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Australia Day. Invasion Day. Change the date: Reconciliation Day?

 

iconic bondi beach

A sea of flesh at iconic Bondi Beach, on sand and in the water.

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’.

bone&silver_flag

We so need a new flag

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.

aboriginals-in-chains-australia

Shame Australia, shame. #changethedate

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].

Aboriginal flag for Invasion Day #Australia #AustraliaDay #changethedate #respect @boneAndsilver

Aboriginal flag for Invasion Day #Australia #AustraliaDay #changethedate #respect @boneAndsilver

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 

 

33 Comments

  1. I will send you the 31cm of snow I got over night, it will melt and become water, thus rain, for you. Also the expected -20 degree weather for tomorrow and it will warm up by the time it gets to you and be a balmy 20degrees

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think most Australians want a day to celebrate this beautiful country we live in, but we don’t want to do it on a day that brings sadness and hurt to others. Well I would hope most people would feel this way. I think the date will end up being changed, but it will take a long time unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We are still getting protests here each Waitangi Day, the anniversary of the day the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Even with the tribal settlements it is still taking a long time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s the first time I’ve knowingly seen the Aboriginal flag, and I’ve visited. So thankyou for that awareness. It is an incredibly arrogant/ignorant stance in our enlightened times. An inclusive day for ALL Australians would be a true celebration. There’s a cartoon drawing of two Native Americans listening to a radio report saying non-white births were on track to out-number white births in America for the first time in history. To which the Native Americans comment ‘Errrrr…… second time.’

    Liked by 1 person

  5. BRAVO!!!! I’ve been tweeting myself silly about this stupid date. January 1st would make more sense as that’s when we sort-of became ‘Australia’, although true independence didn’t happen until some time in the 80’s. Mostly though, we have to make amends for Terra Nullius. We did not cause the invasion but we sure as hell are profiting from it. The least we can do is acknowledge the past and show a bit of common courtesy to our First Nations people.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh thank you for this post. You’ve summed up everything I feel too. I too feel we need a Treaty now…it’s so slow because the Government is all about polls.

    Australia Day should be moved – it shouldn’t be the day that the invasion started. But it should be the day Australia became federated – 1 January (1901).

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. zlotybaby says

    What I always wonder about Australia is how do you survive there with all the spiders!

    It’s tough in the postcolonial world with so many countries that have unhealed wounds that mostly have to do with the fact that previously disadvantaged groups are still disadvantaged as you say. Reconciliation is a weird word and living in South Africa made me quite cynical about it. The first meaning of it according to Uncle Google is “restore friendly relations between” and how can we do that if there was no friendship to talk about in the first place? I used to be “why can’t we just get on” kind of a person but it’s easy to say if you’re not the one who has been hurt and abused…I don’t know what’s the way forward to make things better.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I understand. We have similar issues in Canada. We designed our own flag and Canada Day celebrates our odd founding as a country, but we have a terrifically long way to go. Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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