Tonight is the day after the rugby league final; my niece follows the State of Origin series mid year. But why does her generation glorify this format of state nationalism and also war. I look at the photos of yesterday’s losing team, Manly Sea Eagles. I won’t mention the guy, but one of the team has that blurred, not quite there look. They’ve studied the long term effect of concussion, brain injury etc.
Well they say body contact sport is WAR conducted on a local, symbolic level.
As for the large scale real thing, war, 2015 is the century commemoration of Gallipoli. A younger generation is feverishly connecting with the event as some type of religious nationalism; may I recommend them to read the poems of Wilfred Owens: for those who die as cattle.
Tonight on ABC’s The Roast, they did a skit about 1965, when the federal Liberal Gov set up a ballot that conscripted 18 year old men to go and fight in the Vietnam war. I got the nasty, horrendous letter that told me my fate. For two years I had the relevant gov department forward my paperwork as I shuttled between attending Macquarie University in North Ryde Sydney, and my family’s residence in Marian, central Qld. When I received the letter Simon Townsend, then a media figure, made a great deal of his call up; he burned his draft letter in public; afterwards I asked one of the organisers what my fate would be; he was simply brutal: if I did not have the money to afford legal representation I had few options. So I moved my paperwork from Sydney to Mackay, then Goff Whitlam gained power and he changed the rules: it was no longer compulsory. Only if you wanted to go to war would you be sent there.
So, I attended a medical interview where I declared that “I was emotionally incompatible with the concept of military service”. The doctor hearing my statement ricocheted; he then focussed on my chest expansion; I was a scholar not an athlete, so he made much of my physical deficiency.
Boys and probably girls, please note that conservative governments have a habit of sending the nation to war: we have a number of scenarios in which our young would be allowed to slaughter and be slaughtered. If RED is your favourite colour then this is probably agreeable to you. I feel that we went to Iraq and Afghanistan upon falsified evidence. For me, currently politics is disgusting, militarism equally so. Having been made to relive those traumatic years I need to lie down and watch witty nonsense on TV.