Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25th is ANZAC day

On April 19, 1915 combined British and French forces attempted to open a passage through the Turkish controlled straits known as the Dardanelles. Subsequently, on April 25, 1915, allied forces conducted an amphibious assault - the largest ever attempted at the time - along several beachheads of the Gallipoli peninsula.The goal was to capture the western side of the straits by land and neutralize the Turkish defenses preventing the navies advance. The larger purpose was to capture Constantinople and thereby open a sea route to the Entente's beleaguered third member, Russia. The resulting operations would become known as one of the greatest disasters in British military history. Ironically, it would also become a defining moment for the young nations of Australia and New Zealand, whose forces, collectively know as ANZAC's, would feature prominently in the ensuing months of trench warfare along the coast of Gallipoli.

On Democracy

Perikles on Athenian Democracy
Perikles ( Περικλῆς "surrounded by glory"; c. 495 – 429 BCE)
Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.
- Perikles' Eulogy for the Athenian Dead of the 1st year of the Peloponnesian War as quoted by Thucydides (2.37)