some strange reason, people in the West have difficulty seeing this: it’s right in front of our faces, yet we can’t see it. We take it for granted. It’s part of our culture. We take war for granted.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.