Invasion Day Reflections – compromise and be compromised!

Being relatively low on cash means no regular access to the Internet at home in lieu of things like having a roof over our heads, being able to eat healthy and nutritious food, buying train tickets to and from work, etc. This in turn means that I post less, although I did get a wagging finger about not posting more from a kind-of-secret-admirer on a recent trip to Sydney, so I’m back to blogging when I can through my mobile phone. Desperate times do call for desperate measures! I’m also back on facebook, but instantly remembering why I chose to go off in the first place. Anyway, Australia Day (often referred to by ATSI Australians as Survival Day or Invasion Day) happened yesterday and boy was it a sh*t fight! Here are some of my reflections:

In the lead up to Invasion Day there was quite a bit of facebook activity, particularly from the blackfellas I know. I’ve gotta say that most of it was quite sad, angry, upset – there continues to be a lot of unresolved grief related to the original invasion of our continent on 26 January 1788.

I think sometimes it’s quite easy to not understand this anger, sadness and despair when you hold a particular privelege and do not appropriately acknowledge that privilege, and so I have conversely seen quite a lot of posts on facebook and comments around the place, calling for our people to essentially move on and either join the celebrations or celebrate our survival (this is from both Blacks and whites).

Whilst I acknowledge that celebrating our survival is a good thing, I don’t think it is particularly helpful to tell a grieving people that this is what they HAVE to do – first and foremost it is EXTREMELY dismissive of our grief and the ongoing ramifications of that grief, which manifests itself in the gross disadvantage you see in Indigenous Australian communities today. I also think that dismissing the grief and advising people to celebrate survival is a moot point when the rest of the nation continues to celebrate it’s national holiday on the day the continent was violently invaded, to the detriment of it’s First Peoples – the day should be moved and we as a people should never give up calling and protesting for a change of date.

I guess, really, what I want to say to all the people who are saying to blackfellas that they should get over being angry or just embrace Australia Day (this is aimed at those who are ATSI and also those who claim to support ATSI struggles for justice) is to STOP COMPROMISING. It’s like giving in! Our anger is being judged by a standard that the Invaders have set for us and we are being found lacking. Well, why don’t we set our own parameters?? I say it’s okay to get angry about Australia Day, I say that it is okay to call for the date to be changed, to remember the wrongs – if we don’t maintain the fight and remember the wrong, how will we ever know if we are moving forward from it?

In my opinion, when you compromise like that, when Blackfellas and those supposedly on ‘our side’ say to celebrate whatever you want and join in Australia Day it allows the flexibility to have those who are just waiting for the opportunity to oppress us more, do so. Those insidious racists and right wingers use your words to justify their rationale for keeping Australia Day on the day of invasion. They use your compromise to continue to not take seriously Indigenous calls for treaty, sovereignty and a better quality of life, and that my friends IS WRONG. Further, I feel like by compromising like this it not only allows people to dismiss the real struggles, but it also allows people to over-simplify the issues at hand. Whilst everyone can sit around and talk on their facebook about race relations in this country, or use Australia Day as the only day to make a comment about injustice, I would like to see more people actually put their money where their mouth is (so to speak). DO SOMETHING, like ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING – don’t be lazy, don’t compromise! Look at your privelege in this country and realise that if you aren’t on the bottom of the heap then you do ‘live off the backs of Blacks’ (as my father would have put it).

And with that, I want to post up this video. Firstly, because it is from a brother whom I respect for his courage and ability to not only speak out, but to put those words and thoughts in to REAL ACTION – and secondly, because it explains why Australia’s national holiday should be moved to a different date.



22 thoughts on “Invasion Day Reflections – compromise and be compromised!

    1. Umm… maybe you should get yourself checked out at the doctor Nazeem? I’d be quite scared if I heard Eugenia’s voice in my head…

  1. Beautiful reflection. I must admit it is very hard to actually do something when you don’t know how your place in a struggle, whether that be one of global proportions or a local one. In my experience our participation in the evolution of this country is achieved through the work we do with our own souls. It begins with the talk we have with ourselves and questioning our own prior assumptions, which then leads into having these conversations with others. One very important thing to recognise is that we need not be afraid to speak out and voice our opinions. Having this discussion and keeping it going is imperative. Being labelled ‘unaustralian’ told to ‘leave if you don’t like it’ is just fuel to the fire for me. If everyone just speaks up, that’s doing something.

    1. Hey Nedz I 100% agree – it starts with ourselves, with looking at our intentions and our openness and continually questioning.

  2. lol @ secret admirer. How can you blame that person when you wrote so eloquently and passionately?

    I’m sick of how history has been hijacked in the present day. And i’m sick of the sheer ignorance people have about Australia day! And I’m sick of how ill informed most people have about indigenous people in general .. the problems won’t go away unless people speak out against ignorance and injustice .. but of course like with everything it’s really hard to speak out and one has to be brave and know exactly what they’re talking about .. which is hard ..
    Anyway .. great post as usual Genie! 🙂

    1. Speaking out is oh so important – I think the fallout from Australia Day requires us all to speak out against racism

    2. Also, when I was writing this I was like “I hope she doesn’t think I’m completely narcissistic” – it was meant to be very tongue in cheek lol

  3. I admit I’m one of those people who talks a lot and doesn’t really do a whole lot. I’m going to try and show some more guts this year and actually get involved in something.

  4. This is brilliant Genie. I’ve been sharing it around. I must admit that I’m also more of an armchair activist these days ( I’ve been signing petitions on Change & Avaaz, but that’s about it), but this has inspired me to do more, Inshallah.

  5. Great piece. I’ve been so incredibly frustrated with hearing and reading people telling Aboriginal people to “move on” and marginalising them further with the usual racist stereotypes. It’s the height of insensitivity and displays a stunning lack of compassion and empathy.

  6. Just one point, if you consider we were only counted after 67, we have alot of un answered questions, with no treaty, no declaration of war, terra nullius debunked in our highest court, english common law never protected or counted us, (although they counted cattle) just how legal is this colony and are Australia going to use international laws and standards to settle this? Also I didnt know an embassy is their for one reason, there are still heaps of issue needing our representation, wabbit knew what he was doing

    1. Hey Sam, all very valid points – and continue to be valid after all the hysteria has died down. The questions you pose continue to go unanswered!

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