ANZAC Day. Not something you'd expect to see written about on a blog specific to women's issues and sacredness. Oh, but it is so relevant. Its 99 years ago today that our men landed upon that beach. Surely too long for us to be directly impacted, right? Wrong! War in all its forms impacts us everyday.
As a society we have an awareness of the generational scars carried by todays indigenous peoples. The abuse by white governments and people, and well-meaning deeds of good folk lead to the disempowerment of an entire race, and the detachment of individuals from families and life giving culture resulting in fear, heartache, shame and isolation that is passed down the generations. (This is of course a very brief summation. I use this as a parallel, not to take away from the experience of indigenous people.)
Now think about our men and what war has done to them. Globally, many generations now have been sent off to fight in far away lands. They have been manipulated and lied to by governments and religious institutions who have used them for their own gain. They have given up their youth, family, education, relationships, physical health and their life. They may have also unwittingly given up their emotional and mental health, their personality, their ability to have healthy relationships on their return home and be emotionally attached partners and fathers. In return for their sacrifices, some of them were told they were worthy, some were further abused and shamed.
My experience of being with ex-service people (or others who have experienced trauma) tells me that to survive the emotional self needs to be disconnected. Any softness within the individual needs to be shielded away behind armour and protected at all costs. Vulnerability is the enemy. The "Warrior" archetype is all that remains.
What impact does this have? This equates to generations of men who have been disconnected from their emotions, their beauty, their self-loving, and their feminine within. These men are our great grandfathers, grandfathers, uncles, fathers and brothers. These men fathered and raised the generations who shaped our lives. They shaped our governments, courts, corporations and society - it is a patriarchal society after all, so these are the people with the power. As a result women have been disempowered my men who don't trust themselves, who cant stand in their power 'with' and instead need power 'over' others. Women have been raised by fathers who weren't able to encourage them to be all that they could be. Women have accepted this in partners who also weren't or aren't able to love and empower. And that's not even touching on the grief suffered by women who's fathers, husbands, brothers and sons never came home or were forever changed.
I know not all of society's ills can be put on the shoulders of war, however it is my opinion that the real legacy of the men who are applauded as courageous (and they were, I don't want to take away from that) on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day is the generational sadness, loss, shame and inability to love (oneself and others). The legacy of war is in our homes and relationships right now, everyday. The value of days like ANZAC Day is not just to simply remember the fallen. It is to recognise the scars within our own homes and take steps to heal these. Healing will move us toward a society in which war is less likely to be repeated, to a place where love for another is more important than winning a fight, and to homes where children can be loved and encouraged for who they are. Lets not just remember, lets make change.