Thursday, May 6, 2010

John Pilger: Australia's finest journalist

Thank god for journalists like John Pilger. In my mind he is Australia's finest journalist. His recent interview with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live was intelligent, thoughtful and erudite.

And in a recent piece in New Statesman he writes about Australia's obsession with Anzac day and the militarization and glorification of war that is celebrated.

The day before I flew out of Australia, 25 April, I sat in a bar beneath the great sails of the Sydney Opera House. It was Anzac Day, the 95th anniversary of the invasion of Ottoman Turkey by Australian and New Zealand troops at the behest of British imperialism. The landing was an incompetent stunt of blood sacrifice conjured by Winston Churchill; yet, it is celebrated in Australia as an unofficial national day. The ABC evening news always comes live from the sacred shore at Gallipoli, in Turkey, where this year some 8,000 flag-wrapped Antipodeans listened, dewy-eyed, to the Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who is the Queen's viceroy, describe the point of pointless mass killing. It was, she said, all about a "love of nation, of service, of family, the love we give and the love we receive and the love we allow ourselves to receive. [It is a love that] rejoices in the truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. And it never fails."

Of all the attempts at justifying state murder I can recall, this drivel of DIY therapy, clearly aimed at the young, takes the blue riband. Not once did Bryce honor the fallen with the two words that the survivors of 1915 brought home with them: "Never again." Not once did she refer to a truly heroic anti-conscription campaign, led by women, that stemmed the flow of Australian blood in the First World War, the product not of a gormlessness that "believes all things," but of anger in defense of life.

No comments: