The thing about colonialism that reeks is how it celebrates itself, which is why they give us a paid day off on Australia Day. A dubious euphemism at best, this day underlines invasion and terror, bloodshed and trauma for so many and is all too often backed up by appalling racism and drunken brawling. Beyond the shame of it all, this is why so many of us would like to see a date change. Australians will continue to agitate and advocate for long overdue acknowledgement and rightful treatment of the custodians and keepers of this wide brown land.
It is true that history is always written by the victor yet the standout moments in Australia’s history are when we stood against that red tide. When ours were led by great people of many diverse hues and origins. Those who were willing to thumb their noses at the landed gentry and demand recognition and rights for all our people and for this beautiful corner of the earth.
We occupy the most ancient continent there is with the oldest consecutive indigenous culture in human existence, a people whose great reverence for land and lore has been marginalised and dismissed for too long at our peril. We marvel at her beauty as we tear her to pieces for short term economic gain that never trickles down to her people. Our divisive refugee policy is not just inhumane. It is a symptom of a far greater problem that speaks to a national confusion with who we are and what we stand for. This pervasive identity crisis underlines our dreadfully fractured relationship with the earth we tread so heavily upon, a disconnection that is costing us dearly.
There’s no place like home. It is time to focus on that which unites us and honour the one hallowed thing that conquers political, economic and social divide and reaches deep inside us all, if we allow its gentle grace.
“He did not own the land, the land owned him”
~ James Miller
There are rallies today in all our capital cities as we march for and with our First Nations People. My hope is that we reach a day that respects, includes and embraces all of us now owned by this beautiful land.
Artwork by Wiradjuri woman @coffinbirth
Words © Kerrie Basha, 2018