Our Anzac duty to shine a light on world
IN November 2014, my great-uncle died.
His father, my great-grandmother’s first husband, was killed in World War I in the mountains between Italy and the AustroHungarian Empire.
On the other side of the world and almost 100 years later, his son Charlie (Carmelo) died peacefully in North Perth. He never really knew his dad.
Charlie Eliamandri’s life is one tiny part of a vast and sprawling story, one of unimaginable grief and loss, of death on an industrial scale, of trauma across generations and across continents.
Italy lost between 3 per cent and 3.5 per cent of its population in that war, Australia almost 1.3 per cent, France about 4.3 per cent, Romania 9 per cent, Turkey 15 per cent and Serbia at least 16 per cent in just four and a half years.
The war scarred the consciousness of Europe; its tragedy set the scene for another, even worse catastrophe two decades later.
April 25 is our Anzac Day for remembering those who died in that war and all of the others. It is also a day on which we have to grapple with the ghastly repetitions of history, with the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Saudi war on Yemen, the Boko Haram crisis across Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger and Chad, the fighting in Myanmar, Israel and Palestine, and South Sudan.
History casts a long shadow, one that seems to be shrouding much of the world in darkness today.
On Anzac Day, it is our duty to shine a light.