Monday, April 25, 2005

ANZAC Day - Mixed feelings

ANZAC Day should be a day on which Australians and New Zealanders remember, with pride, the efforts of the men and women that have served their countries in battle, particularly those that lost their lives at Galipolli in World War I.

When choosing some music to listen to before the annual ANZAC footy match between Collingwood and Essendon came on the TV, I thought to myself; what could be more Australian than Paul Kelly?

From St. Kilda to King's Cross, Leaps and Bounds (complete with MCG reference), Bradman... the Australian pride was swelling.

Then this song came on:

Special Treatment

Grandfather walking this land in chains
A land he called his own
He was given another name
And taken into town

He got special treatment
Special treatment
Very special treatment

My father worked a twelve hour day
As a stockman on the station
The very same work but not the same pay
As his white companions

He got special treatment
Special treatment

Very special treatment

Mother and father loved each other well
But together they could not stay

They were split up against their will

Until their dying day

They got special treatment
Special treatment

Very special treatment

Mama gave birth to a stranger's child
A child she called her own

Strangers came and took away that child

To a stranger's home

She got special treatment
Special treatment

Very special treatment

I never spoke my mother's tongue
I never knew my name

I never learnt the songs she sung
I was raised in chains

I got special treatment
Special treatment

Very special treatment

We got special treatment

Special treatment

Very special treatment

(Paul Kelly - From the album Hidden Things)

I would be a whole lot prouder today if our government would recognize the errors of the past and apologize to the Indigenous Australians that were affected.

I would also be a lot prouder if our government did not detain refugees and their children, effectively treating them like criminals.

This is a great country, but it could be so much greater...

5 Comments:

At 2:21 pm, Blogger miss wendy said...

well said. These last two years are the first time I have been ashamed to be Australian, compliments of the present Government. I know things have happened before that were less that perfect.... but presently do you feel the death throws of democracy? Love Paul Kelly.. 'from little things big things grow'

 
At 5:31 pm, Blogger cotard said...

Thanks Miss Wendy.

Yeah, it's sad that democracy is being eroded. What's sadder is that at the same time, the word itself is being thown about willy-nilly by the Howards and Bushs of the world, with scant regard for its actual meaning.

Oh and Paul Kelly is a dead-set legend. I've actually quoted him in an essay on Indigenous Policy.

 
At 7:02 pm, Blogger miss wendy said...

snap ... so did I !!!...( a while ago now though!) he seemed to get the point across so much better than me!!!

 
At 7:05 am, Anonymous Jessica said...

I've been skulking around your blog for a while - well done. I did my BA thesis on Gallipoli, and now I'm obsessed. I'm from the US, so I had to start from scratch (after I visited Turkey and noticed the dynamic between Turks and Australians/New Zealanders).

Have you been to Gallipoli? And are the memorials like the one you took a picture of in Trayning all the same/similar or does each town handle that on their own?

 
At 9:12 pm, Blogger miss wendy said...

I haven't been to Gallipoli but my grandfather was there with those other blokes jumping out of boats and being shot at..
I find it amazing that people would do that..
I imagine I'd be under the water with a straw for air. Although talking with my Aunt (his daughter) about it the issues seemed clearer and cleaner then.good vs evil she says.. ( she has Bosnians living next door and she says that her father went to war to ensure that in this country we could speak and worship as we choose.). ..Although someone had a really dumb strategy with Gallipoli and it cost so many men's lives-
i worked for the army for a while ( as a civilian) and the soldiers have to have A grade health.. so you get the best of the gene pool and send them into a situation where they will have a high chance of being killed. or get PTSD, Shell shock, battle fatigue.. all the same thing.. just unable to assimilate what is happening and what is expected of them. War isn't very life afffirming. .. One of the guys I worked with in the Army used to put on his tax form for occupation 'professional killer'
I was watching a doco yesterday on the fallout emotionally on men who are stationed in Iraq- Americans ..leaves me speaechless.

 

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