Saturday, April 25, 2015

A pile of bones

Native Greek children standing by the bones of deceased soldiers who died during the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign they have collected on Hill 60, Anzac Cove in 1919.

I was born in Turkey and I now hold dual citizenship of Australian and Turkish.

Back in Turkey I was raised up at school and at home with stories of our ancestors’ heroism.

Gallipoli War was a decisive Turkish victory no one could take away, a war thorn nation’s determination against aggressors, despite being defeated in other fronts. It is also our D-day for the coming Republic, birth of a magnificent leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and a test that checked our confidence to challenge the World, a world determined to see us as “sick man of the Europe”. In Gallipoli a nation was born.

Settling in Australia made me realise to see the other side of the coin. There were similarities. The official history and stories spoken at home. Gallipoli had been a defeat in military terms but out of ashes a new identity, an independent sense of belonging emerged among ordinary Australians. In Gallipoli a nation was born.

During the Gallipoli campaign Ottoman Empire had 174,828, British Empire 187,969 casualties including dead, wounded, missing, not including illness.

The question remains for us, why do we glorify wars?

Is it simply out of respect to dead, or soothing our sense of guilt? We are the lucky ones born in the right time after all.

Is it the primal instinct of close kinship our genes instruct?

Or is it really an absurd arithmetic equation?

Two nations equal to a pile of bones.