Bloody Australia Day

I can’t erase the echoes in the ears of the lynched. And sayin’ it’s just a good day for a beer and a barbie, but if that was the truth, so would any other day just without the bloody remembrance.

I was born on this land. The land of the Burramattagal people of the Darug mob. This land that for 60,000 years their people have lived on, cared for and protected this land, and until I was an adult, I knew nothing about them.

w2028920parramatta20courtesy20of20national20library20of20australia20nla-pic-an207690900-vI love this land, it is the land that my feet have walked on for a lifetime. I love her and she has cared for me. My children were birthed here and their feet a hewn by this ground and she by them. It cared for my ancestors when they were forced from their own land in Ireland, I am the first of my American ancestors to walk here.

Bloody abos was a term I grew up hearing. Racist jokes and slurs now echo in my head evidencing the colonial mindset which still prevails and the mouths and minds of many. As much as we acknowledge the original owners of this land, and respect their elders, we are still standing on the land which was stolen, with no intention of giving it back.

The truth is that we are an English colony,  till this day. We are the benefactors of the invaders,  the indigenous people of this land have very little choice but to suck it up and adapt. But that is not the story we’re sold.

The truth is we are celebrating the invasion of what is now called Australia. It is still a yearly ‘f you’ we took over, live with it, to any indigenous person that might have enough hold of their own identity to know their origins. We may sell it to ourselves saying… oh well we’ve transformed the meaning of the day, it’s now just celebrating this great country. But if I’m honest with myself, it’s like transforming the word nigger, it still doesn’t lose the hundreds of years it was uttered to degrade. I can’t erase the echoes in the ears of the lynched. And sayin’ it’s just a good day for a beer and a barbie, but if that was the truth, so would any other day just without the bloody remembrance.

If the people of a colony acquired through bloodshed ever sit with themselves quietly and contemplate the land on which they sit and don’t look away, their brash “get over it” attitude might change to one of true humility, respect and gratitude.

I believe that as a people we show great generosity, compassion and understanding. The Australian spirit is famous all over the world for a reason. But if charity starts at home, maybe it’s time that we really show these people the respect of generations of lives destroyed and lost in the name of colonisation.

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ANZAC Day and remembrance days are two days around all our dead that are treated as sombre and sorrowful moments. Yet on this day we don’t give the original people of this land the same respect.
So when do words and ideals translate into action and belief?

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Cooked in a Squat

By some miracle I’m sitting in an 8:30 lecture. Just praying that I didn’t leave a child at home. A conscientious account of a journalism student who is afraid of the phone.

99118097_xsSo I’m sitting in the university library.  By some sheer miracle of physics I delivered my children half-dressed and unkempt to before-school-care, and arrived at my lecture with five minutes to spare.  Dumping my bag I decided that coffee was the only thing that would bring meaning to my life, so I hopped out and grabbed a very long and very black coffee and some pear and raspberry bread to massage my thoughts into action. Arriving a respectable ten minutes late for my lecture. Staring at the ground as I cross in front of the lecture. If I don’t make eye contact she won’t notice the coffee and paper bag in my hand.

Aced the lecture, now functional I participated in my student life. Lecture’s finished, hopped (I’m doing an inordinate amount of hopping this morning)  over to the always over crowded library where three-quarters of the campus population tap away at Apple laptops or anxiously prepare crib notes for their presentation that you know some member of the group hasn’t been involved in, but has turned up today, smiling ready to accept the accolades. Bastard.

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Finished last week’s blog post (as now most university communications work requires an online blow-by-blow) and now I’m trying to avoid the inevitable phone call that I have to make to finish an article I think I’m writing (5 days till due date). I HATE calling people that I don’t know. It makes my stomach feel like it’s lined with a dank smelling river sand and a slow crawling bottom feeder is making it’s way up my spine. I’m going to be an awesome journalist. Seriously.

 

a statement in acceptance

I’ve wanted to say something all week, but have lacked the time to express myself efficiently.

This is my statement in acceptance.  The media is commonly on the hard sell to tell me something that has no truth means test or point of accountability other than their peers.  And more often than not, they are all paying homage to the same cash god. As is shown here in this SMH article regarding the media framing of the Paris attacks.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/french-journalist-says-sydney-tv-reporter-hungry-for-sensationalism-in-paris-20151121-gl4lxw.html

I realised long ago that the only way that ‘Joe Public’ knows most things happen is that from the media. That put’s a lot of power in the hands of the very few privately owned media outlets who, these days get most of their information regarding international events from two international news agencies, Associated Press & Reuters as most local news companies have closed their international bureaus and rarely sent reporters abroad due to cost. So, if the news is a product that I’m being sold and information fed to journalists by government PR departments is potentially propaganda tainted spin, then where should I turn? Who should I trust?

My answer is ‘myself’. Let me look at my world, and my experience and remarkable intuition and let that be my guide.  In my experience, most small experiences and groups are just microcosms of larger ones. So let’s get specific with my experiences, and see what they can teach me about these uncertain times.

The large media outlets have been selling me the really interesting, highly mediated, fear inspiring product of Islam.  Noting for a moment that Islam is a religion not a country.

This is my experience of people from many different nations Indonesia, Pakistan, Palestine, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Egypt, Tunisia, USA, England, Fiji, Singapore, Philippines, Turkey, Iraq, ALL and I repeat ALL of those encounters have been of the positive kind.  Beautiful families who have always been respectful, joyous, hopeful and above all generous.  The school my children attend has a really high percentage of children of the Muslim faith and on the whole have been parents that have brought their little people to playgroup ‘religiously’ (pub absolutely intended).  Their children are more often than not the ones who always make eye contact, smile and say hello.  The kids in our area who have trouble living side by side with other human beings are not from a different country, I do understand this is not always the case.  But, my point would be it is the homes they come from is the ruling factor.

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I do not wish to paint an artificially rosy picture.  At one time I was living in a women’s refuge after me American (Baptist) partner had threatened to kill me (apparently I wasn’t practicing obedience to my not husband). I met a woman from Afghanistan who had five children and had been bashed by her doctor husband for twenty years…she had had enough.  She had lived in Australia for almost seven years and spoke only a few words of English. She had a loving mother and brother who also lived in Australia who were supporting her in leaving.  She was a brave, strong and generous woman who would always share her food with us, insisting that I taste everything. She proudly showed me wedding videos of her family back home, saying that they weren’t like ‘him'(her husband) and that her uncles would kill him if they were back home. She was SO grateful for the help to start a new life for her children and couldn’t wait to get her licence.

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I have had many a late night conversation with Iraqui; African; Iranian and Pakistani taxi drivers who were Islamic.  One Iranian comes to mind, he was very devout and told me of how he got up early each morning to ‘talk to God’.  All the time he talks to God.  He told me proudly of his daughters, particularly the younger one who loved to dance.  He told her that God doesn’t want her to dance, but she can’t help it, always when she’s doing any thing she start to dance. But sometimes she get up early ‘Daddy, I want to talk to God with you.’  Taking care of family is always a  major theme with these men. They work hard to make a good life for their family and have never been anything but respectful to me.

I understand extremist religion.  I grew up in a cult that was reportedly Catholic (even though it was condemned by the Catholic Church).  People gave up their innate ability to question and choose right from wrong.  It is a scary ability that people have.  It also plugs in to the ego where you believe that you are following the right path and everyone else is following the wrong path.  And people start to act as if they are super heroes, probably much like soldiers who are on a mission and do not question their orders.  There are very clever people who knows this exists in people and are plugging into this part of humanity, with the mass media doing PR for them. I cannot and should not judge all other Catholics by the people in the cult as they are not them.  But I do believe that extremist religion supports those who have evil in them.

I know what I believe and I know how I choose to live.  Each individual is just that.  People have the ability to do evil, I have experienced that first hand, they have the ability to lie to themselves and say that they are abusing people, killing and maiming in the name of God or their country or their race… that doesn’t mean that it is a Godly or patriotic act or has anything to do with their bastardized form of their religion or concept of freedom in fact it is the opposite.

I will not be taught to fear, I will not be manipulated by printed words, skilled orators or carefully crafted stories made to manipulate a civilization. I will treat my neighbors with the same love and respect that I always have, I will continue to look at the cause and not just the effect, and question, question and question again what your motivations are in telling me the story you are and not telling me the information you leave out.

If the law of attraction is a real thing, then love and connection with those around us should be the order of the day.