Like so many young New Zealanders, Katherine and I have made the pilgrimage to ANZAC Cove in Turkey.
We visited in 1993 as part of our big OE (overseas experience) year.
It was a sobering experience and one I was pleased to have made. We went on an organised tour of the sites of the major battles. It was a very long day and I remember struggling to take in the statistics on the number of deaths, the wounded and the futility of the whole thing. Much was made of the clever way in which the allied forces escaped under subterfuge.
I remember later in our travel going on to the battlefields of France and reading of men who had survived the horror of Gallipoli only to be slaughtered on their first day in France. Senseless waste.
It is important that we stop and think about the wars that have marked our civilisation especially those described as World Wars.
We have learned so little and I find the recent statements by the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand on the anniversary of this event to justify sending personnel to Iraq to be truly repugnant. New Zealand could do so much more to set an example and to provide humanitarian assistance.
Great pictures Justin – amazing to think how many generations have and will travel to this site. The senselessness of all those deaths also hit home to us when we were there this weekend, and we felt a mixture of pride in the bravery of the soldiers and anger at the situation they were in, especially at hearing the justification of the deaths of 17 and 18 year olds for a “worthy” cause.
I am reminded of the line from Jackson Browne (“Lives in the Balance”)…
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can’t be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they’re never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire
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