Today, 26th January, is ‘Australia Day‘ in Australia. A national public holiday.
I quote from Wikipedia:
“Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.”
How one perceives Australia Day depends on one’s outlook and perhaps bias.
Here are just some different perspectives:
- A sad day for Aboriginal culture, marking the beginning of an invasion, subsequent abuse and even at times, ethnic cleansing.
- The beginning of severe damage to Australia’s flora and fauna. Just one example is the introduction of the feral cat (I love cats by the way).
- A time to be grateful for the ‘efforts’ of the British Royal Navy and Royal Marines in securing new living space for disaffected and/or entrepreneurial Britons, malefactors, their descendants and later migrants.
- A time to be grateful that some other nation did not settle Australia, and perhaps one with a worse outcome for the native people than the British.
There are of course more ways that one can reflect upon Australia Day. We can be sure however that due to the biological nature of humans, Australia was never going to be still in the ‘Stone Age’ by today, 2018. When the British invaded in 1788, yes invaded, Australia had a Stone Age type culture which had been in place for thousands of years. In my view it was in many ways a better place back then. But not all.
I am an expatriate Briton, however there is more to me. I have ancient Nordic roots, being descended from Danish Vikings. I am part Irish – a grandmother was Irish. I have German and French ancestry, along with significant Welsh, Scottish, English and more. I was born in London, England. So who am I? A mongrel?
Who I am is not totally my race or ethnic background. Should I go back ‘home’ to Denmark – if they would have me? Where do I belong? Should I try to ‘undo’ what the Danes did to the local Britons back in the day?
Who we are is our deep thoughts. From thoughts spring actions. Multitudes think they are of one perspective yet scientific testing shows that they have strong confirmation and other biases. Multitudes are clearly deluded.
Aside from making efforts to clear our subconscious minds of unhelpful thinking, we need to aim to become better people – more compassionate, kinder, wiser, more humble, more loving. These are all things which we, Aboriginal people included, like to experience, so why don’t we focus on being like that for others?
I know someone who hates Aborigines, yet has helped them in a charitable way for years, so much so that he got an award! The public recognition was a key driver. The man claims to be a Christian. What kind of life and mentality is that? Empty is to put it mildly.
I have a deep respect for the Aboriginal people of Australia, their culture, and the Spirits of this land today. When I was young I saw them as a ‘defeated race’ worthy of no respect. I was a stupid bastard, despite being intelligent.
I am a ‘naturalised Australian’ having gained citizenship in 1985. Ironically, I feel more ‘Australian’ today than I did back then because I have more respect for Aboriginal culture, and at times I respectfully interact with and honour their Spirits. I am grateful to live in Australia and while I am glad that it is a British culture (as opposed to French, Spanish, Dutch etc) my deepest gratitude is to the Aboriginal culture and Spirits. I feel very sad about what has happened to them.
Most ‘Aussies’ are originally British or Irish anyway, probably being mostly descended from British military, civil service or criminals. Some Aussies call me a ‘Pom’, and some have been quite nasty about it. Perhaps I might ask them if they are descended from the British ‘redcoats‘ (military) or the criminals. I am descended from a redcoat – Major General Alexander Carnegy CB. Wry smile.
To me, the real Australians are the Aborigines. I am a Briton, with origins and roots in other (European) cultures…
PS: One for the racist types: If you were bleeding to the death by the side of the road and the only person able to help you was a black guy; how racist would you be then?
…And one for those politically correct unqualified ‘snowflakes’ who like to diagnose others as having phobias, without examination: what race is Islam? And Christianity? They are not races. We gotta get our thinking straight.
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