Saturday salon 12/12

1. Ataturk’s ‘Johnnies and Mehmets’ ANZAC speech shrouded in doubt

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a commander of Ottoman forces at the Dardenelles during the first world war and later the founder of modern Turkey, has been quoted far and wide as saying in 1934:

    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 faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

There are no contemporary references to the speech. The first reference is from an interview with the former interior minister, Sukru Kaya, in 1953. It seems that in 1931, not 1934, Kaya did give a speech “drafted by, and on behalf of, Ataturk praising the Turkish and enemy troops.”

An extended version appeared in 1960, more again in 1969.

The “Mehmets” were there from the beginning, but the “Johnnies” appear to have been added in 1978 by Alan J Campbell, a Gallipoli veteran of Brisbane:

    who identified himself as “chairman of the Gallipoli Fountains of Honour Committee”. Campbell, a stalwart of the Queensland Country party, wrote that his organisation was finalising a Gallipoli memorial for Brisbane.

The oft-quoted speech that graces memorials on three continents appears to be actually wrong!

2. Angela Merkel, German chancellor, is Time ‘Person of the Year’

She got the gong because she provided “steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply”.

    Mrs Merkel, 61, joins an eclectic list of former winners, including Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon.

She is the first German since Willy Brandt, who as the West German chancellor was named in 1970, and the first woman since opposition leader Corazon Aquino of the Philippines in 1986.

3. Employment grows in Australia

    Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8%, the lowest level in 20 months, following the strongest two-month period of jobs growth in 28 years.

    The total number of people with a job rose 71,400 in the month, building on a gain of over 56,000 the month before, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. The surprise increase compared with forecasts of a loss of 10,000 jobs.

Too bad the ABS fine print shows 52,700 of the 71.4K increase was due to “rotation” of their sample groups.

4. Ted Cruz takes lead in poll

According to The US Today, Ted Cruz has taken over the lead from Donald Trump in the Iowa poll.

The Washington Post says Trump still leads in the polls, but Cruz “looks more like the favorite”.

Cruz, they say, has staked out a position on the far right on virtually every major hot button issue, and comes across as a less controversial and less unelectable version of Trump.

Trump is very methodical, they say, he just looks chaotic.

It remains to be seen whether the Republicans will put forward an electable candidate. Perish the thought that Americans might even do the unthinkable and elect an unelectable one!

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

    The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

17 thoughts on “Saturday salon 12/12”

  1. is Iowa a bellwether State or something ?

    Not that I’m aware of, but I don’t follow US politics at the micro level.

  2. Karen, I’m not going to have this blog turn into an anti-Islamic space. From now on your comments will be moderated.

  3. Geoff, yes, there is method in what he’s doing.

    I’m with Phillip Adams. I think the rest of the world should get to vote for the US president.

  4. Geoff Henderson: I think Donald Trump will end up as the next President of the U.S.A. He will be far more competent than the failed emperor, George II The Foolish, but whether Trump will become a curse on all humanity remains to be seen.

    The comparison with Palmer is rather interesting. Surprised nobody has mentioned Berlesconi though some have made erroneous comparisons with Mussolini. My own feeling is that he might be a bit like London’s Boris Johnston – despite being completely different personalities and having very different styles.

    Meanwhile, let’s all keep a plentiful supply of uncontaminated water, dust masks and wash-down kit handy and practice our duck-and-cover for when he becomes President.

  5. Geoff H.
    Scary indeed – but nowhere near as scary as the “$USD 17 million dollar man”, Dan Quayle, becoming the Vice-President …. or even as scary as Mr Air-Guard AWOL himself, the Great and Mighty Victor in Afghanistan and Iraq and Saviour of New Orleans, G.W. Bush, becoming the failed emperor of American.

    Yeah, so Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s cabinet was pretty upset over his draft speech (which apparently did have the reference to “Johnnies” as well as to “Mehmets”) and he didn’t actually make it – and a toned down version was circulated later.

    So what? We are human beings, not biological machines, and we love our stories and our legends – Odysseus, King Arthur, Robin Hood, Lord of The Rings – so what is so wrong in believing that Ataturk did make that speech : especially since it demonstrates, to this generation of Turks and Australians alike, the strong yet honourable victor’s magnanimity?

    Sometime, just sometimes, a really good story is more inspiring and beneficial than bald historical probabilities alone.

  6. Jeez, Mackay’s getting some ALP loving this week!
    Bill Shorten is here for a GST chat and to promote the new candidate Frank Gilbert.
    And Palaszczuk is here to open the $3Bil Hay Point coal port expansion.
    Promises to be a wonderful week.
    (btw, Frank is husband to QLD MP Julieanne Gilbert )

  7. Bill S knows he has to win regional Queensland to get the prize.

    Graham, I agree that historical rectitude could ruin a good story.

  8. Brian; I think that nowadays, apart from Bob Katter (who ill romp in as usual), the whole of rural-and-remote Australia is up for grabs.

    The Chinese takeover of the sugar industry, the egregious “99 Year Lease” of Darwin port facilities (and Newcastle too) and the FTA with China as well as the horrific TPP with our American pals have all contributed to traditional supporters of the Nationals deserting “their party”. Traditional supporters of the ALP are making the difficult choice between burning ALP candidates at the stake or hanging them from the nearest Australian-owned gum-tree (whilst such trees can still be found). The Greens have blotted their copybooks so badly in The Bush that they will never got more than single-digit percentages of the vote.

    So who is left to represent The Bush? Tea-Party stooges with Australian accents? Flat Earth Society on a platform of climate change denial? They’ll do worse than The Greens, if that’s possible. Brand-new, cashed-up parties under Chinese, Saudi or Indian sponsorship? Likely – until the sources of their money and orders become widely known. Bob Katter’s mob might pick up a seat or two in North Queensland and the Northern Territory but that’s not the whole of rural-and-remote Australia.

    Then there’s the possibility of Independence – leaving the enclaves of Sydney and Melbourne to struggle on as best they can. Messy – but that’s already a popular concept.

    Election night, with experts in the tally rooms struggling with very unfamiliar place-names, will be a barrel of laughs. “Yes, Malcolm. Those 100% votes for single candidates. Was that the case for every polling place in Adavale, Gumlu and Wiluna?”

  9. GB: North coast NSW coast used to be safe Country party. At State and local council level the Greens are the party that is doing well, partly on the basis of all the loathing the coal seam gas companies have caused. Both Tweed and Byron have Green Lord Mayors.

  10. Oh no, Brian. Far from depressing – it means we are in a time of change. I’m hoping that it will be beneficial, progressive change (and no, those qualities are not mutually exclusive).

    In the best of worlds, it would mean: That the ALP had gone back to defending the workers, the disadvantaged and defenceless, and those battling to keep their family farms and businesses going. That the Nationals became the protectors of those living in The Other Australia. That The Greens had abandoned their obsessive hatreds and started listening to the decent people in rural-and-remote Australia. That the Liberals actually upheld the individual enterprise and hard work of Australians for a change.

    No. Not depressing – but it is going to be a very bumpy ride.

    John D. I do hope the lessons of The Greens’ success in the Northern Rivers are picked up by The Greens elsewhere in The Other Australia.

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