Australia, Land Of Freedom

Its so annoying when Facebook creates an impression that misrepresents what you believe. I’m sorry to be repetitious and boring but this little item about ‘The Pledge Of Allegiance’ has been doing the rounds recently. And while I understand that some people are saddened by what they see as a loss of national pride, I abhor the racist hatred that seems to be a growing hobby amongst some people who call themselves Australians.

If you have seen this photo with my name attached to it, please understand that there are two responses that should have appeared, but won’t unless you go digging for them. Here they are:

1. It feels great to hate, doesn’t it? Great to have a ’cause’? This repeated claim that our ‘traditions’ are being threatened because some sector of the ‘immigrant’ population might be ‘offended’ is usually, if you bother to actually look, unsubstantiated drivel, perpetuated by a group of haters. Please check the facts, before becoming part of these ‘crusades’. Australia has so benefited through immigration, starting with the First Fleet. We are all immigrants. While I’m not sure what the actual agenda is for the racial hatred being fermented here, I have to acknowledge that its an approach that worked very well for Adolf Hitler. I think we’ve more to fear from ignorance, than from a particular group of migrants.

2. Can somebody point to some actual evidence that this tradition was stopped on the grounds that it might offend someone? Maybe it died out because people became anti-war and anti nationalism after the Vietnam War?

Maybe no-one cared at the time. I don’t recall anyone agitating to have it retained. Perhaps those who feel strongly about reviving nationalism, should campaign to have the pledge reinstated. If you don’t like the way things are being done now, change them. But please don’t demonize some sector of our community and make them scapegoats for every bit of anger and frustration that you are carrying around.

And the photo that keeps appearing:


What I see is a growing movement within our society, that seems to be based on a revival of nationalistic pride together with racial hatred.   I don’t see any significant evidence of the government or anybody else trying to reign this in and I find myself wondering why.

If one considers the path down which German society was led in the 1930’s and 40’s, I don’t think you have to be a genius to recognize some similarities.  In the case of Germany, I suppose it suited the regime of the day, to provide the people with a focus for their anger and their discontent.  The Jewish people (amongst others) were sacrificed on the altar of Nazism and the horrible consequences are carved indelibly on human history, a permanent reminder of just how low mankind can sink.

That being the case, I am puzzled by the apparent lack of interest in these local developments, by our freedom loving, democratically elected government.  Why is nothing being done to at least try to diffuse this movement.  Why is nothing being done to educate society and lead them towards peace and racial tolerance?

It is apparent that these ‘movements’ have their beginnings in the lower socio-economic segment of society …. people who feel dispossessed and alienated by society’s mainstream and who are seeking a cause … any cause … to rally around and to provide them with a sense of meaning, identity and purpose.  It was from this segment of society that Hitler seeded his campaign of hatred.  Any contemporary politician who is a student of history, cannot fail to recognise the opportunity that an alienated segment of society represents, either for good or for evil.  Whoever can provide that group with a cause to believe in and a flag to rally to, will control a frightening power.

In our society, where religion has failed to provide a sense of values, a sense of place and a sense of purpose or any particular relevance whatever, Westerners look to a society which has a deep religious belief and commitment … and we are instinctively afraid of that which we don’t understand …… that which is foreign.  Fear feeds hatred and hatred feeds fear.

At the moment, the neo nationalist movement is fragmented and disorganised.  Some restrict their animosity to the Muslim community and to Muslim nations.  Others seem to entertain a distaste of non-Australians generally and some are even expressing anti-American sentiments.  This latter group, it has to be said, are ‘interesting’.  While they are decrying all things American, they are imitating, quite precisely, the American militarism that is so familiar, they are driving Ford cars and they are watching hour upon hour of American television every week!  The agrandizement of all things (Australian) military, even down to the posting of clearly American Military propaganda on internet sites, seems to be very appealing to these people. This movement will NOT remain fragmented.  It will coalesce into a single cause and it will find a focus.

While our government occupies its time and its effort in politics, economics and foreign policy, it seems oblivious to a growing mood of disenchantment and discontent amongst many of its people.  If this government is really a government of the people, by the people and for the people (as any true democracy must be) then I cannot understand how it is able to turn a blind eye to a growing mood of racial hatred that I see being daily nurtured on internet social media.

Australians (at least a significant number of them) are clearly needing some sense of identity.  And if religion in this country is unable to fill that need, then perhaps it is high time to revive a spirit of national pride.  Give the people back their sense of being Australian, of having some identity.  Have children, once again, recite the pledge of allegiance in schools.  Couple that strategy with an education campaign that aims to foster racial tolerance and understanding within our community.  Show Australians that their needs do matter and that you are prepared to protect their beliefs and their rights.

I realize that this whole issue might seem to some, as a very minor matter and hardly worth attention by a government that is trying to run a modern western nation.  But its my belief that if we ignore this restless breeze for now, a time will come when we’ll find ourselves facing a storm of anger, violence and hatred, the likes of which our lucky country has never seen …. not even in all its glorious military involvements.

To the racists and haters who delight in stirring the evil brew of prejudice, I would simply point out a couple of things.  I know that in their righteous zeal, they will consider these things irrelevant.  Zealots are hard to get through to, whether they are Muslim fundamentalists, Christian Fundamentalist or Nationalistic fanatics of any nation!  But for what its worth……. If it wasn’t for our US allies, we’d all be speaking Japanese today.  If it wasn’t for the countless (largely) European migrants who arrived here after World War Two, our country would be nothing like the prosperous and proud nation that it has become.  You would still be eating nothing but meat and three veg …. No Asian cuisine, no pasta, no pizza, no yirros!  I suppose you would still have Sushi!  Oh, and 1/4 of the earth’s people are Muslim.  So if you really want to vent your hatred on the relatively small and decent community who have chosen to make their home here, you probably should expect to meet more than a few of their rellies down the track.

Have a listen to Miguel Rios singing ‘Ode To Joy’ and ask yourself, what kind of a world do I want to help create?

Andrew Caddle 2013-12-09

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