SO TODAY'S Australia Day. That annual event when, wherever you are in the world, Aussie patriotism spills onto the streets in a blur of green and yellow.

It's a celebration of the arrival, in 1788, of the First Fleet -and white colonisation. It's a celebration of Australian values - respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play, compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good. Oh, and equal opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background.

The trouble is, none of that really rings true. Click Australia on the labels menu, What's Inside? and you'll see that I'm no fan of Oz. From the age of 11, I spent eleven years there, and those eleven years were the most miserable in my life. The problem isn't so much Australia itself, of course. It's Australians. Not all of them. Some of them can be quite pleasant - civilised, even. But the majority are rabidly xenophobic, and brandish a huge chip on their collective shoulder. They hate the British, yet the Queen is still their head of state, and they continue to flock back to the motherland like salmon swimming upstream to spawn. My experience of Australians in London - of whom, frustratingly, there are many - is even worse. Today, they prowled the capital in packs, often accompanied by their equally unpleasant white South African mates (I can see the attraction), waving their flags, tanking up on beer and behaving exactly like football hooligans whose team's just lost. And that's just the women.

In sharp contrast, February 1st marks the Chinese New Year celebrations, which will be colourful, exciting and inclusive. Crowds will gather both to watch and to participate. For the rest of us, the only participation on Australia day is trying to avoid stepping in pools of Aussie vomit in the street.

Why do Australians and (white) South Africans seek each other out like long lost relations when they're overseas? It doesn't take a genius to figure out - they're both lacking in culture and history, and what history they do have is ugly, the keynotes being macho redneck posturing, genocide and racism. The difference is, South Africa made a big PR booboo with apartheid. Australia successfully marketed itself - and its own population through careful indoctrination from kindergarten level - as the land of freedom, tolerance and fair play, with a big, fake, painted smile. Maybe it aspires to those values, maybe some people really do believe it. But I never felt it. I couldn't breathe. I was stifled, psychologically and emotionally. My individuality suffocated, robbed of oxygen by the barren urban wasteland, the crippling heat, and people who treated you like an alien as soon as you opened your mouth and spoke with an accent different to theirs. Thank God I wasn't a different colour too - just look where that got the Indigenous Australians. They're not entirely in favour of Australia Day, the Indigenous population of Australia. Not surprising really, given the appalling poverty many endure - as well as the legacy of genocide, enforced separation from their children, and other atrocities. At the time of white settlement, there were thought to be between 300,000-750,000 Indigenous Australians. In 2001, that figure stood at 458,520 (or 2.4% of Australia's total population). Most "Aussies" never even see any Indigenous Australians. So today's Australia Day. It's nothing to celebrate. It's something to mourn. Just ask the few Aboriginals who are left - if you can find them.

Elsewhere: White Australia, Anti-Chinese Racism And Climate Genocide

Elsewhere: White Britain in Pacific: Apartheid in Australia again!

Elsewhere: Is Australia A Racist Nation Against Minorities? Twenty Percent Decline In South Asian Students Studying In Australia Due To Racism & Violence!!!

This article was originally published on 25th January 2009.


Grant said...

Hey I live in Australia and I just found this blog, and I really like it, :D :D :D. consider yourself bookmarked and RSS feeded.

I am usually the first person to shit on Australian culture and point out that celebrating Australian "colonisation" is like glorifying genocide. I also used to see Australia day as a day that gives a boost of Australian Patriotism to stereotypical aussie flag flaunting blokes with ignorant ideologies about most things.

However, I did celebrate it yesterday, The night before I went to a gay club where i faced no homophobia on the streets which i was almost expecting, the next day my boyfriend, I and our highly diverse friends simultaneously celebrated both Australia Day and the Chinese New Year at a communal apartment pool complex, where we shared a good time with many other Australian's who embraced my friend's gay British partner, our straight Chinese friends, and our Sudanese friend who speaks minimal english as Australians and friends.

I know you made room for australian's like myself who arent arrogantly ignorant, and usually i would have been right there with you making similar judgments, and I hope this doesnt come off as a patriotic move on my part, but I was impressed by the mildly progressive nature of my celebration yesterday.

either way I am glad I searched Shorty J and Blog to find your site

ka-os said...

Grant, thank you for your response. As usual, my feelings on Australia are sweeping generalisations, and clouded by emotion. It's a credit to you personally that my ranting didn't bait you - but then, it isn't directed towards you. I did know some decent Australians, and maybe I didn't make enough room for them in my piece.

Thank you, and welcome :)

ToddyEnglish said...

Oh my god I don't think I EVER want to go to Australia. Your's is not the first horror story I've ever heard about the people (I think the landscape is beautiful though. I love aboriginal culture, what I've learned of it thus far) there.
Anyway, I can't get over the issue of Australia's "stolen children" (Aboriginee kids taken away from their parents to be taught "civilized" culture.)
Anyway, if the rednecks there are WORSE than here (the United States)I'll stay

Garçon Stupide said...

Never mind about the stolen children - as horrible as it is, that's in the past. The current treatment of the Aborigines is horrific, and a well kept sescret.

Don't waste your dimes on Australia, there's so many more cool and interesting places to see. Australia's just a really boring, bland version of LA.

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