Hey, this is a problem
For those of you who aren’t Australian, and for many Australians, the above image may not be too shocking to you. Coming from a place who’s popular culture is so heavily influenced by American culture, it can be easy to celebrate Australia Day in the same way that American celebrate ‘American (Independence) Day’. But the reality is not this way at all. In simple terms, Australia Day is the Australian equivalent of Thanks giving. It celebrates the landing of the First Fleet at Port Jackson, and as a result, the beginning of the colonisation of Australia.
However, as is the case with Thanksgiving, there is political baggage that comes with it. This day is more than just the day that Australia was discovered, because it was absolutely discovered before. It is, instead, the day that colonies began to form, and was the first step in a long line of actions that systematically steal from, destroy land of, and hurt the First Nation people of Australia. By seeing this day as the be all to end all event to reflect on good Australian history, and our various accomplishments, we undermine the awful things we’ve done. Even to simply say that people should reflect on the bad, won’t change the history of celebration the day brings.
But here’s also the thing. Australia does have an independence day. Which, in reality, would be a way better day to celebrate the accomplishments of us as a people. The British Colonies of Australia form a Federation on January 1st 1901, and truly I think if we were to celebrate in accordance with America, we should be more inclined to do it then. But, this is not the only proposed option
May 8 has been proposed by many, many people as the day to celebrate. And why not? It sounds like the word Mate. It’s as good and arbitrary a reason as any to celebrate. And in this life of truly meaningless events, why not just choose the day that literally sounds the best. Honestly.
But ultimately, it’s something that needs to change. We, as a nation, have done many great things, but with that needs to come an understanding of the bad. We can understand the reflect on both, but to undermine the bad purely for the sake of the good will solve nothing. By changing Australia Day, we can show that we are capable of look at ourselves, and our history and admitting the sins of our fathers and that we are willing to make good of them. That progress can be made.
I recognise that many people won’t see this as a huge issue, but I implore you to share ti regardless. The fact that Australia Day is falsely labelled as Australian Independence Day and have been dubbed ‘Invasion’ or ‘Survival Day’ shows a serious backlash against these celebrations. I also recognise that Australia Day means a lot to a lot of Australians. There is nostalgia that comes with it, and to take that away, or pass it aside can hurt. But we need to recognise that in changing the day we celebrate and realising the reality of Australian History, we don’t take away those moments. They still happened, and they still can be enjoyed, but they are no reason to keep hurting so many people.