Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe Bang Showbiz

Soldiers criticise Russell Crowe's Gallipoli views

HOLLYWOOD star Russell Crowe has been criticised by old soldiers on both sides of the Tasman for trying to re-write history while criticising the "mythology" of the Battle of Gallipoli.

Ahead of the centenary of the doomed World War I stand-off, Crowe gave an interview on Australian TV last night to air his views on how Gallipoli is remembered.

The award-winning actor said there were parts of the Gallipoli legend that "shouldn't be celebrated" and it was time to hear "the other side" of the story.

"The thing that resounded with me when I read the script was the Turkish perspective... I knew the number of Australian and New Zealand dead but I didn't know the number of Turkish dead," he told Channel 7's Sunday Night programme in an interview promoting his new film, The Water Diviner, set in the aftermath of the 1914-18 war.

"You know, I think, after 100 years, it's time to expand that mythology. And I think we should be mature enough as a nation to take into account the story that the other blokes have to tell. You know because we did invade a sovereign nation that we'd never had an angry word with.

"And I think it's time it should be said.

"For all the heroism you want to talk about, you know, for me, a fundamentally more important conversation is the waste of life and these things should, you know, we shouldn't celebrate the parts of that mythology that shouldn't be celebrated."

Crowe's views have been slammed today in both Australia and New Zealand.

RSA national president BJ Clark thought the Gladiator star was "missing the point".

"No one celebrates war," Mr Clark said.

"From our point of view, Anzac Day isn't celebrated. Anzac Day is a day of remembrance, a time to remember those who gave their lives, for those who suffered. There is certainly no glorification going on there."

It was wrong for Crowe to say that both sides of the story have not been told, Mr Clark said.

He highlighted the fact that the Turkish government welcomes New Zealand and Australia the Gallipoli peninsula every year.

Even the legendary Turkish army officer Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who fought at Gallipoli and would go on to become Turkey's first president, memorably wrote that there was "no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours".

"You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace".

Mr Clark said there was little to be gained by re-writing history.

Veterans of the Second World War, Vietnam, and in more recent times, Afghanistan, never glorified war, Mr Clark said.

Major General David McLachlan, State President of the Victorian RSL, agreed.

"Anyone that's been to war and anybody that's been associated with people that have been to war realise the incredible waste of life that happens," he told 3AW's Morning program.

Asked if he thought Crowe fully understood the topic, Major General McLachlan replied: "He probably doesn't, but of course he's got to sell his movie, hasn't he?"

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