I could do with a 24 hour moratorium on Gallipoli roadworks responsibility wrangling. There’s been a road there for decades. I used it in 1990 when I went to Anzac Cove. From what I can make out, that road has been widened and the current brouhaha is about whether the widening has ‘desecrated’ the site. It doesn’t look like it to me, but I’m obviously in Sydney. Peter Cosgrove doesn’t reckon it has; Howard isn’t too sure but in the unlikely event that something untoward has occured he’d prefer that one directs any queries to the Turks. De Ann Kelly thinks that the needs of the deceased should be balanced with the needs of the living (or something equally inane) and Danna Vale wasn’t there at the time. Peter Costello suggested on Insiders that the Turkish roading contractor would have found the constant presence of the Australian PM (or his representative) a tad offputting but the Beazle insists that this is Howard’s Road to Political Perdition nonetheless.
When I was there, the road didn’t matter a toss. It was an incredibly evocative place caught between a metallic sea and rough, scrubby headlands. The sheer scope renders roads irrelevant. It’s not beautiful but it is grand and I had no difficulty envisioning that dawn on the beach when the boats emptied of shit-scared kids from Terrigal and Te Awamutu, Perth and Palmerston North, under the Turkish guns. A monumental fuckup as it turned out, but of such disasters, national consciousness is forged.
If the roading crap isn’t enough you can dabble in the New Zealand’s Herald’s outrage at Howard’s apparent eschewing of the Kiwi Anzac service for a barbie with Aussie vets or, alternatively, focus on the Sydney Morning Herald’s barely concealed delight in reporting that the Turkish government has apparently insisted to NZ that the haka not be performed because it’s ‘pornographic.’ Expect innumerable impromptu haka ……
What would those kids in the boats have made of it all?