I tried to ignore Anzac Day. I was fed up with all the 100 years hype.
I cooked, I went for a walk, I did housework, I wrote a new page for this blog explaining why I blog about music. ‘Music connects us to people, culture, politics, and significant events’, I wrote.
Oh. Like Anzac Day.
I realised that everywhere I looked, people were sharing music that expressed their feelings about Anzac Day. Music created by people who also had strong feelings, and important messages, about war.
A friend wrote about how she listened to the Last Post while watching the day break.
A relative posted Eric Bogle’s song about what war does to young men’s lives. I’m guessing she was thinking about the men in her family who served in the World Wars, like my Dad.
I was driving to the shops and feeling a bit over the whole Anzac fest on the radio, when the presenter started playing the Pogues version of the same song. I liked that.
I was raised to think of Anzac Day as a time to reflect on the cost of war. I can’t pretend it means nothing to me. I was even planning a substantial post about war, for today’s Monday Music. About how apparently there are fewer world wars but more conflict in the world today. About an article I read which argued that, taking the long view, war has been beneficial for the development not only of science and technology but, ironically, of political stability. Hmmmm. If that’s true, then the debt of gratitude we owe the millions of people throughout history who have lost their lives, health or their peace of mind to war, is truly enormous.
But I don’t feel like writing much. At it’s best, Anzac Day is a time to think, be still and reflect, and perhaps to grieve for the lives and hopes that war destroys. Music helps me do that. Here is a song that brings me to tears.
And finally … let’s not forget that it’s not only the fighters who pay the cost of war. The deaths this week of hundreds of people fleeing the conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East are testament to that. Here’s a beautiful melody from Toumani and Sidiki Diabate. Called Lampedusa, it’s a tribute to those who’ve lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean and find a safer, better life. Vale.
I think the message of the Anzacs must be: value all human beings, they are precious. If we can’t learn that, then they died in vain.