Ex-PM Attacks Aussie Heritage
Having recently returned from a visit to the Middle East, there is a vision that remains starkly in my mind. It’s of the historic Jaffa Gate, one of the many gates that give access to the Old City in Jerusalem.
As an Australian of British stock, that gate has special significance to me and I bridle at any aspersions cast by those who seek to tear down the significance of the battles, both won and lost, that led to the people of Judah possessing that gate today.
Thus it was that a headline caught my eye this week that raised my blood pressure.
“Keating rejects Gallipoli identity” ran the headline in the October 31 edition of the Australian newspaper. The quip read, “Paul Keating [an ex-prime minister of Australia] has launched a stinging attack on the Anzac legend, rubbishing the notion that Australia’s identity was redefined on the beaches of Gallipoli and vowing never to set foot on the sacred site.”
That headline caused my thoughts to race back three weeks ago to the moving experience I shared with my wife as we first entered the Jaffa Gate.
Built in 1538 by Suleiman the Great during the early period of the Ottoman occupation of Jerusalem, the Jaffa Gate is located on the western wall of the Old City. The Arabic name for the gate is Bab el-Halil, meaning the Hebron Gate. This has a direct association with Abraham, who was buried in Hebron.
To specifically accommodate the visit to Jerusalem of the imperialist, militaristic emperor of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm, in 1898 the Turks extended access at the Jaffa Gate to allow vehicular entry. The Kaiser was thus enabled to drive through the gate in his carriage, attendant with all the pomp of his surrounding imperial entourage, through the gate into the city proper.
This contrasted greatly with the entrance by another military figure, through that same gate, 20 years later.
That Jerusalem was a plum the Kaiser lusted to pick is no secret. His grand imperious entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate was a deliberate harbinger of things to come.
Exactly 91 years ago from the day that I write these lines, on Oct. 31, 1917, the Kaiser’s dream was shattered. Eight hundred brave mounted infantrymen from Australia’s Light Horse contingent, attached to the combined Australian and New Zealand Army Corps of the British Imperial Forces, charged the wells of Beersheba, which at the time were being held by combined Turkish and German forces.
The Germans had mined these ancient wells dating back to Abraham’s time, fully intent on blowing them sky high rather than yield up their precious commodity to the enemy.
They were not to have their way. The surprise charge of the courageous Australian Light Horsemen was so rapidly overwhelming that the Turks had no time to lower the sights on their guns. The result was the Aussies galloped right across the Turkish trenches and, dismounting with fixed bayonets, quickly took possession of the ancient water source before the German sappers were able to wreak any substantial damage.
Thus was opened the way for the British Imperial Forces to take the city on Dec. 9, 1917.
Two days later, at precisely 12 noon, Gen. Edmund Allenby entered the Old City of Jerusalem.
General Allenby’s entrance was most unlike that of Kaiser Wilhelm. There was no great pomp. There were no gilded imperial carriages, no imperious entourage.
Allenby, a Bible student akin to the queen he served—herself a descendant of King David—and like so many of the British Empire’s generals of his time, was conscious of the prophetic moment.
Allenby simply, and quite humbly, walked through the Jaffa Gate. Here is his own account of the moment:
I entered the city officially at noon, December 11th, with a few of my staff, the commanders of the French and Italian detachments, the heads of the political missions, and the military attaches of France, Italy and America.
The procession was all afoot, and at Jaffa Gate I was received by the guards representing England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, India, France and Italy. The population received me well.
Many of those brave Light Horsemen who charged the Turkish and German lines at Beersheba were blooded at Gallipoli. Indeed, as it turned out, had it not been for the blooding and the hardening of anzac troops at Gallipoli, perhaps the charge by which the courage-honed Aussies opened the way for the capture of Jerusalem may never have occurred in such dramatic fashion.
Gallipoli has historically been toasted as the battle during which Australia came of age as a nation. To read the account of Australian author Ion Idriess (who, as a Light Horseman, witnessed the charge at Beersheba) of the extreme hardship endured by the troops on the shores, on the cliffs and crags and in the wretched, stinking trenches at Gallipoli is a moving experience. The sheer stoicism, courage, bravery and, indeed, cheer under the most horrible of battle conditions demonstrated by the anzac soldiery bespeaks a generation that is a far, far cry from the self-indulgent product of the ’60s and beyond that largely populates the Anglo-American nations today.
I doubt that Paul Keating, ex-Labor prime minister of Australia, has ever read the accounts from Ion Idriess’s diaries which he tenaciously scribed while serving at Gallipoli. Idriess was a member of the famed Desert Column, units of which made the Beersheba charge. Idriess’s small notebooks contained a telling account of willing sacrifice for God, king and country, the likes of which died out largely with his generation. Their story was to be published many years later.
How could anyone with a firm grasp on reality make the statement to his nation that “we still go on as though the nation was born again or even was redeemed there. [It is] an utter and complete nonsense. For these reasons, I have never been to Gallipoli and I never will”?
That’s a clear and utter rejection of a national heritage, a statement designed to tear down a nation’s sense of being rather than build it up!
These are the words of an anti-British, anti-heritage Irishman intent on wiping away the last vestiges of the attachment of his nation to its very own roots!
That generation, whose sacrifice Keating tramples under his Irish socialist boots, if it were around today, would rise up in sheer indignation, utter disgust and contempt at a former leader who deigned to cast their nation-forging sacrifice into the dust! Sadly, the liberalizing (in the socialist-communist sense of the term) of Australia’s education system since World War ii has meant that so few of the generations of the past 50 years have any real appreciation of the value of their true heritage.
Should you be one who craves to know the origin and the future of the British stock that founded the nations of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and of the peoples who forged the once single greatest nation in history, the United States of America, you need to read our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
Any interested Australians should also read our booklet Australia—Where to Now? to gain a grasp on just what is happening to their nation as the world totters toward a new global order.
The plain and simple truth contained in our booklets will help any open mind grasp the importance of past heritage, be it forged in either perceived grand failure, such as at Gallipoli, or demonstrably overwhelming success such as at Beersheba.
While you are about it, why not prove the source of all true knowledge and read our booklets Does God Exist? and The Proof of the Bible? They will prove to you the existence of the most valuable heritage of all that goes far beyond the history of the past and reaches into the vision of the glorious eternal future that awaits those who open up their lives to achieve their incredible, God-given, human potential, in this life, NOW!