happy invasion day

Many people nowadays replace the term “Australia Day” with “Invasion Day” for our January 26 holiday. This is of course grossly politically incorrect, but alas that is the point!

What do you think? Do you think this is a fair description of the day?

I suppose we all need to reflect today on what Australia Day “celebrates” from all perspectives. For White Australia it does mark the colonisation of yet another land and thus the beginning of a society for us. However for Indigenous Australians it is the day marking the stealing of their land and the resulting slide into statistical poverty.

Such poverty of course did not exist before the colonisation of Australia – Aboriginal people lived in harmony with the bio-web of the land and did not take more than they needed (see my last post on economics).

Australia Day might be a great opportunity for most Australians to wear boardshorts, have a BBQ, listen to the Hottest 100 and drink plenty of beer. However it should also be an opportunity to reflect on the history of our young nation and contemplate the injustices that have occurred on this land.

Aboriginal Australians really were the original owners of this land, and in actual fact our ancestors stole it from them. For Christians this should be a rude awakening to the current needs of the Aboriginal population, as stealing is obviously outrightly condemned in our Scriptures:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

What should we do now? Accept the way things have worked out? Or should we work actively for reconciliation and restitution to the greatest degree possible? The kingdom of God certainly cannot be built on the kind unredeemed history such as that of Australia, wouldn’t you agree?

MCA

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Posted on January 26, 2011, in Advocacy, Culture & Art and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I prefer to call it Survival Day – it celebrates the fact that despite over 200 years of colonisation, the first peoples are still here.
    I like to think of it as an opportunity to think about home and homelessness. In Australia, all of us have lost our homelands in different ways, and we have an opportunity to grow a new home together, which we can welcome others into.

  2. I’m not happy with calling it either Survival or Invasion day. Yes its true the Aborigines were here first…yet there is some thought that they migrated here from Indonesia at one time.

    The truth of the matter is that our modern culture is far different to that of 200 years ago. What are we to make of vast areas of modern Europe which has developed from various invasions, takeovers and cultural modifications… is it possible or even feasible to think of any of those countries as being socially pure…

    Well there was one nation who tried… Nazi Germany…it didn’t work.

    From a Christian perspective I would rather say that in Christ their is neither Aborigine or Anglo-Saxon, male or female, slave or free….and this then should be the starting point for any Christian thought.

  3. Christop – I really like that way of seeing it. I also like the application toward displacement and homemaking.

    Craig – I see what you are saying, though I think maybe you are slightly missing the point of such tags as “Invasion Day”. The Aboriginal community in Australia is not wanting to single themselves out as a special race. On the contrary, they are wanting equality for their race amongst all others when theirs is treated unjustly.

    The passage from Romans you have used actually supports such causes as Aboriginal rights etc. Rather than using this verse to discourage striving for justice for oppressed races, we should see that the point of the verse is to break down any walls created by social architecture which foster such injustice (hence why Greeks, females and slaves were meant to be called equal in the kingdom; so too Aboriginals).

    Social purity is not the name of the game and never was. Rather acknowledgement, reconciliation, just restitution and equality are what is being sought. In Australia the situation is slightly different to Europe inasmuch as the colonial activity of the last few centuries is more straightforward than some of the European nations. We do not need to trace highly complicated colonial histories to know who was responsible for what in Australia.

    Moreover should we allow continuing oppression towards Aboriginals, Gypsies, Palestinians etc. simply because the history is complicated?

  4. Restitution and reconcilliation are not as easily made to the aboriginal community at large as it is said Matt. The aboriginal community is just as divided on what is reconcilliation yet alone restitution. Going forward I agree there must be ammends for what has occurred in the past.

    But money may well not be the answer to all of the woes of the aboriginal people. Some seek a return to the ways of the past and to live a more traditional lifestyle. This will always be in coflict with a nation moving into the early part of the 21st century.

    One considers the indigenous american indian and the ongoing issues in the US. The US is still struggling with how to resolve issues that go further back than our last 200 years.

    It’s not a one fix answer, and I don’t see progress made easily until the Aboriginal people of Australia truly have a united voice on where they see reconcilliation and restitution.

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  2. Pingback: beyond survival day: reflections on australia day 2012 « life.remixed

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