This is the full text of a speech I gave recently for the International Socialist Organisation in Wellington and Dunedin. For a shorter version of the speech, go to the ISO website: http://iso.org.nz/2015/07/22/the-anzac-spectacle-gallipoli-peter-jackson-and-the-politics-of-forgetting/
This year New Zealand and Australia commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign. One hundred years ago thousands of Allied troops invaded what was then the Ottoman Empire on April 25th 1915. The ensuing eight month battle was a grim and bloody affair fought within a tiny section of the Mediterranean coastline. Casualties were heavy on both sides, with the number of Turkish / Arab deaths being by far the highest. It was the first major battle the newly christened 'Anzac' soldiers had been involved in, and the large number of deaths had a profound impact upon the people of New Zealand and Australia. The following years of battle took an even heavier toll, but this first shock assumed a sort of mythic status, and now the date of April 25th is the focus of WW1 commemoration in New Zealand and Australia.