:: Sunday, 24 April 2005 ::
ANZAC Day in Oz
This morning's soundtrack comprised:
Billy Thorpe and
Tears, natch, for the old folks, walking. They are so lovely, with so much bravery in their past, and becoming so fragile. And that MacDonald's advert with the old guy has been getting heavy rotation airplay, and it is just so sad.
Orunno how to go about spelling a blubbery weep but it might be something like this:
uh uh uaah, eh, uh, waaaa....
ei ei ei eiihhh
ANZAC Ozness is a real spirit thing.
Plenty of folks are capturing their views today across Oz blogs, none finer than the Master, Tim Blair, so for what it's worth here's a wee wog angle.
My Pa, rip 2003, always laughed and laughed at the ANZAC day parades of old codgers. He had absolutely no respect for them at all, being an Italian man with no interest in Oz military history, and certainly not the rememberance of failure which is the heart of Gallipoli if you measure it just in mitilary effectiveness Oz v Turks.
Do not bother getting all hot under the collar about that, alright?
I am not speaking for all wogs, just the ones in my circle.
See Gino always expressed disgust at Masada - the Jews killing themsleves on mass to avoid Roman conquest. And I must say I despise martydom, prolly a lot as a result of Gino's philosophy on this question, so for myself Masada is an episode I think pretty bloody unnecessary and all a bit too Reverend Jim Jones-town for my liking, if know what I mean, chronologically backwardsly speaking.
But the difference between him - full Italian through and through - and me - full one wog first gen Oz - is that I do not see Gallipoli as Masada-like at all. I see it as crapulous Brit military manouvereing and gallant, superbrave, powerful Oz action in the face of insurmountable odds.
Not every long shot comes in and the one at Gallipoli for Oz soldiers did not. The reason those guys can all be admired, their spirit, their actions, the lot, is that they never let the long shot bother them. Loyal, focussed, strong.
Gino loathed the Brits, absolutely loathed them and thought Menzies a fool with his "I did but see her passing by..." about the Queen, and "A cottage in the country in Kent" about where he'd most like to live, or whatever.
So anyone who followed Brit orders was, natch, a bootlicker and deserving of scorn.
Add to that the fact that, on arrival in Oz, it was old ANZAC codgers or folks in their families, who were so very good at hurling the epiphet 'wog' at every wog they across, and so very cruel - Gino has his opera recordings smashed when he was cutting cane in Queensland, a pretty seminal incident for him for which he never forgave any superaussie in his midst - and you can prolly grant that Gino's view is not surprising, evne if seems offensive, specially on this day. (By 'superaussie' I mean a skip who lives without the merest hint of the wog brush in his life - no fine food, no beautiful music, no art, no architecture, no history, no internationalist outlook, you know the kinds.)
Of course, Gino was utterly inconstant in his prejudices and would forget all his inherent bias for any codger who loved horseracing.
Nothing if not inconstant, my Pa.
Anyhoo, I reckon I understand why Gino felt (most of the time) the way that he did about ANZAC day. It was not his party. The party was all about a military action lost....to Turks, if you can stand it. And the folks celebrating all seemed a bit too skippy and a bit too anti-wog.
Maybe it was like that in 1959 and through the 60's. In fact it prolly was, cos that's when wogs of Italian background were not getting an easy time of it anywheres in Oz.
But it is not all like that for me, not now and I do not remember it ever being like that.
ANZAC day is most definitely a skippy party, alright? No Italians' signing up at 14 to rush off to war for King and Country in 1914 in oz, alright? if any, too small a sample to matter but bloody good on 'em, eh?
I have not got a drop of ANZAC blood coursing anywhere near me much less in me but many of my buddies do. So, even if I am "guest" on the invite, I still get to go to this party, and I still get to tear up and applaude the spirit of selflessness, persistence, long odds and punching above one's weight that is Oz.
Top top diggers in their slouchy hats with their easy smiles.
That's modern Oz ANZAC spirit. Come and join. Always remember. Oz so totally rocks cos we remember.
:: WB 9:26 pm [link+] ::