Saturday, April 25, 2009

by jingo - cultural identity, football, feminism and the ANZACs

I’m “in bed with a wog”, as the Not Boyfriend likes to say. With a head full of mucus and the fuzziness that comes form only four hours sleep due to a hacking cough, I’m not up to the ANZAC day post I was rousing myself to write. It was to be more from my Grandfather’s WWI diary but the state of my head and his spidery writing has defeated me.

However, a more refreshing take on the day can be found in Ruby Murray’s piece in Eureka Street exploring “The false nationalism of Anzac day and football”, looking at how the day has segued from the dawn parade to the “traditional” footy match at the MCG. Has ANZAC day become our 4th of July, celebrating nationhood rather than remembering the horrors of war?

Though, I have to comment as one of those feminists who got all uppity in the ‘80’s about the forgotten victims of war – the women who were raped and killed, it felt really strange to read “In this century, feminists no longer march in the streets”. Actually we do. “Reclaim the Night” is still in existence thirty years on, protesting about sexual violence and abuse towards women.

As a feminist from another century, I am saddened not only for all those men who lost their lives or a piece of their soul in those all too frequent theatres of war but also for the women whose stories have gone untold or unacknowledged and the aboriginals who served often without pay or nationhood. Like Murray, I too see this as no day to celebrate our cultural identity.

WWI ephemera and family history:
”Plenty of rats for mates” from the trenches at Messines.

A postcard from the wards, transported back to a military hospital in England, 1917.

Food from the troop ship to the trenches, “black frost completely frozen bread etc. All time a bully beef and biscuit now”

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