John Pilger on Anzac Day

Anzac Day has been appropriated by those who manipulate the cult of state violence – militarism – in order to satisfy a psychopathic deference to foreign power and pursue its aims. And the “legend” has no room for the only war fought on Australian soil: that of the Aboriginal people against the European invaders. In a land of cenotaphs, not one stands for them. The modern war-lovers have known no street of screams and despair. Their abuse of our memory of the fallen, and why they fell, is common among all servitors of rapacious power …’. – John Pilger, ‘Julia Gillard leads the march for Anzac in the 51st state’.


  1. The land grab by the British is one wrongdoing in history, which needs to be faced, truly. The attempt by other nations to grab territories in ww1 and ww2 are also wrong. But I see no reason to dishonor the military, for their noble role in our national life. Pacifism to the nth degree, is mere idealism!


  2. Just out of interest, Trevor, what is the ‘noble role’ that the military plays in national life? And ‘noble’ by whose definition? By the redefining of reality itself through the resurrection that we celebrated just yesterday? And to what end? And as for the charge of ‘mere idealism’, what do you make of Barth’s words in CD IV/2, that Jesus’ disciples

    ‘were neither to fear force nor to exercise it. They were not to fear it as brought to bear against themselves, for at the very worst their enemies could kill only the body and not the soul … Hence the disciple who draws his sword must be delivered from this vicious circle. Nor does the exercise of force begin with killing. It begins when we are angry with our brother, when we call him raca or fool, when there are judicial proceedings (Mt. 5:21). The disciple of Jesus will have nothing to do with this kind of behaviour, let alone with retaliation for the sake of glory or possession (Mt. 5:38f.). It is to be noted that in all these sayings there is no reference to the greater or lesser atrocities usually involved inescapably where force is exercised. The decisive contradiction of the kingdom of God against all concealed or blatant kingdoms of force is to be seen quite simply in the fact that it invalidates the whole friend-foe relationship between man and man. Either way, force is the ultima ratio [ultimate basis] in this relationship. If we love only those who love us again, the publicans and sinners can do the same. If we show humanity only to our brethren, the heathen do likewise (Mt. 5:46f.) Of what avail is this? In spite of it, force is everywhere exercised because friend-foe relationships are not affected by it. What the disciples are enjoined is that they should love their enemies (Mt. 5:44). This destroys the whole friendfoe relationship, for when we love our enemy he ceases to be our enemy. It thus abolishes the whole exercise of force, which presupposes this relationship, and has no meaning apart from it. This is attested by the disciple in what he does or does not do. Quite seriously and concretely he himself now drops out of the reckoning in this twofold relationship. Once again, there can be no question of a general rule, a Christian system confronting that of the world, in competition with it, and in some way to be brought into harmony with it. But again, for the one whom Jesus, in His call to discipleship, places under this particular command and prohibition, there is a concrete and incontestable direction which has to be carried out exactly as it is given. According to the sense of the New Testament we cannot be pacifists in principle, only in practice. But we have to consider very closely whether, if we are called to discipleship, we can avoid being practical pacifists, or fail to be so’?

    BTW: I have touched on these matters before as they relate to Anzac Day. See here and here.

    And, for the record, I don’t agree with all that Pilger writes.


  3. Robert, I have no doubt that you are right about the welcome extended by many Down Under – and elsewhere – to US involvement in the Second World War. But the question of interest to me is how well – or otherwise – the narrative that gives rise to such a response is informed and judged by the Easter events.


  4. Jason,

    I am not a pacifist myself, so I am not the guy on this. To my mind, this fallen, evil world is thankfully only overcome by and in Christ, His Life, Death & Resurrection! So it is to another world, and renewed creation that we really see and await the full glory of God in Christ! (Rom.8:18-22, etc.)


  5. Would John Pilger agree with me if I aid that the main message from modern ANZAC Days is that wars don’t end wars? nah – probably not.


Comments welcome here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.