Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion - Giovanni Torre - Reporter

IN Novem­ber 2014, my great-un­cle died. His fa­ther, my great-grand­mother’s first hus­band, was killed in WWI in the moun­tains be­tween Italy and the Aus­tro-hun­gar­ian 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 around 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.

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