Sunday was Anzac Day and, unsurprisingly, the ABC had a crack at this important commemoration for being *checks notes* not sufficiently inclusive. Sadly, nothing is as near and dear to our national broadcaster as its loathing for all things *checks notes again* Australian.
On the surface, its report from Siobhan Marin talks about ‘The Remembering and Healing’ event and ‘corresponding interfaith service’ held in Lismore to make non-Anglo Australians feel more included in Anzac Day. In substance, it’s mostly a self-loathing, self-indulgent, establishment-hating dog whistle, perched on the very flimsiest foundations.
My attention was piqued by the opening anecdote from an Australian woman, Edda Lampis, born of Italian parents who migrated here after the war. Her family’s story is not dissimilar to that of most post-war migrants from Europe, including my own parents and grandparents who migrated to Australia from Italy in the 1950s.
But what really jiggled my panna cotta were these quotes in the article: “When I wake up to Anzac Day, and the fighter jets are flying overhead, I just get a full feeling of dread in my body”, “I know that those fighter jets are being used in conflicts overseas to bomb people like me” and “I’m very aware that my ancestors were the enemy.”
Ms Lampis, I see what you’re doing. And I call bullshit.
Despite being born in a safe, peaceful and free Australia, Lampis indulges her faux victimhood by pillaging the experiences of past generations, to insinuate that the commemoration of Anzac Day is somehow glorifying and encouraging war against ‘people like her’ (whatever that means) in an attempt to denigrate our veterans and divide Australians.
Now, both sides of my family were caught up in World War II. My Nonno Antonio was captured by the Germans after the signing of the armistice and was imprisoned at Dresden for 16 months before he escaped. Ironically, after he migrated to Australia, he kept German Shepherds as pets. If that isn’t strength of character, I don’t know what is. My Nonno Angelo fought in North Africa, was captured by the Allies, and remained a PoW until the end of the war. In the meantime, the family was hiding in the Apennines adjacent to the Gustav Line while first the Germans occupied Monte Cassino and then while the Allies bombed and blasted the bejesus out of it. Our area was eventually liberated by the Allies. And when I say liberated, I mean they beat the Germans and then stood back as French colonial troops committed mass rapes and killings of women and girls in the area. My Nonna Alma and her siblings ran for their lives and managed to evade capture and worse.
But here’s the thing: both sides of my family moved to Australia, were naturalized, made Australia their home, have Australian friends, commemorate Anzac Day, and have enough common sense to appreciate that soldiers on both sides were (mostly) decent men, serving their respective nations — and often not by choice.
Anzac Day isn’t about glorifying war; it’s about taking a moment to be grateful to those who served and sacrificed themselves for our safety and freedom. Every Anzac Day I reflect on how countries that were once enemies became friends and how I won the lottery of life by being born here.
Forgiveness and redemption are also major themes of ANZAC Day. Because without the prospect of redemption we can never really move forward, bring down old barriers, and see the commonality between people.
But the ABC refuses to see that side of the coin. Instead, it indulges the same banal, lazy, cookie-cutter approach to commentary in its quest to position all things through the prism of victimhood.
It’s subtle but it’s there. Thankfully, Australians aren’t fooled.
Caroline Di Russo is a lawyer, businesswomen and unrepentant nerd.
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