Do you know what I find confronting?
I find it confronting that every time I open my computer or a newspaper, I cringe at the contribution Tony Abbott is making to Australian national identity.
I also cringe at having to type the words Australian national identity again, because I took a class in Australian Studies, and had to write no fewer than four papers and sit two exams on the subject. I promised myself, that when I pried my pen from my claw like hand, stiff from writing 3250 words in two hours, at the end of my last ever exam, that if I had to write the words Australian national identity again, I would punch myself in the neck. Yet here I am.
I am writing those words again because I learned a great deal about Australian national identity. I learned even more about Australian history, and much more about the history of Australian politics than I ever wanted to know. I learned about what makes Australians unique on the world stage, and I learned that I could feel like an absolute asshole at some of the atrocities Australians have committed in their brief history. Did I commit these atrocities personally? No, I can safely say that I didn’t, however I was saddened, ashamed and outraged none the less. Of those atrocities, it took seven, three hour classes to cover the history of racism in Australia. From the landing of Captain Cook, to the white Australia policy, to the Cronulla riots. I shook my head in dismay, and felt like an asshole.
I couldn’t comprehend it. The opinions formed from a lack of education regarding other races and religions, and the devastating impact these ill-informed opinions have, the xenophobia, the FEAR.
This is how wars start you know? An eye for an eye turns the whole world blind.
Maybe when we are all blind, it won’t matter what colour skin you have or what religious clothing anyone wears, because we won’t be able to see it anyway. We will be forced to feel the face of another person, to judge a person based on what kind of person they are, what kind of contribution they make. We will all sit back with our Ray Charles sunglasses on, saying “Man, why did we have to be blind before we could do this?”
I’d like to say that the history of racism in Australia was just that, it was history. However it takes about three seconds to open my Facebook Feed, and I am cringing, saddened, shaking my head in dismay and feeling ashamed all over again. I have lost count of the amount of times I have winced at the status update of a friend. “Really? Wow. Damn, I used to like you dude… You used to be cool”.
These status updates are usually fed from sensationalised media reports, or fear of terrorism, or the way one was raised, but mostly it’s from lack of education.
A strong sense of belonging to one’s nation, a sense of oneness, community and to be protective of that identity is necessary to some degree, because let’s face it. No one will be willing to kill, or be killed for a nation that has no identity to which its inhabitants can belong.
Lately, I see the contribution Mr Abbott, the leader and speaker for our nation is making to this identity and I question his motives and I fear where this is leading. When I first saw the headlines with Tony Abbott's smug little face expressing his distaste and danger surrounding the religious clothing of women, to hear this man, who is at the forefront of our national identity speaking the words, “I find the Burqa confronting, I wish it wasn’t worn” made me want to scream and run out into the street, shouting to our global neighbours that THIS MAN DOES NOT SPEAK FOR ME!!
You cannot tell me that a man, who holds such strong religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic, a belief so strong that he would use his position of power to govern the right of people to love and to marry, based on what kind of genitals sit between their legs. A man that would confuse; leader of the people of Australia, (Whom the majority of which support gay marriage) with enforcer of his own moral beliefs, such is his faith; You cannot tell me that he is confronted and cannot comprehend the head to toe religious clothing of another faith.
I saw this picture in the Sydney Morning Herald.
They forgot one.
The religious clothing worn by a Roman Catholic nun. The faith in which Tony Abbott identifies so strongly with.
"Identity is important" Mr Abbott repeatedly said in his speech regarding the burqa.
You're damn right it is Mr Abbott and you are ruining ours with your fear mongering opinions!!!
That is pretty much all I have to say about that.
Hey, I missed you! How have you been?