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26th of January - Sing Until Your Lungs Give Out
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sharpest_rose
sharpest_rose
Isn't moral anarchy kind of the point?
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 01:23 pm
26th of January

So today's a public holiday, called Australia Day or Invasion Day depending on who you're talking to. And if you're calling it Australia Day, and speaking to me, you'd be best not to try to wish me a happy one, because this is a country where Indigenous elders are cooked to death in the back of un-air-conditioned vans when being transported by the police, and no action is taken because there are never quite enough deaths in the quarter to meet the regulatory guidelines. Oh, but sometimes the transport companies get a small fine, so that's okay.

This is a country where a loan shark can make a killing "lending" Indigenous people their own money at 33% interest, because the government rations how much they're allowed to take out of their accounts but don't ration him, because he's white.

This is a country where an Indian man on his way to work gets stabbed to death in a park, and it takes the police a week to admit that the years of violent attacks on Indians in the area are, well, maybe racially motivated. Maybe. Some of them. (And this isn't a Bad Area, okay, this is my fucking suburb, full of soccer mothers and shops selling expensive imported cured meats and shit like that. This happens here.)

This is a country where people genuinely believe that asylum seekers shouldn't be let in, because they might be terrorists and will take our jobs and blow us up.

This is a country where at my office Christmas party, full of some of the most affluent and successful people in the city, the only nonwhite person was the Sudanese girl serving food.

This is a country where some hospitals have seven wards' worth of elderly people living there in limbo, because there's nowhere else for them to go.

This is a country where, on Collins street where I work, the homeless people live in a church courtyard half a block away from where Hermes and Louis Vuitton sell handbags worth thousands and thousands of dollars.

This is a country where it's been proven by researchers that I'd be more likely to get a job if I told them my name was Mary Smith, rather than Mary Borsellino. But, fuck, at least I'm not Mary Chang or Mary Akbar, because then I'd have almost no hope at all.

This is a country where a basketball team of African refugees has been told that they can only compete in league games if they disband and join other teams, because the referees feel intimidated by them as a group.

So don't you dare wish me a happy Australia Day.

39CommentReplyShare

viggorlijah
viggorlijah
Dale
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)


This is a country where a basketball team of African refugees has been told that they can only compete in league games if they disband and join other teams, because the referees feel intimidated by them as a group.


AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

I'm sorry - just the other stuff is complex and difficult but this one is just hilarious in spineless cowardice.

And my husband wonders why I would rather raise my Vietnamese teenage boys in Singapore than New Zealand or Australia. He's never lived somewhere as a minority.


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sharpest_rose
sharpest_rose
Isn't moral anarchy kind of the point?
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)

Oh, and the referees are also scared because the team has SCARY FANS. I read about it yesterday and decided to firebomb the earth from space.

I remember your posts after the Bali bombings, which did a lot to open my eyes to how incredibly racist the coverage of that disaster was here in Australia. Sometimes it's so blatant, but you helped me see some of the more insidious ways.


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astaria51
astaria51
faye
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)

I'm proud of you for saying this.

In the US, this kind of bullshit is so endemic I think most people don't even think about it as happening.


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astaria51
astaria51
faye
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)

(This, though:
This is a country where a loan shark can make a killing "lending" Indigenous people their own money at 33% interest, because the government rations how much they're allowed to take out of their accounts but don't ration him, because he's white.


WHOA. WHOA, WTF.
I mean, I got a hint of the race politics going on in Australia when we watched Rabbit-Proof Fence in my film class last j-term, but DAMN. We've got some total BS going on over here with our indigenous peoples but I'd like to think there's no federal restrictions on money? More like a created dependency. Now I feel the need to research, though.)


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narrelle
narrelle
Hum Hallelujah
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)

Oh yup. Someone wished me 'Happy Australia Day' at work yesterday and I didn't know what to say. For a start, I don't recall anyone ever saying that to me before. Since when have we become such a nation of flagwavers?

Between the whole 'let's celebrate the day Europeans arrived and tried to commit genocide' thing and the 'let's wrap ourselves in the flag and be all bogan pride, jingoistic nationalists' I'm severly underwhelmed by this holiday. If we want to have an Australia Day, it should be Federation Day (1st jan) or at least early May, when our independent parliament first sat. Celebrating our political nationhood (as flawed as that is) is not as bad.

Most countries have issues of poverty, exclusion, racism, disadvantage and the destruction of indigenous cultures, so we're hardly unique. But do we really have to pick *this* date to try to say how cool we are? Perhaps it's not only the Americans who apparently lack irony.


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sharpest_rose
sharpest_rose
Isn't moral anarchy kind of the point?
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)

I agree with changing the date -- can't we find something ACTUALLY GOOD to be proud of as a nation? THAT WOULD BE NICE.


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lilacsigil
lilacsigil
lilacsigil
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)

And the government thinks that the money restriction plan is awesome that they want to extend it to people "at risk". Like single parents, and recent immigrants and people who have been in jail. Advance Australia indeed.


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sharpest_rose
sharpest_rose
Isn't moral anarchy kind of the point?
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)

I know -- I'm on a disability pension and if the plan goes through, I won't be allowed to buy pornography or alcohol anymore. BECAUSE CLEARLY THE FACT I CAN'T WORK A FULL WEEK DUE TO INJURIES IS REASON TO TAKE AWAY MY LIBERTIES AND FREEDOMS. Just like being black, single, or having a criminal record are sufficient reasons. Auuuuuuuuuugh.


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theonlytwin
theonlytwin
Superintendent Harry 'Snapper' Organs
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC)

godfuckingdammit can we kill everyone and start over from amoebas? or at least kill the people who put up flags.

"multicultural" my ass.


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sharpest_rose
sharpest_rose
Isn't moral anarchy kind of the point?
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)

As Art Spiegelman said, on television flags look as big as the world, while the earth looks tiny and insignificant.


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severedscythe
severedscythe
Legolas McGee
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)

I'm going to be devils advocate here, and it's not that I don't agree with you, because I do, vehemently.

But a lot of good stuff happens here, too. Horrible shit is horrible shit and it happens everywhere, but everyone always goes on about all the horrible shit and nobody stops to think about the people trying to CHANGE the horrifically stupid crap.

sorry, I've had this argument with so many people(THIS WEEK EVEN wah wah wah).Yeah, Australia is horrible and racist and has a horiffic past, but SO DOES EVERYWHERE ELSE

I am just horribly butthurt. wah.

Edited at 2010-01-26 03:32 am (UTC)


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themegs
themegs
Megs
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)

When I was little my family had a tradition of watching 1776 on July 4th. It's a musical about signing the Declaration of Independence. I loved it when I was little, but now it makes me so angry. I wish we could take that kind of spirit as a yardstick and hold all the bullshit up against it.


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kadymae
kadymae
kadymae
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)

I'm going to wish you a progressive and productive Australia Day because you love your country enough to acknowledge what's wrong with it, as opposed to willful blindness and unthinkingness about the situation.

And I know that you, in the ways you can, work to make it a better place for everybody there.


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loversforlilly
loversforlilly
m e l
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)

I find all of this depressing.

Not a 'wake up in the morning & it will all be ok' depression, more of a 'this will never be ok & we will never be allowed to be happy' depression.


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lame_pegasus
lame_pegasus
Mona
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC)

*sighs*

Even though your list makes me sad, and even though you are right, I'd like to wish you a good day, my dear...and a better Australia, some day.


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jezzabe
jezzabe
a girl with torn jeans & stars in her eyes
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 07:13 am (UTC)

this. this. this. this.

ps - miss w emailed me back. oh man, how is she so cute?


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annlarimer
annlarimer
La Femme Crayola
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)

Everything else is causing a massive rage backup, so all I can actually get out is DECIDING WHO GOES ON A TEAM IS NOT AN UMPIRE'S FUCKING JOB!!!


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olizmay
olizmay
I'm pretty sure my cat's been reading my diary.
Wed, Jan. 27th, 2010 07:03 am (UTC)

"This is a country where people genuinely believe that asylum seekers shouldn't be let in, because they might be terrorists and will take our jobs and blow us up."


seriously, if your average aussie saw the amount of asylum seekers pouring into the uk, they'd stfu straight away how we're "encouraging them" and "treating them too well". the uk is massively overpopulated in general and the british government (and public, including myself) are still readilly accepting new people because we have the brains to see THAT THEY'RE NOT JUST MOVING FOR THE FUN OF IT, GUYS, THEY ARE RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES

i'm done.


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olizmay
olizmay
I'm pretty sure my cat's been reading my diary.
Wed, Jan. 27th, 2010 07:04 am (UTC)

also also: am i the only one who finds the 'WOO, GO CELEBRATE AUSTRALIA DAY PROPERLY AND PAY HOMAGE TO OUR ~~NATION" advertising wave really propaganda-y and kind of intimidating? the uk would chuck a bitchfit at anyone telling them to BE MORE BRITISHY ON THIS DAY HURRAH! Unless they were the bnp, or some shit.


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biting_moopie
biting_moopie
Biting Moopie
Fri, Jan. 29th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)

Hi, you don't know me but I was linked to this post and I just want to say that I agree 100%. There are things I love about my country but the problems we have are very real. Waving around flags and saying things like 'this is the best country in the world!!!!!' makes things worse, not better. I don't like Australia Day not because I hate my country but because I love it and seeing us celebrate the worst things about it is heartbreaking.

(Hope that made sense and wasn't too cheesy!)


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