Australians All Let Us Rejoice

I know, I know, everyone’s talking about the whole Australia Day thing and how people are behaving badly, but it’s bothering me and if it’s bothering me, I need to blog about it.  Cos that’s what I do.

But yes, Australia Day is tomorrow.  The streets are awash with cheap bucket hats that came with the Sunday paper, and cars are festooned with plastic flags that fit in the doors that they got from the Reject Shop.  Folks are buying Aussie flag temporary tattoos, stocking up on lamb chops, lager and lamingtons, and getting ready for the big fireworks shebang in their home towns.

All of which is awesome.  I love a bit of cheesy celebrating at any time, especially if it involves tacky plastic from the Reject shop and lamingtons.   I’d eat lamb  chops but I’m allergic to sheep.

But I am worried about the rising tide of bigotry and racism that is being attached to patriotism.  I’m worried about the number of times I’m seeing stickers that have things like a map of Australia emblazoned with “Fuck off we’re full” and Facebook groups like “This is Australia, Speak English”.  I’m worried about the fact that we can have a major advertising campaign for lamb that is based on a sports caller berating the public for “unAustralian” behaviour if they don’t have a barbecue and eat lamb.  I’m worried that young people are emblazoning their bodies with Southern Cross tattoos and draping flags around their shoulders, and drunkenly terrorising people of different skin colour or apparent ethnicity than their own white selves.  I worry that for a growing percentage of the population, Australia Day is becoming about being white and Australian born.

I love this country.  I was born here, of mixed heritage that doesn’t really matter to me, except of historical interest.  I’m filled with pride for our achievements as a nation, be it in medicine, the arts, sport, science, inventiveness, humour, style, and uniqueness.  We have so many fantastic achievements and positive character traits that I couldn’t even list a few of them.  But us being white, meat eating and English speaking is no great achievement, not worthy of pride.

When I travelled in the US, one thing I noticed as a major difference between Australia and the US was that we really are a huge melting pot of cultures.  We have access to food, music, art, literature, clothing, decor – you name it – from all over the world.  Really good quality food from every continent is available in every capital city and many smaller cities around the world.  People decorate their homes with Asian art and African fabrics and listen to music from South America and so on.  We get to enjoy the cream of the crop of the world.

Bigoted, racist behaviour is nothing to be proud of, in fact it’s everything to be ashamed of.  It makes me lose pride in my country and it’s achievements/character.  It makes Australia an embarrassment around the world.

If someone is truly proud of their country, they won’t want to embarrass it by behaving like a cretin.

I’m going to celebrate Australia Day in my own way tomorrow.  With some Chinese dumplings, Belgian chocolate, Columbian coffee and if I can find them, some lamingtons.  And a wee stick on fake tattoo of the Aussie flag.  I might see if my neighbours originally from Turkey, Eritrea and India might like a lamington too if I can get some.

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January 25, 2010. aggression, Australia, Australia Day, bad behaviour, bigots, culture, diversity, embarrassment, patriotism, racism, respect, traditions, values.

One Comment

  1. triberingers replied:

    Happy Australia Day.

    I have mentioned this before, but each time I see the news with what’s going on, I want to walk outside and kiss the ground of this beautiful country.

    We make fun of our politicians in many and varied ways, if you were to do that in some countries, death would be your reward.

    We have so many freedoms and yes as you said, so many wonderful people from all over the world who have come to live here, embrace them, befriend them and let’s love this beautiful land together.

    Hope you have a bonza day mate! (Couldn’t resist!)

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