Thursday 30 December 2010

Songs About Turkey #5

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda - Eric Bogle

I first heard this performed by The Pogues at the end of another manic album. A spectacular song written by Eric Bogle. It tells the story of an Australian soldier being shipped off to Gallipoli.

I wont go into the detail of the war; that deserves a much longer post. All I will say is that it's not something we learnt much about at school in the UK. We were told it was the greatest retreat in British military history and that was about all.

It is, however, a subject Turks like to remind me about and tell me their version of events. I think both sides agree that it was one of the biggest fuck-ups in British Military history. A war filled with bad luck, communication, timing, strategy, reasoning and execution.

I watched a documentary in Turkish with my cousin and uncle. Not understanding the commentary, I looked to my cousin to pause and translate from time-to-time. He often paused just to laugh at the comedic incompetence of the allied strategy.

One story I remember vividly... Anzac troops take two weeks to finally clear and mount a strategic point on a hill at the cost of hundreds of lives. Finally reaching the top, allied ships see them, think they're Turks and bomb them. It's something from the pen of Mel Brooks.

Anyway, here is the song sung by Mr.Bogle himself. Take a moment to think of the thousands who lost their lives and remember the quote of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk:
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.
You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now living in our bosom and are in peace.
Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well"