Gallipoli, 1915

This was written three years ago, coming out of  a discussion about war in general.  Monday is Memorial Day in the US.  Our only child is now in the US Navy and we pray for the safety of all soldiers, regardless of nation.

Most of us know little about World War I, and I confess to be one. There were many campaigns and the reference of “Founding Myths” relates to this two-fold:  In Turkey, it was an overthrow of the old Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the independence of Turkey as a nation.  In Australia and New Zealand, it was the first conflict that they, a part of the British Empire, were involved in WWI.

In a campaign that lasted for  nine months, the casualties were horrific on both sides:  220,000 (50%) on the British forces side, 253,000 (60%) on the Turkish alliance side.

-Lady Nyo

Gallipoli, 1915

“Are you joining up, mate?”

“Why? It’s the Brit’s war”.

“Cause Aussies are part of the empire, ‘one for all’…you know the drill”.

Both young men soon in the trenches, barely eight meters from the enemy.

“Hasim, leave off the plowing, we all go to fight the British.”

“My wheat will not be planted in time for the rains.”

“Forget the planting…leave the plowing to the women.  If you don’t go, the infidels will take your fields… Once more our country will be invaded.”

Both young men crawled into their trenches, pushing past bodies bobbing like apples in the gore.

The slaughter was horrific.  New men replaced dying men. Then, within hour, they were dead, too.

The trenches filled with blood, guts, madness – a stinking circle of Hell serving all faiths, welcoming all comers.  Plenty of seating.

The Aussie mates and the Turkish farm boys didn’t last the night.  Their bodies, shoved aside by a seemingly endless supply, sank in the mud.

These were the “Founding Myths” of nations, claimed with pride by politicians who never saw the muck up close or personally.

Beautiful Gallipoli.

Turkish soil and streams nourished by the mixed fruit of the dead.

All Mothers, your children rest in the now gentle bosom of the land. They sleep as brothers. Your tears feed the oceans forever.

Jane Kohut-Bartels,

Copyright, 2007

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4 Responses to “Gallipoli, 1915”

  1. Malcolm Miller Says:

    I think you have described the real story of Gallipoli. As a child in the 1930s I was bombarded with ‘Anzac’ propaganda which originated with WW1 ex-servicemen’s associations who were determined that politicians should never again neglect returned veterans. A new generation of politicians jumped on the bandwagon and boosted their views of the Gallipoli story as a ‘coming-of-age- of Australia and a national triumph. Like Ypres and Aachen and Pearl Harbour, it was a military disaster that killed many and profited none.

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  2. ladynyo Says:

    And I think you are absolutely right, Malcolm.
    Politics, propaganda, war.

    The powers need a way to churn death/destruction into palatable mythology. Without that, where would they find fodder for future wars and aggression?

    They have to beat the drums…..

    Lady Nyo

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  3. Margie Says:

    I am always reminded, when thinking of war, of the ending of the movie “War Games” – the computer is programmed to “play” war – it shuts itself down, concluding “the only way to win, is to not start”. I concur.

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  4. ladynyo Says:

    And so do I, Margie.

    We can get tied up in knots on this issue of ‘wars against aggression’….’wars of principle’, ‘just’ wars’…etc.

    But in the end….it’s all politics. The sight of caskets with the mostly young dead should turn our minds.

    Malcolm and I have been Quakers…well, Malcolm is a Quaker, I was for 12 years.

    But ‘normal’ life brings such violence, in thought and deed, and I wonder where our societies are heading.

    Thank you for reading and commenting, Margie.

    Have a good Memorial Day.

    Lady Nyo

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