Australia Day is almost upon us, and we all know what that means; it’s time for all of the flag wearing, southern cross tattooed, drunken morons to come crawling out of the woodwork to show off their “Aussie Pride.”
Before we get started here, let me say, I’m not against having pride in one’s country. Without some form of national pride I don’t think a country can really survive. What I am concerned about is the way that many people chose to express that pride; through public displays aimed to exclude those that they deem to be “Un-Australian” whether or not they really are.
Just what is Australia Day all about?
Australia Day is a celebration of the arrival of the first fleet in Australia on the 26th of January 1788. The British colonizers stepped ashore, planted the Union Jack illegally (even by the laws of
Britain) and claimed this land. They based the invasion and occupation on a legal lie, “terra nullius” (or “empty land” meaning the land was unoccupied), and such was the beginnings of our nation. It has been pointed out that if Australia Day was really a celebration of our nation it would commemorate federation in 1901. Many people prefer therefore to refer to the 26th of January as Invasion Day – to draw attention to what is actually being ‘celebrated’ on 26th January. Australia Day might be about barbecues and that extra day to have off to drink or nurse your hangover, but it is not without its controversial roots.
“Patriotism is loving your country, nationalism is hating everyone else’s”
Australia Day has become bastardized over the years, it has gone from a public holiday which many weren’t particularly even aware of in the eighties to an over the top affair involving bizarre rituals such as face painting, flag wearing and temporary (or permanent) tattoos of an australian theme. These displays and the attitude of these people often makes others feel excluded and segregated. The best example of “Aussie pride” gone wrong occurred on December 11th 2005, the infamous Cronulla riots.
I am still proud of my country, proud even though same sex couples still don’t have the same rights at heterosexuals, the problems of the indigionous people of this country are still rather awkwardly avoided and ignored, and people with different cultural backgrounds can sometimes be made to feel like they don’t belong. I am proud of my country. I am proud of our diversity, of the way that we evolve and change together and I’m proud of the way we can pull together through adversity. Am I going to pull a flag around my shoulders and chant “Aussie Aussie Aussie!” next week? Not quite.
I didn’t choose to be born in this country, I just was, I could just have easily been born in Germany or China, the luck of the draw said I ended up here. My country right or wrong? No freaking way, if I feel my country is going in a bad direction I’ll speak up, as should you.
There is one good thing coming from Australia Day this year, and that is that many Australian’s will be joining together to raise money for the flood victims in Queensland, this is the right way to express pride in ones country, by working towards making it better.
Have an awesome Australia day bitches, try not to act like a dickhead.