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This ANZAC Day, I’m pausing to remember those who fought for us. Those who returned to this country only to find that their sacrifice and heroism didn’t count. Lest we forget who we are.
Hey, remember when Yassmin Abdel-Magied basically had to move to the other side of the world because Australia went for her throat after she tweeted asking us to remember that there were people suffering from war and disposition in the lead up to Anzac Day in 2017? Remember how pissed everyone was that they thought she was disrespecting the victims of past wars, soldiers they believed died for their country? This country? Apparently?
What if I was about to tell you I refuse to acknowledge Anzac Day anymore? Are you mad? Okay. Hold onto that feeling for a minute so you can try, if you’re at all able to through sheer seething patriotic rage, to apply it to the other side of this coin I’m about to flip.
The notion that Australian soil has not seen active warfare is a flat out, bald-faced lie. Darwin being bombed is not the only time this land has been under foreign attack. The Lindt Cafe siege and Port Arthur massacre are not the only terrorist attacks that have happened on this soil. There was an active war, with individual battles and acts of terrorism, that lasted on this continent for 180 years. 231 years if you consider captivity of prisoners of war after the fact as continuance of warfare.
The government has absolutely, unequivocally, flat out said “no” when repeatedly asked to include the Frontier Wars in the national war memorial in Canberra. Most state and local governments refuse smaller monuments to the Frontier Wars be placed at their own monuments. In many places there are plaques to the architects of genocide at their blood-soaked sites but none to the victims. Mountains where hundreds were slain are named after the captain who made the orders. Universities and lakes and highways are named after these bastards. But our battle for this land goes ignored and forgotten in the fog of history.
Black skin meant they weren’t allowed in the pub or the RSL. They didn’t get the land grants on return. They didn’t get the pension. They didn’t get to march.
And why is that? Is it because the victors are the real monsters? The crown the allies fought for and under in WWI and WWII is the same one that slaughtered us. The same one who made a sport of burying our infants up to their necks in the sand and seeing who could kick their living heads off the furthest; who hanged our dead bodies from trees as a warning to the rest of us as to what was to come; chased our women and children off cliffs to their deaths in the hundreds and celebrated with music and ale; sullied our water supply with the rotting, raped corpses of our mothers and grandmothers. Same crown. Same crown that sits atop the head on the backs of our coins today.
Yet, we are not included in the memories of the fallen. The wars fought on this land. The wars fought for this land by its people. The lives lost fighting for their country. This country. We are excluded. But you will cast out, banish, anyone who doesn’t fall to their knees in remembrance of a people who fought for that crown in a foreign land? Us included, remember? But they couldn’t celebrate homecoming with the rest of you. Black skin meant they weren’t allowed in the pub or the RSL. They didn’t get the land grants on return. They didn’t get the pension. They didn’t get to march.
They didn’t even get to bury their friends in the military graveyard. They got sent away.
So you might feel pissed off that little old nobody I am boycotting your special patriot day until the Frontier Wars are acknowledged. But imagine if instead of just me, it was a whole country. And that whole country was full of the descendants of the people who killed yours, who now lived on the land that was stolen and passed down to them after they slaughtered your people, and those people just straight up didn’t give a single fuck. Imagine how angry you’d be then. You’re lucky all I’m doing is a quick rant and a pyjama day. I’d imagine you’d do much, much worse.
Lest we forget? Lest they’re black, I guess.