Rebellious Track #2: The Pogues - And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda (written by Eric Bogle)
President Obama has recently called a summit to discuss the Afghan war and to debate the contentious issue of whether to send 40,000 more troops to fight in the conflict that has been battering the country since 2001. Polls in the U.S. indicate that people are split nearly evenly on whether more or less American soldiers belong in Afghanistan. This comes along with the news (reported here in the New York Times), that Iraq faces a constitutional crisis in the coming year, on the eve of America's planned "waterfall" troop withdrawal in the spring, throwing another wrench into George Bush's plan to spread democracy in the Middle East with the midas touch of the American military. Never has there been a more important time to reflect upon the purpose and impact of war. Eric Bogle's mournful and inspiring song And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda (1971), covered here by Irish/English band the Pogues, tells the story of a young Australian man recruited to fight in the First World War and sent into battle at Gallipoli. The song eloquently expresses the brutality and futility of war, the fate of veterans, and the apathy of later generations, and has become an anthem for thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who make pilgrimages to Turkey for Anzac day to commemorate those lost in the battle.
"And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity"