Today it’s a Public Holiday, and over 30 degrees C (more than 86 degrees F). It’s too hot for me, but many folks will head to the beach, while 4 days ago in Adelaide, my friends survived 47 degrees (more than 116 F!)
How do Australians deal with this heat? Lounge in backyard pools, run their aircons day and night, plus drink beer of course. Everything slows down, while the popular phrase “she’ll be right mate” is applied to the cancelling of as much activity as possible.
Such is the Australian way.
Yesterday was a significant day for our country, with free breakfasts and protests offered in equal amounts. For Jan 26 is officially Australia Day, when supposedly we come together as a nation to celebrate our British heritage, and the ‘discovery’ of this land.
Except, sadly and terribly, it was never ‘unoccupied’ in the first place, and therefore not available to be ‘claimed’.
On April 29, 1770, Captain James Cook first set foot in New South Wales at Botany Bay (now part of Sydney). On January 26 1788, the First Fleet arrived, and the British flag was raised for the first time in Sydney Cove. This day has evolved into an excuse for a day off work, drinking beer at the BBQ in your backyard, and perhaps waving the Aussie flag (which still looks pretty damn British to me).
Which tramples over the horrific sorrows of the Indigenous First Nation people, who for 40,000+ years lived just fine without us, then had to bear the loss of their land, culture, and sovereignty; a story familiar to First Nation peoples around the world.
There is a strong social push here to change the date on which ‘Australia Day’ is celebrated, and I wrote about it last year too. Momentum is building, as local councils independently decide to stop offering Citizenship ceremonies or council-endorsed celebrations on Jan 26, and numbers grow at Aboriginal protests.
Yes, I am not responsible for the sins of my fathers; HOWEVER, I can sure as hell behave sensitively and with kindness from this day forward, as I listen to the survivors of those atrocities. There is no excuse. We are not ignorant about what happened: the tribes massacred, waterholes poisoned, slavery and land stealing. Our Aboriginal population still has a life expectancy ten years lower than that of white Australians , and have been confirmed as the most incarcerated people on earth [FactCheck Q & A].
So don’t invite me to your BBQ if you’re going to wave that stupid pseudo English flag. Take responsibility for the work we ALL need to do to move forward as a nation, as we acknowledge past wrongs, and sit down together to create true reconciliation.
Rant over. Opinion laid out. Plea made. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.
Now someone please send rain, so that Ms CrankyPants here can relax a little, and get to those Nepal photos!
In gratitude for empathy and ceiling fans, G xO