Poetry Friday is dedicated to anyone who has had to endure the vile bigotry that is racism. A particularly revolting member of our Senate yesterday wore a Burqa into parliament as an anti-Muslim political stunt. Despite universal condemnation all comments feeds have revealed with disgusting clarity just how racist our land of the fair go truly is.
We too are built on genocide, self congratulatorycolonialism and a slave trade (we just called them convicts). We also have a really long way to go. Our shadow is dark and deep, just younger and less mature than others.
Today’s poem was performed on Australia’s Got Talent in 2016 by 21-year-old Australian Sikh woman Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa and it was powerful and confronting, as great art should be.
If you’re not in Australia, ‘where the bloody hell are ya?’ Remember the Bingle jingle, inviting the world to mix and mingle?
Where a fair go was your welcome mat, unless you’re of caramel descent and then ain’t nobody got time for that.
You see, rocking up for my first job at Coles, was like a scene from Border Patrol.
What makes you Australian?
Is it a Southern Cross Tattoo or wombat stew crumbled with a Dunkaroo?
Do you think of a time when Australia’s learnt to share and care and dare to wear its heart on its face, fully aware that most of us in this place are far from fair, but brown and black and slow to attack?
But quick to embrace a warm Australia.
I’m confused as to why, on Australia Day, when the night sky spews bigot bile, I’m left traumatised.
When a teen rips off my uncle’s turban, I’m an enraged flame of pain and shame and sorrow, for tomorrow when a hooning ute throws a rotten peach at my dad and screams ‘go home, ya bloody terrorist.’
I plead to you Lara , where the bloody hell are we?
My people, the Sikhs, came here in 1860 with camels and carts and courageous hearts and look at the maxi Taxi, we’re still driving and steering this country in offices and hospitals and even on stage.
So when people tell me and my family to go home to where we came from, I reply with a smile, tongue-in-cheek, ‘mate, we’ve been right at home for the past 150 years!’
I’m not the one that’s a freak, I’m fully Sikh.