Sunday 16th of December 2018

we build monuments to remember not to go to war but our memory isn't that good...

remembrance

Armistice Day & the Resurrection of the Old Lie

Kit Knightly


The mental scars passed down by our great-grandfathers are still raw to the touch. To truly honour their memory, we must never let new liars get away with telling old lies.

 

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“Trauma” is a relatively new term in our language. From the ancient Greek “traûma” (τραῦμα) meaning damage or wound, it was first used in English in medical texts of the late 17th century. Physical traumas can be so devastating they cause the body to go into shock, organs shut down. Systems collapse. You die.

There comes a point where a stress is simply too much for the the body, or mind, to handle.

It wasn’t until decades after Freud first posited his theories on psychiatry that the idea of psychological trauma was described. It had always been present, recognised, but never understood. Shakespeare and Dickens wrote about it. It had a dozen names in as many languages. Surivors of railway accidents had “railway spine”, US Civil War veterans had “soldier’s heart”. French physicians diagnosed Napoleon’s soldiers with “nostalgia”, while Spanish doctors refered to men being estar roto…broken. Modern armies call it “combat fatigue”.

Soldiers in World War I called it shell shock.

The stress and fear and death and disease and rain and mud and blood and rats and shit and guns and shells. And no sleep and no food and no choice. It broke men. Thousands of them, millions.

That was over a hundred years ago, today.

SHARED SCAR-TISSUE

This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped (its) shells, were destroyed by the war.”Erich Maria RemarqueAll Quiet on the Western Front

There was a generation, of every nationality imaginable, who were victims of one of the greatest crimes in history. Today they are all gone. The last veteran of World War I died nearly ten years ago. The last of the “heroes, fit for homes” passing, one hopes, to a kinder world. Where their stresses are eased, and their persecutors judged. The oldest of human desires. The soul’s greatest wish. The last of the broken men, fixed for eternity. They deserve it.

But still, we’re here. And we remember. Why?

Jung theorised that people are joined beyond the physical boundaries of reality. Each person has a mind and thoughts and ideas and dreams as an individual….there are also collective archetypes. The group mind. Water, Shadow, the Tree of Life. Shared ideas, known by instinct, understood by everyone.

Logic would suggest a group mind is as liable to break as an individual. A shared consciousness can be traumatized as much as a private one. We can see that in our own recent history. America’s national consciousness was broken by the JFK assassination, then further fractured by Vietnam. Japan has never recovered from Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Russians carry the starvation and suffering of the siege of Leningrad in their very bones.

You can see World War One through this lens: A global trauma, species wide. We all felt it, we all feel it still. An old wound that refuses to heal.

I studied First World War history at secondary school, and then in more detail at college. I have seen the Great War documentary series and countless others like it. I have read soldiers diaries and letters home. I have digested RegenerationPaths of GloryKing and Country and Oh, what a lovely war!….all of which I highly recommend.

But, for me, none of them compare to my first experience of WWI – Blackadder Goes Forth.

I’ll admit, that seems flippant and silly. But, as a child who barely understood the idea of death or the concept of war, it was an object lesson in loss. As pure and sharp as a psalm or a sonnet or a fable.

They were Blackadder, and Baldrick, and George. They made me laugh…and then they were gone.

There is something strong in the simple horror of four frightened men, going over the top, to what they know is almost certain death. There’s power in showing us characters we’ve shared laughs with getting cut down, for no reason at all.

In its own subtle way, Blackadder is a distillation of the impact that the “Great War” had on the world. Impacts felt to this day, by all of us.

When George says “Sir…I’m scared sir.”…we feel his fear, and the fear of the million of young men like him. The junior officers, the younger sons of wealth. A hundred-thousand fools of a hundred-thousand families who weren’t wise, or lucky, enough to join the clergy. Young men who truly believe the lies that all Empires tell their soldiers: WE are in the right. WE use our power for the good of all. WE must have control, because only we can be trusted with it. Our cause is just. God is on our side. Freedom, family and love are the preserves of our side alone.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

When Baldrick asks “Why can’t we just stop sir? Why can’t we all just say ‘no more killing let’s all go home!’? Why would it be stupid just to pack it all in, sir? Why sir, why?” he’s expressing confusion and anger beyond his ability to understand. A stupid man, but decent and honest. Abused by authority he trusted and losing faith in all the systems of society he never questioned before. A miniaturised social revolution, mirroring the collapse of the Russian monarchy and the rise of Communism.

When Captain Darling laments the loss of his future, his job and his fiancée and his cricket club…we feel a pull. A black hole in our collective souls where a million happy lives might have been.

Who knows what we lost?

What undiscovered artists were blinded by gas? What brilliant scientists were picked off by snipers? Or record-breaking athletes blown apart by landmines? How many great unwritten novels shivered out of existence thanks to typhoid or dysentery? We’ll never know.

The tragedy doesn’t have to be huge to be felt.

On a smaller scale, there were smiles and kisses and dreams extinguished. Sons were never born. Daughters never held. Fiancées never married. Christmases and birthdays and summers…ruined. Forever. Millions upon millions upon millions.

And we know it. We all know it, in our gut.

Blackadder was written by, and for, a generation who weren’t born when World War I ended – whose parents weren’t born when World War I ended. It was released to mark the 70th anniversary of Armistice Day. I was less than ten when I watched it for the first time. I was less than two when it was first on television. But I understood.

In a profoundly dishonest society, the shared grief of World War I is one of the few things we all know the truth of. One of the few things we are all honest about. Because it’s important. Because it’s a wound too deep to ignore, a betrayal too lasting to be forgiven.

The Great War was sold to the British public as a just war. Men were sent over to France and Belgium to curb “German aggression and Imperial ambitions”. Every generation since has known that to be an absurd lie.

In the 200 years preceding 1914, British armies had painted a quarter of the world red with blood. We were an Empire, the greatest in human history. A “democratic” Empire where less than 20% of the population could vote. The sun never set on Britain, and yet millions lived in darkness.

It wasn’t just an Empire of bullets and banks, either, but also of marriages. Empress Victoria had spread her (half-German) children, and their watery blood, all across the Royal houses of Europe. The German Kaiser was a cousin of our King who was a cousin of the Russian Tsar. They were all the same, from the beards on their faces to the blood on their hands. Mirror images of each other. Dueling Empires, throwing men into the furnace to fuel their conquests.

Britain was not fighting for values, merely playing the grand chessboard into a horrific stalemate. Every school child has been taught that for decades.

We know that British generals were as callous as they were incompetent as they were out of touch. That when General Melchett looks at the wrong side of a map or Field Marshall Haig sweeps toy soldiers into a dustpan, that we’re only just to the satire side of reality.

Field Marshall Haig, after all, was borderline mad man. He was nicknamed “the Butcher of the Somme”, by his own men. Even Winston Churchill – that gin soaked purveyor of slaughter – thought Haig was too cavalier with the lives of the men in his charge. Butcher Haig was a monster. We’ve been taught that all our lives.

Trench warfare was a hell on Earth. Conditions beyond human imagining punctuated by events of such brutality as to tip-toe the line between tragedy and farce. Events like the Battle of Loos, where 8000 British soldiers died in 4 hours, cut down by machine guns. The Germans didn’t lose a single man.

It was all such a bloody waste. Everyone knows that, has always known that. Nobody ever questioned it.

Until now.

REINVENTING THE PAST

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”George Orwell

In 2014, to mark the centenary of the start of the war, then-Education Secretary Michael Gove criticised schools for showing Blackadder as part of WWI education.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Gove lamented the “left-wing myths” propagated by Blackadder and Oh, what a lovely war!, claiming they denigrated “British heroes” who fought valiantly in a “just war”.

Gove praised the “rehabilitation” of Field-Marshall Douglas Haig and objected to the portrayal of Britain’s war efforts as a “misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite”.

Later that year, David Cameron attempted to take the censor’s black pen to the history books in the most inappropriate way imaginable – in a letter to the Unknown Soldier. He hit all the same talking points as Gove did, more cloying, less didactic, equally dishonest. Praising the sacrifice of lives for a “just cause” and warning of the “darkness” of the world that might have existed if we had lost. He later repeated those sentiments in an equally abhorrent setting – a speech at a military cemetery in Mons.

In September 2013, Priest and academic Nigel Biggar wrote an article in Standpoint magazine criticising modern historian for refusing to attribute blame for WWI where it belongs…namely, the Germans.

In February of 2014 the BBC aired The Necessary War, a documentary in which historian Max Hastings strongly disagrees with what he calls the “Blackadder view of history” – the idea World War I was all a waste of time, fought for no reason.

In an article of August 2013, Professor Gary Sheffield used the exact same phraseIt is time to ditch the Blackadder view of history…Britain was right to fight Imperial Germany in 1914.

There was a general, establishment-backed, push to revisit the First World War, to reinvent it in the public imagination as something more akin to the way most people think of World War II. A battle against evil, a victory for the light, won at great cost.

What’s reassuring, to anyone of sense, is just how badly these efforts failed. Gove was ridiculed in the comments and called out in the media. An open letter, signed by dozens of public figures, castigated Cameron for his tasteless attempts to rewrite history. Even the Guardian contributed.

What’s troubling, to all of the same people of sense, is the motivation behind the push in the first place.

Why would the British government, and wider state as a whole, want people to change their attitude to World War I? Why now?

Is it simply that authoritarian governments require the state to be seen as above reproach?

Is it a manifestation of a compulsive need to exert control over narrative, which goes hand in hand with attaining power?

Or is there a more pragmatic reason behind it?

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…

Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.Hermann Goering

It’s important to remember the truth of the Great War.

Not the muddy, bloody, rotting, mangled truth of no-mans-land.

The more distant, ephemeral truth. The part of the war we don’t think about when we’re wearing our poppies or laying our wreaths – it didn’t need to happen.

People could have stopped it…but didn’t.

And when I say “people could have stopped it”, I don’t mean Field Marshall Haig or Kaiser Wilhelm or Winston Churchill or Emperor Franz-Josef. I mean people like you and me. Ordinary people could have stopped the war.

The elites may have wanted the war, they may have started the war, they may have profited from the war…but ordinary people supported the war. Ordinary people gave white feathers to young men, bullied the pacifists and the conscientious objectors. Ordinary people encouraged their sons and husbands and brothers to enlist. Because they were told to, and never thought to question it. Because they bought into the pro-war propaganda without ever examining it.

Because it never occurred to them that they were being lied to.

They weren’t stupid or primitive. They possessed all the same faculties we do. They just existed in a system that denied them both the agency to control their world, and the information to understand it. They believed in their system because they were told there was no alternative.

The world is very different now.

In the last hundred and four years we have made strides previously unimagined. Television and flight and space and the internet. The world was turned from black-and-white to colour. We live in a “now” where bowler hats are extinct, penny-farthings are hilarious and telephones can be kept in our back pockets…but the most important change is the free availability of information.

Ordinary people in the early 20th century didn’t have access to the same resources of knowledge or communication that most British people do today. That awareness, that inter-connectedness, is the reason we’re not at war with Syria right now. Possibly the reason the world isn’t a collection of glowing ashes.

Public intelligence, informed citizens, are a vital limit on the ability of the powerful to pursue their agenda.

That is part of the reason powerful interests want to re-invent World War I, they want to – as Orwell said – destroy us by removing our understanding of our own history.

The lasting legacy of World War I is a decreased trust in authority. A race memory of a lie that killed fifteen million people whilst enriching a few hundred. A deep trauma that proves, beyond doubt, that we are children of a father who does not love us. A wound, unaddressed and unhealed in the century since.

The world is very different now. But it’s also just the same.

Our increasingly authoritarian system of government needs a biddable underclass, people who can be bullied and manipulated into acting against their own interests. Lemmings happy to be herded off cliffs, with broad smiles on their faces.

That’s what pro-World War I propaganda is about…not a war in the past, but a war in the future. The NEXT war. The one they want to be able to sell us, in the same way, when the time comes.

That struggle is behind countless issues to this day. Lowering standards of education. Increased poverty. Debt. Starvation. Racism. Censorship. These are not accidental by-products of greed or corruption or incompetence…but deliberate policy choices. Required ingredients for the type of social structure that has existed for 90% of human civilisation – a system of peasants and kings.

They want a people who pay their meat tax, work their zero hours contracts, and don’t trust the unions. People who hate the people they’re told to hate and don’t mind being spied on. People who believe everything they read in the papers and do what they’re told. Just like in the good old days.

They want people to forget the past mistakes wrought by a complacent, ill-informed populace. They want us to forget the crimes of their past, so they can condemn us to repeat them.

Remember that, next time you share an anti-Assad meme on Facebook, or nod along in horror at the “crimes” of China or “human rights abuses” in Venezuela.

Look at these images, and ask yourself if we’re moving in the right direction:

WW1 propaganda poster, c. 1916.

Cover of the National Review, August 2016

We need to be vigilant, to remember who we are, and how we got here. Because it could all happen again.

But only if we let it.

CONCLUSION

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”George Santayana

Today, the world is as close to 1914 as at any other point in the last 100 years. An old power is crumbling, its time is over, and a dying Empire lashes out. Feverishly grasping at fraying threads of power. An old lion, roaring the last of his energy into an angry denial of his own mortality.

There is a fizz of war in the air, a barely controlled chaos on the verge of cutting loose and destroying us all. A very real possibility of a war that could traumatize the world forever, or leave no one behind to remember.

If we can examine our own past, look at our traumas honestly, perhaps we can stop history repeating itself.

I will leave you with this passage, from the novel All Quiet on the Western Front:

Tjaden reappears. He is still quite excited and again joins the conversation, wondering just how a war gets started.

“Mostly by one country badly offending another,” answers Albert with a slight air of superiority.

Then Tjaden pretends to be obtuse. “A country? I don’t follow. A mountain in Germany cannot offend a mountain in France. Or a river, or a wood, or a field of wheat.”

“Are you really as stupid as that, or are you just pulling my leg?” growls Kropp, “I don’t mean that at all. One people offends the other

“Then I haven’t any business here at all,” replies Tjaden, “I don’t feel myself offended.”

“Well, let me tell you,” says Albert sourly, “it doesn’t apply to tramps like you.”

“Then I can be going home right away,” retorts Tjaden, and we all laugh, “Ach, man! he means the people as a whole, the State” exclaims Müller.

“State, State” Tjaden snaps his fingers contemptuously, “Gendarmes, police, taxes, that’s your State; if that’s what you are talking about, no, thank you.”

“That’s right,” says Kat, “you’ve said something for once, Tjaden. State and home country, there’s a big difference.”

“But they go together,” insists Kropp, “without the State there wouldn’t be any home country.”

“True, but just you consider, almost all of us are simple folk. And in France, too, the majority of men are labourers, workmen, or poor clerks. Now just why would a French blacksmith or a French shoemaker want to attack us? No, it is merely the rulers. I had never seen a Frenchman before I came here, and it will be just the same with the majority of Frenchmen as regards us. They weren’t asked about it any more than we were.”

“Then what exactly is the war for?” asks Tjaden.

Kat shrugs his shoulders. “There must be some people to whom the war is useful.”

“Well, I’m not one of them,” grins Tjaden.

“Not you, nor anybody else here.”

“Who are they then?” persists Tjaden. “It isn’t any use to the Kaiser either. He has everything he can want already.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” contradicts Kat, “he has not had a war up till now. And every full-grown emperor requires at least one war, otherwise he would not become famous. You look in your school books.”

“And generals too,” adds Detering, “they become famous through war.”

Even more famous than emperors,” adds Kat.

“There are other people back behind there who profit by the war, that’s certain,” growls Detering.

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2018/11/11/armistice-day-the-resurrection-of-the-old-lie/

flowers for the statues...

statuesstatues

falsehood in war-time...

After the Great War came a huge backlash of disillusion and revulsion. Calmly analysed, most of what had been told in the war turned out to be lies and half-truths. Falsehood in War-time, Containing an Assortment of Lies Circulated Throughout the Nations During the Great War” was the title of a book published in 1928. Written by Arthur, Ponsonby, it discussed 20 instances of lies in wartime.

The contents of the book can be summed up in the Ten Commandments of War Propaganda:

  1. We do not want war.
  2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
  3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
  4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
  5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
  6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
  7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
  8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
  9. Our cause is sacred.
  10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.
THE ENEMY IS THE FACE OF THE DEVIL

The perception of German atrocities in World War 1 has had is up and downs during the decades.  They ‘Huns’ were indeed quite ruthless, and freely executed several thousand suspected franc-tireurs and hostages when they invaded Belgium and Northern France in 1914.

However, the theme of barbaric, nun-raping, baby-bayonetting Huns was so carried to excess by the Entente propaganda machine that there came a backlash in public opinion after the war. By the 1920s, the disillusionment with the war and its aftermath was so great that all of these stories were dismissed as atrocity propaganda, which again would backfire in 1939, when there was reluctance to believe stories of – this time real – massive German atrocities.

The same theme was used more recently, with the infamous tale of «Iraqis ripping babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals», in the warm-up to the Gulf War in 1990. Before the US Congress, a young woman in tears testified how she as a nurse in Kuwait witnessed Iraqi soldiers ripping prematurely born babies out of their incubators, leaving them to die on the floor. The story was later repeated by an equally moved President George HW Bush.

The public later found out that the woman was in fact not a nurse, but the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington, and the story was concocted as part of the propaganda effort by the PR-Agency Hill & Knowlton.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2018/11/12/world-war-i-an-illustrated-guide-to-...

 

Read also:

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11276

rewriting history, from conjectures...

 

from JOHN DUNCAN

 

The 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice to end World War I has generated a lot of discussion and articles about the so-called “Great War.”

Most of the neocon chickenhawks who so eagerly led us into the disastrous war in Iraq seemingly want to be regarded as modern-day Winston Churchills.

They might be very surprised to read Scott Berg’s great biography of Woodrow Wilson, which quotes Churchill as saying: “America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War,” meaning World War I.

Churchill told William Griffin, editor of the New York Enquirer newspaper in August 1936: “If you hadn’t entered the war, the Allies would have made peace with Germany in the Spring of 1917. Had we made peace, then there would have been no collapse in Russia followed by Communism, no breakdown in Italy followed by Fascism, and Germany would not have… enthroned Nazism.”

It is amazing how often one war leads to or causes another one.

It is also amazing how cavalier those who have never fought in war can be about sending others to fight and even be killed or maimed.

It is a sad commentary on our recent history of unnecessary but seemingly permanent wars that the most anti-war president that we’ve had in the last 70 years has been Dwight D. Eisenhower, a career military man and leader in World War II.

Eisenhower’s most famous words came in his farewell address at the very end of his presidency when he warned against the excesses of the military-industrial complex.

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/what-the-neocon-chicken...

 

Read from top and read also:

claptrap and the empire-men...

 

then they threw the bodies down the well...

The moment that forever changed my perspective on Anzac mythology

Paul Daley

One winter’s morning a decade ago while in the late stages of archival research for a book about the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East during the first world war, I came across a file that would forever alter my perspective on Anzac mythology.

In the Australian War Memorial that morning I read an anodyne description of a voice file – a recording of Private Edward “Ted” Harold O’Brien from C Squadron of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, most of whose members hailed, like him, from Tasmania.

A summary said that O’Brien talked about horses, his work after the war, his time as a linesman in Palestine and of his visits to the pyramids in Egypt. Interesting - but nothing extraordinary, given all I’d already read about the battlefield experiences of his fellow horsemen.

I was about to look elsewhere when another sentence caught my eye: “New Zealanders and Australians went to Bedouin village and killed the men with bayonet and broke up the buildings.

My book was at that point LARGELY about the remarkable achievements of the light horsemen (who were for all their agility, stealth, bush-craft and warrior skill, effectively the Special Air Service of their day) as they helped drive the Ottoman troops from the Suez canal in early 1916 across Palestine and to final defeat at Damascus and beyond in late 1918.

O’Brien’s words, recorded in 1988 when a very old man, described how the Australian horsemen, based on the coastal plain of Palestine after war’s end in December 1918, “went out to this village and they went through it with a bayonet”.

Oh yes, our squadron was there. I was down there. I don’t know what I did with it, I was cranky and that. But they had a good issue of rum and they did their blocks.”

Just how badly the Anzacs did their blocks when it came to murdering all of the males older than 16 in the Arab village of Surafend 100 years ago would become evident to the British, Australian and New Zealand military officials in the days and months afterwards during a series of secretive inquiries that swept the truth into the corners of history.

This event was to me starkly at odds with the heroic reputation of the light horsemen as I’d known it, based on most of the official – and many unofficial – records I’d come across to that point.

While the Surafend massacre had been relegated to the furthest edge of the Anzac record, including in Henry Gullett’s official history of Australian troops in the Middle East, it naturally caused me to rethink the book, Beersheba, and, not least, to re-examine the primary sources and literature I’d already read.

I spent more months in the Australian and British archives trawling through patchy accounts of private military inquiries and the letters and diaries of government and military officials. At the 100th anniversary of the massacre, it’s worth recalling – given the $600m worth of remembering Australia had dedicated to the bravery and “sacrifice” of the Anzacs – just how they behaved, and what apparently inspired them, at Surafend.

It helps to understand the Anzac attitude to the nomadic Bedouin and the town Arabs of Palestine. The Australians did not distinguish between them. The letters and diaries of the Australian horseman are replete with critical impressions of both.

Gullett wrote how the Bedouin “prowled round [sic] the edge of the battlegrounds ready to tear uniforms and boots from the fallen and even to dig up and strip the dead”.

They were, he wrote, “Scarcely higher in civilisation than the Australian blacks – these wretched tribes presented a miserable and starved appearance.

I found Gullett’s racially-charged comparison of the Bedouin to Indigenous people from Australia echoed everywhere in the private writings of the soldiers and their Australian commanders. In the context of Surafend they would later point me to a homegrown attitude, especially in rural Australia (from where the earliest light horse regiments were drawn and where massacres proliferated throughout the 19th and well into the 20th centuries) that rendered the dark-skinned inferior and easily dispensable.

The warrior wordsmith Ion Idriess, a member of the 5th Light Horse Regiment, wrote: “They snip our wounded and dig up our dead, and steal everything they can lay their hands on. But far worse than this they are spies ... And yet we are warned to leave the Bedouins strictly alone.”

After the 1918 armistice the Australians and New Zealanders from the three brigades of the Anzac Mounted Division were camped near the Jewish settlement of Richon le Zion, close to the Mediterranean and Tel Aviv. The Australians particularly were well known and liked by the Jews, if not the local Arabs. There was plentiful food and alcohol and while the men waited to repatriate, they were kept busy with drill, horse racing, football and cricket games.

The Bedouin were on the outskirts of the camp, which was also near the Arab village Surafend whose residents, it was said, stole where they could from the Anzacs.

On the night of 9 December 1918, 21-year-old New Zealand Trooper Leslie Lowry chased a thief who’d tried to steal his kitbag. He caught the robber who shot Lowry through the chest. Lowry died.

According to a letter written in 1936, Trooper Ambrose Stephen Mulhall of the 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment, reckoned Lowry “told his comrades before he died the thief and his murderer was a Bedouin and that he had gone to the Bedouin [Arab] village”.

Patsy Adam-Smith, who in her seminal book The Anzacs perhaps did more than any other mid-late 20th century Australian writer to lionise and mythologise the “diggers”, deals with what happened next perfunctorily, with questionable accuracy and in prose that searches for equivalence. 

The troops, a mixed bunch of Australians, New Zealanders and Scots, raided the village in their anger and undoubtedly killed men there. One report states that they threw villagers down a well and rolled a large grindstone down on top of them. Their excuse was that they were sick of the natives stealing; for five years they’d put up with their small private possessions from home being stolen as well as their uniforms and gear, were weary of their men being ambushed and killed while the authorities did nothing.”

The revered Australian bush bard, Banjo Paterson – who served the 1st Australian Imperial Force remounts in Egypt – brought more light and shade to his description than Adam-Smith could summons. Yet he still sought to diminish the role of the Australians in his account of how the New Zealanders “and their blood brothers the [Scottish] Highlanders organised a revenge party”.

A few Australians went along with them – there couldn’t be any trouble on any front without an Australian being in it – and the revenge party followed the thief to his village, recovered the stolen goods and killed every able-bodied man in the village. Then they threw the bodies down the well, filled the well up, burnt the village, and retired in good order …”

Paterson fails to capture the premeditated nature of the revenge attack that was planned after the Arab chiefs refused to surrender the thief/murderer on the day of the 10th. The reprisal was carefully planned for 7pm on the evening of the 10th, and the men – including a good many Australians – determined to arm themselves with bayonets, axe handles and sharpened sticks, to get all of the women and children out of the village, to kill all males over 16 and to burn the village.

Afterwards they also killed men at the nearby Bedouin camp and torched it.

The Scots blamed the New Zealanders. The New Zealanders blamed the Australians. The Australians blamed the New Zealanders and the Scots.

The official inquiries were a whitewash, so comprehensively did most of the men lie to protect one another...

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/postcolonial-blog/2018/dec/10...

 

 

Read from top.

 

See also:

the WW1 conspiracy...