Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thankfulness and Australia Day

I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels uneasy celebrating the colonisation of Australia today. I agree with Tom Keneally that we could move the current holiday to another time of year, with a different sentiment and it might make today less painful and insulting for indigenous Australians.

Really though, I think it comes down to asking ourselves what Australia Day is actually about. Most people see it as a day off work to get drunk with their mates, or an excuse for a barbecue. As a culture we don't really know what we're celebrating, except our existence. But our existence came at a cost, and that should be recognised.

If we were American, today might be a Thanksgiving equivalent - a moment to stop and think about all that we're thankful for - freedom, democracy, etc. We don't have another time of year were we reflect on these things, except maybe ANZAC day, although that too is fraught. So I think this Australia Day, I'm just going to be thankful, but in the knowledge that my existence, freedom and security have come at a cost, and recognising the legacy of the past is still alive and well.

* image: today's google header

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