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Friday, January 27, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things:Australia Day

"Australia is a 21st century project being worked on by around 24 million people." - Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

These words were spoken during a citizenship ceremony in Canberra last Thursday: Australia Day. I've been thinking about what he said a lot since. His words resonate deeply with me. I find them both profound and inspirational.

January 26, 1788, was the day the First Fleet, led by the incomparable Captain Arthur Phillip, arrived in Sydney Cove and raised the British flag over a new penal colony. With a simple ceremony the British empire claimed another piece of 'empty' land as their own. 

January 26, 1788, was the day the white man came and dispossessed the Aboriginal inhabitants, ushering in a long period of human rights abuses against them. A number of Australians now call January 26, "Invasion Day" - not a day for celebration, but a day for mourning.

While the debate rages around me, I mostly avoid it and continue to celebrate Australia Day because I love my country, and I, as the PM stated, believe in our future. I understand and 'own' Australia's history, and the plight of Indigenous Australians fills me with regret and sadness, but I am not responsible for what happened. I am responsible for how I treat people now. I believe we can find our way to true reconciliation so I focus on all the good things.This is a great country. It is my home. I was born here, and I am thankful for that.


6 comments:

  1. Happy Australian Day! Your way of seeing things is refreshing. History holds many such situations, and we should remember and learn from them. Past is (for better or worse) past.

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    1. Thank you. Past is past. That's it in a nutshell, but so many people are prisoners to their past, and the very words 'let it go' cause offence.

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  2. I love that beginning quote! I imagine the US's relationship with Native Americans is much the same. Considering the pipeline vs tribes situation, things haven't improved very much. We have a long way to go in this world before things are as fair and just as they should be and corporate greed stops winning over ethics.

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    1. Sometimes I feel that we won't make it, and other times I feel more hopeful. Very, very tough issue.

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  3. i don't think any australians are happy with the state of affairs regarding aboriginals, it is very sad and so complex that despite a lot of good people putting their hearts and souls into trying to make things better, progress is limited at best.

    how we treat each other is something we can all control and it is up to all of us to make sure we do the right thing.

    happy australia day.

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    1. Exactly right. I for one, have really struggled with the issue since moving to Darwin which has a much higher Indigenous population than my home town of Wollongong. Personal responsibility? Now there is a worthy concept. Thanks for visiting Square Pegs and for taking the time to comment.

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