Thursday, April 25, 2013

ANZAC Day parade, Sydney, April 2013

Out early (for me) to the ANZAC Day parade in central Sydney on a sunny morning. I don't really know why I went - I'm not especially patriotic or militaristic, but it's a bit of spectacle and a bit of Australian culture. It's always stirring to see the WW2 veterans, although unfortunately there's few of them present these days. Most of the older marchers I presume are from the Korean war and Vietnam war era. There were also a lot of young military-looking blokes in suits with medals - presumably veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of them looked quite odd - almost like mobile phone salesmen rather than soldiers. I suppose that's the difference between a citizen/conscript armed forces and the new volunteer 'professional' military.
It feels awkward being at a parade when you don't support the current wars in Afghanistan etc. Especially when you see newspaper reports quoting current soldiers saying it has been their ambition to fight in Afghanistan to 'defend Australia'. In a documentary I saw about Afghanistan, the terrain and society reminded me of Tibet and NW China, and I could only imagine what the people of those regions would think if battalions of western soldiers in their obligatory Gucci military kit were tramping through their villages. "Go away, leave us alone' I think wold be the most obvious sentiment. It's one thing to be defending your country when Hitler is at Calais or the Japanese are at Kokoda ... but sending troops to central Asia? Well,, I don't want to bang on about this. Nothing I say or do is going to make a difference.
For the remainder of the day, I pedalled around Elizabeth Bay, enjoying the sun and just soaking up that languid Australian 'day off' atmosphere. I snapped a few scenes with my Contax IIa and used the 50mm Sonnar and 21mm Biogon with B&W Fuji Neopan Acros film. I passed one of the most expensive houses in Sydney and the owner/occupier drove in in and old Ford Fairmont. Wish I'd got a picture of that.

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