A planned Gallipoli Centenary event in New Zealand has been cancelled due to a poor response from the public. An event in Auckland which was expected to attract 10,000 people has been cancelled after bookings were placed by just 102 individuals.
Responses from the public were often critical of the way the Centenary is being commemorated: “Why don’t we stop commemorating war and death?” asked Clinton Jackson. “We invaded another country. While the memory of the brave lads who were forced to kill for the pleasure of European royalty should be honoured, the actual battles should be confined to history along with its causes, religion and the narcissistic royal families.”
“I agree one hundred percent with Clinton Jackson’s comments,” said another reader, who described WWI as a “crime” and added: “NZ was never at risk from WWI. Our young men were encouraged to go and fought for the ‘mother country’ and were told it was their duty … If you ask a lot of kiwis what they reflect on over ANZAC Day it’s most likely to be the futility of war and mankind’s continued view of it as a way to solve problems.”
These responses highlight just how important it is for commemorative organisations such as G&DI to articulate, in the clearest possible terms, exactly what they stand for. Now that the events of Gallipoli are confined to the history books, a whole new generation is questioning, with every justification, the events of 100 years ago.
How accurately they view and interpret them is the responsibility of organisations such as G&DI. People need to be educated and, above all, informed that the simple yet sacred act of commemoration is a highly personal, non-political mark of gratitude and respect paid to the individual soldier, and, as such, will always be placed above politics, rank and position.
You can read the article in full here: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/10/gall-a10.html