Thursday, 26 January 2012

Australia Day

Today someone I'm "friends" with on Facebook posted one of those lovely 'we grew here, you flew here' posters on their wall, apparently as part of their celebration of Australia Day.

That rankled. I hate stuff like that.
So I commented that I'd never thought of them as somebody who would be hostile to people trying to start a new life.
Other people chimed in with their own surprise but I was still cranky.

So I wrote this and posted it on my own wall.

If you've ever used the phrase 'go back to where you came from' and meant it, please de-friend me.
Being scared of different cultures and languages doesn't make you proudly Australian, it makes you a wuss and a whiner.

We may be the lucky country but that's the point. We live in safety and freedom because of luck. Luck of where we are, luck of what we have.
It isn't a right, we aren't entitled to it, we're just lucky to have it, and not wanting to share it is selfish and petty.
Nobody wants to take it away from you, they just want the same chances for themselves and their families.

People go on about how new Australians should integrate with 'us' but when you push them away and shout at them and reject them, how can they? And why would they want to?

We're not full but you are, and I'm sure you can guess what of.

I don't like people who claim to speak for my country and then spray broad-spectrum hostile xenophobia.

I don't like anybody who chooses to define themselves by what they hate because then everything in their world is divided into the things they hate or don't hate, and what kind of way is that to live your life?

And above all, I don't like bullies.

And if you're swaggering around telling people that they need to meet your standards and do what you say and be exactly like you or they can piss off, that's exactly what you are - a bully.

The woman in question deleted her aggressive 'nobody has attacked me yet but I'm going to be defensive about my right to celebrate Australia Day anyway posts' and publicly apologised which was heartening because I don't want to think that she is really that kind of person*.

But the amount of people who then sprang up to bemoan the fact we have to apologise for loving our country or saying 'Happy Australia Day' - which nobody had said they did - or let the Muslims stop us celebrating Easter and Christmas or singing the national anthem in schools - which they haven't - was depressing.

Does anybody actually know anyone who has ever been told by an immigrant to stop doing what they're doing?

Have they ever had a person of another faith start screeching at them to stop celebrating Christmas?

Do you really this it's inappropriate for Aboriginal people to protest the celebration of Australia Day?
Can you really not understand why they might refer to it as Invasion Day and want any celebration of our shared nationhood to be acknowledged on a different day?
How can you say 'get over it' to a people whose society has been decimated and their culture irreparably damaged by the wholesale theft of their land?

The wonderful double-standard of telling new citizens to shut up and do what they're told and not try to change anything or try to steal the country from us and telling the original residents of our country to shut up and do what they're told and stop complaining about how we changed things and stole the country from them!

When I lived in Brunswick which has a large immigrant presence with a decent sized Muslim community, I was never treated with anything but respect or at the very worst disinterest.

Nobody there cared how I dressed or how I acted as long as I observed local laws and basic social rules of civility and I extended them the same courtesy.

I love my country.
I love living here.
But I really dislike stuff like this and always will.

*She may still believe in integration but at least she posted that she thinks that anyone willing to work to support themselves and their community is more than welcome as far as she's concerned. She's still obviously got issues but at least she'll engage with you on the topic.


Erin Palette said...

I think it's funny in a very sad, pathetic way that so many of the colonies (not just Oz, but Canada and the US) are so anti-immigration when in fact their countries were founded on immigrants.

By that original "grew here" logic, the only people who deserve to live in Oz are the Aborigines.

Ricochet said...

That's the brain-breaker that has you clutching your hair and gritting out between your teeth "We're ALL immigrants! Just because your family has been here a few decades or even over a century doesn't mean you aren't!"

That's always been my assessment of the situation but strangely enough the 'grew here' camp don't seem to see it that way.