I don’t typically do political posts and given the heated tension in the United States after President Trumps recent executive orders it seems dangerous to comment on the subject given recent arrests after the Women’s March. As an American I’m not going to comment on that, but I will shed some light on another political issue that is taking place today and that is the conflict of heritage with Australia Day.
What’s Australia Day?
Every country has a day of nationalism, and Australia Day is no different in what it serves to achieve (nationalism). However unlike the United States’ independence day on 4 July commemorating the day we won the revolution Australia Day celebrates the day the British arrived onto the shores of New South Wales to being their settlements. It’s similar to celebrating Columbus Day the same way the Fourth of July is done, and wasn’t even done so until 1935 making it a recent endeavor.
Recently, and I suspect annually, there is a debate surrounding the ethics of Australia Day. On one side it celebrates being Australian and nothing more; the land of the BBQ and good sun and fun. Being Australian, being a part of this nation is a wonderful life.
The other side however, is darker and tragic. It marks the day that the British brought their criminals to settle onto already inhabited lands and began the destruction of the Aboriginal people and culture. It celebrates the haves over those who lost it call to colonial imperialism.
Well this got deep really fast…
As an African American I can empathise with the struggles faced by the Aboriginal people. However I am merely a guest here in Australia and I hope I get to see both the positive side of their day of nationalism, as w ell as see the acknowledgement of the wrongs done by the second settlers of Australia.
I am glad that some state towns are trying to right the wrongs done in the past, and maybe the United States as well as other countries can learn a thing or two from them if this news ever reaches their shores. It’s healthy to see how the rest of the world lives, and what it means to be a part of that country.
So today I’ll be enjoying the sun and fun of Sydney, while paying my respects to the Aboriginal leaders who founded this land. It seems like the right thing to do…since we don’t practice this type of respect at home.
Stay tuned for more, lighthearted, posts next week!