Saturday, July 20, 2013

Being humble in the face of History

In the flood of Facebook Outrage (ie, not really worth anything unless you write to all the elected representatives of Australia and then vote to get every last one of the Xenophobic Asshats out of their seat) about the policy announcement on refugees, a buried comment of mine is proving popular.


Dear Australian Politicians who think refugees should be sent to PNG.

You are Actual Asshats.

I think you should read your own advice.


There are so many things I could say, but I will stick with the topic in which I am trained - history. Not a single one of those politicians can claim to come from a genetic line that did not come to Australia as a refugee/asylum seeker/immigrant/migrant. Oh, unless they are ALL indigenous Australians? Fuck them and their 'Because I am here now I belong, and I am going to ignore how I got here and ignore what that arrival and continued presence has done to the society of the original population' There is only one population in Australia that gets to say that, frankly, with any historical veracity. I wish they would stop trying to 'Wag the Dog' and get on with actually working towards the rightful equality of the entire population of Australia. Fuck. Them. Truly.

Despite the language even a British Rector has liked the comment! Bless you Jules.

The gobsmackingly retrograde policy announcement from our Prime Minister regarding refugees coming to Australia by boat is a little frustrating for me, so I just want to, uh, remind every Australian reading this who is not of Indigenous descent of a really important historical reality.

The only people in Australia right now who are not either refugees, asylum seekers or immigrants, or who are not a mere five or six generations from a refugee, asylum seeker, immigrant or invading criminal, are the Indigenous population of Australia.

It's pretty simple stuff. We all claim residence of this continent through one of our recent ancestors bringing a new ethnicity, religion, language, moral code and society to this continent. And we all claim residency of this continent despite the wishes or policies of the Indigenous population. You know, the population that had been resident of this continent for 80,000 years?

So I hope every Australian reading this who is not of Indigenous descent does four important things:

1. Gets a handle on the basic historical facts and does some important work to get rid of their prejudice, privilege, entitlement, xenophobia and racism RIGHT NOW.

2. Writes to every last xenophobic, racist, entitled, privileged and prejudiced politician who is legislating against refugees despite being refugees or immigrants themselves and tell them to get rid of this ridiculous policy RIGHT NOW.

3. Vote all the fuckers out in the next election. ALL. OF. THE. FUCKERS.

4. Vote in a politician who is going to close the gap between Indigenous populations and Immigrant populations (those of us who are not Indigenous, just in case you hadn't realised) right now, RIGHT NOW, and who is going to let every refugee and asylum seeker into Australia, RIGHT NOW.

We need to become humble in the face of history; we are all either refugees or immigrants, we all displace and shorten the lives of the original inhabitants of this continent, and we all have an awful lot to do to make this right, RIGHT NOW.

For further reading, Julian Burnside.

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