Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Dust, Mud and Shit" - one of the best interviews I have ever seen on Australian televison

Here is the 16 minute extended version of Hungry Beast's ABC TV interview with 'Tom', an Australian soldier.

Tom was willing to share his story about what being on the ground in Afghanistan is actually like. This is the first, unvarnished account of its kind on Australian TV.

To protect his identity, ‘Tom’ was played by actors Aden Young, Dan Wyllie, Lewis Fitz-Gerald and Rodger Corser...

"Chances are, most of what you have heard about the war in Afghanistan has come via the Australian Defence Force’s Public Relations department. Unlike other coalition forces, Australian journalists find it exceedingly difficult to gain access to our soldiers. Many resort to embedding with our allies to cover conflicts we’re involved in. And while there have been a number of first-person accounts of our allies’ soldiers’ experiences published abroad, we’ve heard almost nothing from the Australian perspective.

When Hungry Beast decided to do a story on the war in Afghanistan, we wanted to focus on personal stories. But when we approached Australian soldiers to ask them what it’s like to fight on the frontline, we were consistently met with one of three responses: polite refusal, open hostility or a referral to Defence PR. We found it increasingly bizarre that our soldiers wouldn’t discuss even the most trivial details of their time at war, and the story became as much about the army’s control over the media as it was about the war in Afghanistan.

Eventually, we found one currently-serving soldier who has served in Afghanistan, who was willing to talk. He offers a rare insight into the mind of someone who, quite literally, puts his life on the line in the name of this conflict. His reasons for speaking out are telling:

“It appalls me that whinging frauds are able to gain the bulk of the media access and press their bogus claims… I can’t change the course of a cultural tsunami of myth making and superficial story telling, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it.”

Hungry Beast spoke to ‘Tom’ at length. In this recreation, we have edited and restructured that interview for the sake of length and comprehensibility, but all the words you hear are entirely his own."

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