It’s probably not escaped the attention of many that today is Anzac Day, and the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. Like all of WWI, it’s an horrific part of history, which makes me glad that I was not born 100 years earlier. For all our problems today, the world is surely a better place.
One of the reasons that the world today is a better place is leaders of the world who have advanced peace and reconciliation. One such leader was the commander of the Turkish forces at Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal. He later became the first president of Turkey when it became a republic in 1923 and was given the title “Atatürk” - father of the Turks - in 1934. The same year, he wrote this tribute to the Anzacs killed at Gsllipoli:
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.