Last year around Anzac Day I remember having a discussion with my brother about men who have fought in wars – I said that I would honour those who had died, but i no way did I agree with their any reasons for going to war in the first place, or with governmental justification for fighting wars or sending men off to kill, and to die. We are all just people, tied to our nations by political rhetoric and made to believe that other countries are our enemies because their national identities are different to ours. This is an entirely constructed belief, not a tangible reason at all but a dialogue that politicians, and citizens in turn, have invented in order to naturalise ourselves as ‘one’, and something else as ‘other’.
In Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities (1983), he writes that regardless of actual inequality and exploitation, ‘the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship.’ There are in fact more divisive communities within nations, but he has a point. Anderson continues, ‘Ultimately, it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings.’