You couldn't even wait 24-hours

There are a few constants that are found in life. Death, taxes, and the complete disrespect of service personnel and ANZAC Day.

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BY SEAN AYRES

It was only last year that Sudanese born Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied made the infamous Facebook post on ANZAC Day ‘Lest we forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine...)’. Uproar rapidly followed, with Abdel-Magied forced to apologise for the post, an apology that seems to have been as fake as a pair of $5 Ray Bans from a market stall in Bali. I don’t accept the level of personal attacks, threats and vitriol directed at Abdel-Magied following her apology, but it is unacceptable to use ANZAC Day to virtue signal your completely unrelated beliefs.

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Sure enough, this year has seen the return of this blatant disrespect. In the lead up to ANZAC Day, Abdel-Magied backed a campaign for thousands of Twitter users to tweet the same message as her Facebook post last year. Even more worryingly, the NSW Young Greens Facebook page has also joined in, making a post that refers to almost everything but the focus of ANZAC Day.

The post raises issues such as deaths from the colonisation of Australia and New Zealand, asylum seekers in detention and an apparent fascist, racist government dividing workers. The post also accuses the Australian military of conducting chemical attacks on Vietnamese communities, a motivation of profit for involvement in Syria and Iraq, and calls out a government fabrication of ANZAC Day into a story of heroism and mateship.

So what’s wrong with all of these political messages? Many people believe they are all important issues that need addressing. Here’s the answer plain and simple: there are 365 days in a standard year, we’re giving one of those to reflect on the sacrifice of our service personnel, past and present, and their families. You can take the other 364 days of the year if you want, criticise the government, stand up for asylum seekers in detention, comment on Australia’s undeniably dark colonial past, and the mistakes we’ve made as a nation. But don’t relate your messages back to ANZAC Day.

ANZAC Day isn’t about getting political on whatever issue you see fit. It's about remembrance of the Australians who have died in the name of this country. It’s about reflecting on the terrible destructive nature of war. It's about acknowledging the pain, both physical and mental, the suffering and the sacrifice of past and present service personnel and their families. It’s about the personnel and their families. It is not about you or your political agenda.

Aaron AngelComment