Monday, April 27, 2015

ANZAC Weekend, perspectives need to be readjusted.

I'm not sure just how much this has to do with writing, or being an author, but during times of deep reflection, I suppose all things should be considered.

Occasionally I go off on a personal tangent - now is one of those times, so feel free to stop reading if you are looking for something amazing about authordom to follow.

Gallipoli, May 1915 - a hundred years ago. tens of thousands of ordinary people, men just like the bloke you sit next to at the bar, or work alongside, or share a bus ride with, or people you bump into in the street; tens of thousands of men just like them, struggled with their inner most fundamental basic beliefs of humanity, and set about killing each other. If the stories are to be believe, these brave men were slaughtered as a result of incompetent leadership, poor military tactics and, to be frank, a complete disregard for their own safety. I truly have to wonder what can possibly motivate grown men to rush machine guns with nothing more than a single shot rifle and a bayonet? What must they feel when they've just watched two or three lines of their comrades cut to ribbons, without even clearing the lip of the trenches? How do they take those next few steps up the makeshift ladder to almost certain death? Is it the forlorn hope that the machine gunners have ran out of ammunition, or changing the belt fed bullet spitting machine guns of the Turkish army? Or is it a strange acceptance that it's just 'their time'? I am reminded of a conversation I had with an old Scotsman, a lot of years ago: "Death becomes your friend." he told me, "Not in a 'lets have a beer and a chat' type friend, but more of a 'C'mon pal, walk with me, it'll soon be over' type friend." Strangely, I suppose I have a better understanding remembering his words, but I certainly won't pretend to be able to imagine the horrors they must have witnessed. Some would say a belief in God drove them forward, some were willing to give up their own life to stop the enemy from reaching out it's claws and striking at the homeland of their families, and some were programmed to follow orders; whatever the motivation, it must have been a hell beyond words.

Lessons were not learned as they should of been, that is obvious even by modern standards. But I want to focus on that unknown Private soldier, huddled in a trench, ankle deep in rain water polluted by the blood of the many soldiers that lay dead in its path as it washed over the hillside battlefield. I can't get in to his head. To try and imagine what he must have felt deep inside, waiting for the whistle blast that will send him to his untimely death, is beyond me because my imagination could not do justice to that mans personal suffering. And for that I thank him!

I always buy and wear a poppy; I was in the army, my two brothers were in the army, my father was in the army.... you get the picture. We were always taught to respect those that have gone before, taught to respect the sacrifice, particularly of the fallen. My children have had the same education based on one very simple understanding - If it wasn't for them, if it wasn't for those incredibly brave hundreds of thousands, we would not have the life that we have today. There is a luxury about not being able to imagine the horrors that those servicemen and woman must have witnessed, experiences that were repeated across Europe. And, it's a 'luxury' purchased with the lives of those same men and women.

So, "where the heck am I going with all this", I hear the strange person sitting in the dark, still reading this,

Well, for me it's my yardstick for what's important, what matters; would that unknown Private soldier give a flying stuff about it? If the answer (in my head) is 'no' then it puts things in perspective for me. And here I shall introduce this thinking into the realm of authorom; based on the above, just how important are bad reviews? (You didn't see that coming eh?). With all the charges of lost revenue, personal attacks, 'trolling' or sock puppets, just how important - on a scale of the 'damns' given by those soldiers in Gallipoli one hundred years ago - is it?

Just my thoughts.

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