It’s ANZAC Day in Australia. This year, we have two family members in the ADF. (Australian Defence Force). One will be marching for the first time. Our family has a history of service, with my father serving in the RAAF, along with several uncles, and another who was in the army, along with a grandfather who served in Darwin after the bombings in WWII.
This ANZAC Day I’ve been reflecting on the troubled world we live in. Although global scale wars have (fortunately) been largely in our past, it doesn’t mean the world is at peace – in fact it’s far from it.
We have only to look to the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia to see strife and trouble, war and insurgency, sadness and death.
In the last few weeks we’ve seen terrorism rampant in New Zealand and Sri Lanka, with the death toll seemingly rising daily.
Although ANZAC Day focuses on Australian and New Zealand Armed Services, and the dead and injured, and those who have served in conflicts in the twentieth and twenty first centuries, I’ve been wondering how much difference there is in those who have died in the terrorist attacks so recently, or even in the last few years.
It seems that this is the age of terror. When those whose beliefs and fears make them feel that it is right to kill those who believe or feel or even just live, differently to themselves. Those terrorists seem to live in a tiny bubble, populated by only a few who feel the same way.
And yet, some act. Over the last few years. we’ve seen the rise of nationalism in many countries. While it’s a good thing to be proud of your country, ‘your’ country isn’t necessarily ever going to be a place that only has people ‘just like you.’ And that’s a good thing. People who are different to ‘us’ enrich us. We can learn from each other. People who think that difference = bad. really need to take a step back and think about things.
You see, in any country, things will never stay the same as it was back in the ‘good old days.’ I’m sitting here in a country I’m visiting, typing on my laptop, about a remembrance day in my country of origin, and this post might well be read by people in several other countries. We are a world connected by technology.
Yet, at the same time, we are also simply people. Most of us just want to get through each day in some kind of decent shape. We all want the same things – water, food, shelter. safety. A space to grow our families. Some of us have this, without even having to think too hard about it. Others have nothing.
When bad things happen, people often rush to put their own spin on things. Most recently I’ve seen people comment things like:
“That bad thing happened over there. and it’s had more media coverage than that other thing!”
“If someone from ‘that other group’ was hurt then they’d get more media coverage than ‘my group’ would.”
“Why isn’t the media covering everything equally?”
Hint: It’s the media…
And you know, most recently, I’ve been wondering why people are focusing so heavily on the ‘why isn’t it all about people like me’ feelings when they could be out there actually doing something meaningful. It’s the ‘people like me’ feelings that cause division. They lead to people making ‘people like me’ statements. Then other people get on board and it’s a whole whinge fest in the making.
We have an election looming. And so far the advertising from a couple of parties have been very much about nationalism. And not nationalism in a good way.
Today I’ve been challenged in my own thinking. It’s easy to slip into whinging rather than working to remind both myself and others that we are all people. We might not all get along, but on ANZAC Day, when we are reminded of the consequences of not getting along on a global scale, surely we can try and be a little less insular, and a bit more thoughtful.