29 January, 2008

Labor's Apology, Cronulla, Sorry, and Adam Thompson's flag-burning

Are you offended by this pic? Do I deserve to be arrested as a criminal for publishing it? What if I had merely splattered it with Tomato Sauce? Dipped it in bleach? Used it to wrap fish & chips?
The Flag Conservative brigade lurking among the Australian population is now out of the closet, thanks to Howard (er, Howard who?).

Any democratic country which can suggest that burning a piece of cloth, a mere tribal totem, a symbol, should be a punishable crime, has succumbed to the degenerative disease of Chronic Insecurity. Sucked in by the spin. Yup, Howard’s “Keep-em-at-home-and-keep-em-afraid” nationalism campaign was clearly a winner [interpret: ‘loser’], and Fascism is on the loose in your neighbourhood.

Coming to a small screen near you ... Holocaust II:.. the Sequel.

These Flag-Upholding Conservative Klansmen, imagining themselves as Australia’s self-appointed Moral Protectors, are willing to criminalize burners of cloth but remain incongruously silent while their pure white Australian government sanctions the burning alive of people in Fallujah. Likewise, can they even begin to imagine how Aborigines like Tasmania’s Adam Thompson must feel about Australia Day (aka ‘Invasion Day’) and what burning resentments they must feel about dispossession and institutionalized poverty?

In 1992, the High Court recognized native title, ending the historical fiction that Australia was an ‘empty land’ when the British landed at Botany Bay in the 18th century. However, in 1998 the Howard Government countered this with legislation that effectively took away the common law rights that the court said belonged to Aborigines. Nothing as openly racist has been enacted in a modern, democratic parliament. The United Nations has since distinguished Australia with its first adverse finding on racial discrimination against a western nation. (photos above and below: Penny Tweedie, 1982, 1978)

David Malaugi, standing here in 1978 with his family in front of their shack, was a celebrated artist whose painting appeared on the Australian one-dollar note. Like many Aboriginal artists, whose work is shown all over the world, he received little of the material benefits. He epitomises the dignity, hurt, and enduring poverty of Australia’s Aboriginal people. David died in 1998.
PETITION: Support the Federal Government's Apology (GetUp.org).
Better to have Sorry and a tussle about recompense than no Sorry at all.

But YES, even diehard Flag Conservatives like stupid Pauline Pantsdown can change. Australians must begin the long process of re-inventing the social wheel, of restoring the acceptance of “the Other”. Otherness is OK. Not just Toleration of Otherness, but Acceptance. Willing Acceptance (including refugees), and true multi-cultural pride rather than pernicious and divisive censorship:

If flag-burning becomes a crime under Australian law, I will renounce my citizenship and passport. What if, for instance, I wrote a song with anti-nationalistic words like “I Don’t Call Australia Home” or “Racist Matilda” etc. Could ASIO’s Thought Police arrest me? Another example: Singapore's government is suppressing the performances of a choir which is singing songs of dissent about life in Singapore. And this ain't new - look at what happened in the U.S. back in 1734:

Whereas ill-minded and Disaffected Persons have lately dispersed, in the City of New York, and diverse other Places, Several Scandalous and Seditious Libels, but more particularly two Printed Scandalous Songs or Ballads, highly defaming the Administration of His Majesty’s Government in this Province, tending greatly to inflame the Minds of His Majesty’s good Subjects, and to disturb the Publick Peace. And Whereas the Grand Jury for the City and Country did lately, by their Address to me, complain of these Pernicious Practices, and request me to issue a Proclamation for the Discovery of the Offenders, that they might, by Law, recieve a Punishment adequate to their Guilt and Crime. I Have therefore thought fit, by and with the Advice of His Majesty's Council, to issue this Proclamation, hereby Promising Twenty Pounds as a Reward, to such Person or Persons who shall discover the Author or Authors of the two Scandalous Songs ...[etc]
...and a notice in the Tuol Sleng prison, Cambodia, 1970s

Announcing FunkyPix2's simple

Try this in your own home!

1. Invite media
2. Strike match
3. Light flag.
REMEMBER: Red, white & blue are RACIST GANG COLOURS and must be pre-emptively eliminated by any means possible.

Go on, Kev, arrest me :-)

...and finally, have a cynical giggle at this flash-animated cartoon Truly Sorry by Nicholson of "The Australian".

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