Australian Sports presenter/journalist Scott Mcintyre recently got sacked by his Television Network SBS for making some “offensive remarks” about ANZAC soldiers and general comments about World Wars 1 and 2. The Journalist took to his Twitter account to make a series of tweets that were Anti-War, Anti Anzac Day and Anti glorification- voicing an opinion that is controversially “different” to the general take on the Australian and New Zealand war Veterans and their roles not only in Gallipoli, Turkey but numerous other locations during International war campaigns.
The Australian Channel SBS is known for its “diverse” and “alternative” take on news and current affairs and it is a channel that prides itself from presenting –other than– mainstream views on a variety of topics. Some people saw his sacking as justified whilst others have pulled into question the supposed freedoms of “Freedom Of Speech”.
People that know me might notice that every year during ANZAC day (April 25th) all of my social media outlets are silent. As our Television stations, radio channels and workplaces inundate people with the remembrance of our fallen soldiers and the hard work put forward by Australian and New Zealand service men and women we see that our social media outlets are flooded with comments, memes, pictures and memoirs commemorating the day – except that i do not say a word.
There are a few reasons for this, first of all War is a complex thing. It is easy to put forward a romanticized narrative about Wars, especially when Nationalism comes into play, yet once we look past the facade of the ever so simplistic views of Anzac day and if we dig deep into the wars and our involvement within them we see that not only is war ugly, it actually holds to it two different sides and two different perspectives and once we take a moment to view the war from another perspective it must put into question exactly what we are glorifying and why.?
The same goes for Australia Day- many of us are so caught up in our modern day nationalistic pride that we forget, for some people- the Aboriginals- or the “other perspective” such a day is not a day of celebration, glory or honour but a day of regret, hostility and pain. That is why i also fail to make commentary about Australia Day because i actually think about the other side, i precisely question if i celebrate such an occasion, may i be hurting others? The exact same thing goes for ANZAC day, if i glorify such a day, may i be hurting those that saw the occasion as something else? Something like an invasion or aggressive attempt at war? It’s not my place to make such a compelling stand and statement.
This is where people need to understand, just as the case of Scott Mcintyre- failing to acknowledge such days the same ways as other people acknowledges them doesn’t mean i disrespect our history, neither does it mean i hate my beautiful country or all that we stand for. It doesn’t make us an enemy or disrespectful mongrels that spit on the graves of fallen soldiers. I am absolutely sure i have friends that have had relatives involved in such occasions and i refuse to belittle their efforts or bravery in the face of war, yet i respond to complex issues with a complex mind. I cannot “simplify” war and i cannot dumb down the details of such intense and scattered battles where many individuals stories and narratives contradict the “perfect” storyboard of events that is given to us.
There is no Orthodoxy on how an Australian should view ANZAC day or Australia day yet the fact of the matter is people are cast as treacherous villains for having outside opinions of such events that are fed to us by our Politicians and the Media. I cannot help but think as we intensify in such remembrance year after year we are coming a step closer to not only glorifying a past war but unintentionally and subconsciously preparing to glorify our involvement in future wars– most of which are not sanctioned by us but our Allies overseas.
I do not believe Scott Mcintyre should have been fired for his opinions, even if they were poorly expressed. His Employer could have easily “distanced themselves” from his statements on his personal Twitter by distinctively stating his words are not an expression of their views or beliefs- but they should have stood by his right to say what he did without losing his livelihood. Our Nanny State antics are hitting the roof if even a person that works for Australias most “diverse” channel cannot voice his own controversial opinion without getting fired for it or being forced to apologize for offending others.
Besides, many of the Murdoch Run Newspapers across Australia run articles by “pop up journalists” all the time that are full of racist, homophobic, ignorant and offensive statements in the form of “blogs” and they all manage to keep their jobs, in fact their presence becomes more highlighted, just as the case with out of the Blue “journalists” Rita Panahi or Tim Blair who constantly makes offensive jibes at Muslims in the form of News Corporated “blog” articles. The truth of the matter is i don’t expect any better from such rubbish press, yet i did and still do expect better from SBS who pride themselves in supposed diversity to be able to handle a “diverse” opinion.
At the end of the day Freedom Of Speech is paramount in any civilized society. My lack of speech indicates that i am not confident enough to celebrate, glorify or amplify such days on our calender. I acknowledge the history of it, i acknowledge the Peoples bravery and spirit in the face of war- yet i cannot commemorate something i cannot relate to. There are far too many dissenting opinions and there is more than one perspective we must look through. I look at such days as lessons at most- perhaps such days could make us think more about the value of human life and the tragedy of war and perhaps such days could encourage us to not send more troops abroad so we can avoid the risk of allowing history to repeat itself- again.