NEWS Com­bat film will con­front view­ers

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - BEN PIKE

A CON­FRONTING war film with com­bat scenes from Aus­tralian op­er­a­tions in Afghanista­n is “a story that has to be told”.

Aus­tralian War Me­mo­rial direc­tor Bren­dan Nel­son re­mains un­apolo­getic about a new film Afghanista­n: the Aus­tralian Story, which takes view­ers in­side the De­fence Forces’ bat­tles with the Tal­iban.

The film will be re­leased on Wed­nes­day and in­cludes in­ter­views with veter­ans as they re­count bat­tles and re­flect on their ser­vice.

“There is a lot of dis­cus­sion about post-trau­matic stress and a lot of Aus­tralians have no idea of what it was like,” Dr Nel­son said.

“Aus­tralians need to see this and get a sense of the vi­o­lence and phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal trauma which has been ex­pe­ri­enced by these men and women.

The film co­in­cides with the un­veil­ing of a new $800,000 ex­hi­bi­tion at the Aus­tralian War Me­mo­rial in Can­berra.

The 150sq m dis­play will cover Aus­tralia’s in­volve­ment in the Mid­dle East, from the The First Gulf War in 1991 to UN Weapons In­spec­tions through the 1990s, the Afghan war 2001-2014 and Iraq 2003-2009.

Dr Nel­son said it was im­por­tant to make his­tory a liv­ing thing and to honour the 60,000 De­fence Force per­son­nel who have served over­seas in the past 20 years.

“Aus­tralians need to see this and get a sense of the vi­o­lence”

BREN­DAN NEL­SON

The idea for the new dis­play came from a let­ter Dr Nel­son re­ceived 18 months ago from an Afghanista­n and Iraq army vet­eran.

“He wrote that he was re­ally proud of what had been done with Afghanista­n but re­ally an­gry that there is vir­tu­ally noth­ing there about Iraq,” Dr Nel­son said.

“I wrote back and told him that I am em­bar­rassed and an­gry and as­sured him that I was work­ing on it.

“I’m con­vinced that the Aus­tralian War Me­mo­rial is a very im­por­tant part of the ther­a­peu­tic en­vi­ron­ment for veter­ans com­ing back to a coun­try which has no idea what they are do­ing.

“It is about mak­ing sure their story is told, and told now, so that veter­ans and their fam­i­lies can have pride of their story be­ing told and get a sense of the im­pact their ser­vice.”

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