I don’t care…

 Beachgoer poses at Cottesloe Beach in Perth

… too much – one way or the other – how you choose to mark your Australia Day. It’s many things to many people and if there’s one thing I’d hope for all of us – it’d be that we continue to allow people to celebrate their Australianism’s in as many positive ways as they can. Unfortunately we have too many ‘muppets’ out there, spoiling this for everybody: they want to tell us just WHO is an Australian and who’s NOT! 

The Australia Day before my son was born – I ventured out around the Swan River with a good friend who had also spent a number of years in the Defence Force of this country. I tripped around a young bloke full of what seemed to be good cheer and fun times, clipping him gently in the shoulder as he stumbled past me, recovering from a friendly tackle from one of his mates playing footy at the time. I turned to apologise and give him a friendly smile – only to cop this look of absolute venom as he spat at me:

“F@#$ing watch out you f@#$ing black c@$%! Why don’t you f$%^ off to where you came from?”

I was stunned for a moment – only a moment mind – because I was in that lad’s face before I could stop myself and before I realised – what was actually going on: “Where IS it you think I came from mate?”

I had caught the lad by surprise (me as well). His mates too. The didn’t move – so I pushed the point home:

“WHERE exactly mate?”

The lad hadn’t expected my voice to have the same accent as his at ALL. He hadn’t expected me to step in and challenge him (nor had I if I was to be honest) and he hadn’t expected that for that single moment – he’d be awfully alone.  Like it or not, it had turned nasty in the blink of an eye and both of us were smack dab in the middle of it.

His mate’s began to rally themselves and my mate – unusually good at defusing moments such as these – stopped them in their tracks:

“Any of you lads served in the Military?” he asked quite disarmingly.

When no-one answered in the positive, he asked them another question. “Did any of your folks put a uniform on?” – no answer again, “Well – how about your grandparents eh – did they?”

At this stage he got a nod or two and followed up:

“So you’re grandparents probably served under that flag you’re flying there,” pointing to the esky pile that’s had become this little group’s ‘high ground’, ” and they probably saw some ugly things as a result of it yeah?”

The mood changed on that note – you could feel it toning down. My mate – a white lad I grew up with as a kid – simply pushed the point home.

“Don’t make an ugly moment happen for the wrong reason fellas. You know nothing about us and we know nothing about you. But we’ve also worn the uniform of this Country’s Defence Force’s and so have so many people of more races then you could possible name. You might want to think about that a bit yeah?!”

With that he pulled me away from the – rather sheepish young man now – and we both buggered off, before anyone else knew what was going on. I was shaking and apologising for acting badly and thinking how close we’d come to a really ugly scene with a dozen young men and their girlfriends.

As a result of that day and many similar smaller incidents (all local and around Perth in various places) I now don’t go out on Australia Day. I take my boys for the fireworks in places where small crowds are full of ‘grown-ups’ and I try to avoid drunk and angry young men trying to win back their Country, with venomous vitriol and drunken ludicrousness.

These young (and not so young) men and women are out there making our Australia Day something else entirely and they’re doing it in our name. Most reading this now will probably be those who aren’t in the same camp at this young man. But nearly all of us know someone like him. We all know people who share these views and most of us sit by and avoid challenging these people and allow this bulldust to grow.

If you’ve taken a stance against this type of behaviour – my hat off to you! I don’t expect it to be the kind I very stupidly partook in – I really don’t think that type of stance is necessary – but if you’ve simply stood up and questioned someone you know on their belief and comments – you’ve made more of a stance then most.

If you’r not this sort of person – please believe me when I say to you – I understand. It’s not an easy thing to do – challenging a person about the things they might believe in. But if you can do so – in the smallest possible way – sometimes it might surprise you and you might make a big, big change in how they then go on to see the world – in a good way.

If you can do this; question that one person you know and have them shift some, I’ll tell you now – you will have my gratitude and that of my sons, until our dying days. And somehow – I don’t think I’d be alone in that either.

We need you – we ALL need you!

Belongum – Out!

 

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About Belongum

People bring 'things' to me. Not necessarily PHYSICAL things as such - mostly just the loose bits and pieces floating around in their 'brain-box'. Sometimes, they also bring themselves - and THAT isn't anywhere near as simple as it sounds. I come here to pass some of this 'brain-box business' on to the ether world, and to empty my head. Besides folks - I love a good yarn - so come and join me!
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11 Responses to I don’t care…

  1. Mandi says:

    Hello Friend! Long time no post, hey? I’m not a stand up and say it kind of person but I see it and I point it out to my kids and we talk about it and I hope, really hope, that these conversations along with the way we live our life as a family will help guide the choices in behaviour, thoughts and actions. Actually I say I’m not a stand up and say it kind of person but I’m becoming rather more so the older I get.

    Like

  2. belongum says:

    Hi mate… I sure hope you’re feeling better!

    Then I think what YOU do – is all the more important! It’s our children who we influence the most I guess and if we can do this well – then surely that means more than having an empty squawk at an adult who’s already formed an opinion on this subject?

    I of course – being one of these adults now – and also guilty of squawking! haha 😉

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  3. Magnet says:

    Hey B, yes the psycho-flag-waving, lets punch on, overseas-style nationalism is pretty erky and perky, sad to see it being adopted, as the masses here become more mindless from more nationalistic piffle on the telly.
    The Aus military has been a great equalizer in the past in terms of nullifying racism – look at those legends who started the Coolbaroo Club. Glad to hear that it prompted some reluctance by the aggressors in your situation.
    But in the news in the last couple years I am seeing more and more ADF personnel or former personnel involved in racist attacks against Aboriginal people and ethnic minorities. There’s been an erosion of core values and the sensationalist tabloid media and mindless telly programs are a primary source of social conditioning.
    The best thing about Australia Day 2012 was the rain – after a heatwave, the people at the (silly) Skyshow, actually got to see the very best part of Perth – the unpredictability of the summer weather! Glad to see your back blogging!

    Like

    • belongum says:

      Yeah – it’s a problem DM – I know. Unfortunately – the silly bugger business that exists outside the Defence Forces in the real world, bleeds into a life in uniform too! It’s often not until you’re forced to live a life with a person you would never normally cross in your day to day life!

      It’s the fact that you develop an actual real relationship under very different circumstances than you would normally outside of uniform (or any other set of circumstances that see you having to rely wholeheartedly on another person for your well-being) and in forming this type of relationship – you’re often forced to look past the bulldust you’ve been swallowing your whole life about people from a life and world – that’s poles apart from yours.

      I hate the wedge being pushed between us and I hate how both sides justify the stance they take when defending their reasons for taking part in this shite! They have no idea that basically – they’re looking into a mirror and taking on the same sort of bulldust the other party’s carrying and doing the very same things… it fair does my head in!

      Hope you’re well DM… will I be catching up with you sometime soon perhaps?
      Cheers mate… 🙂

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      • Magnet says:

        Oh yes!!! I’m on the home stretch… almost finished.
        Deadline is looming large :{{{

        I think it would really help if people just turned off their “tv – drug of the nation, breeding ignorance…” Ignorant people can be hard for anyone to rise above, I had 1 idiot(a fan of my work, apparently) who ruffed me up in front of 200 odd punters in a pub when I was covering a gig, but what he was actually looking for was not the opportunity to harass me, but the opportunity to see what I’d do under duress. You’re idiot, clearly was looking for the reaction he wanted, but your training is good for a lot of things – self discipline under stress is one of them. Invaluable.

        Y’know the feminist in me just has to point out, that there isn’t a lot wrong with c***s. All that c**t loathing and derision in our colloquial language is a bit misplaced really – none of us would be here if we didn’t have them.

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  4. Less stress my friend, young adults are not the only ones behaving badly on Australia day (Re: this years Australia Day incident in Canberra with Julia Gillard) and your response is perfectly normal. You are human after all so stop beating yourself up over that one. Let it go.

    I am a stand up kind of person, but to be honest I won’t be venturing out on Australia Day any more either. I found this years Survival Concert one-sided and blinded by them and us mentality. Not good for us or our future and definitely not good for our soldiers who fought to make this country what it is. FREE.

    I hear you.

    Like

    • belongum says:

      Hiya Barb… hope you’re well too! It’s been so long now I need to buy you coffee and let you tease me about London and what it did for you!

      I know that the frustration and anger experienced (and for very good and real reasons) can drive us to sometimes put ourselves in some bloody silly situations – but bad behaviour is still bad behaviour and whilst there’s room to say to someone – “look fair enough mate – that sorta business would cheese me off too!” it still can’t excuse completely – this bad behaviour! Calling someone a black c!@# or a white c!@# just ISN’T going to win you friends in any fellas language – no matter the angst and reason behind the anger boiling away inside you! It’s not a blackfella vs whitefella issue – it’s ALL our issue and it belongs to all of us!

      How we deal with it though is another question… it requires people to sit back and not bite when this happens – but’s that so much easier said – then it is done! (I know this well myself as much as I try).

      Seeya soon Barb… 🙂

      Like

  5. belongum says:

    Hey DM… I hate ‘poison’ for ‘poison’s’ sake when it comes to vocally retaliating. But as the good XO points out to me (on numerous occasions) some of us don’t have the ability to connect up the right words in the (heated) moment and we find ourselves reaching for other – more familiar – ones.

    As to MY self discipline’ etc… haha – oh boy… sometimes it slips and I really regret those rare moments when it happens! 😉

    Like

  6. Ian says:

    G ‘day there ol’ mate…. good ta see ya still alive 🙂 Just wanted ta say g’day as I’ve nothing to add to the comments above… suffice to say Aussie Day is gettin’ scary in lotsa places… damn shame

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    • belongum says:

      G’day Ian… how’s this mad weather treating you folks in the top end? It feels like yonks since we’ve ‘yarned’ – I think I got myself lost in the real world there for a while 😉
      Still about, still annoying the world some and trying to earn a living doing. Good to see you mate! Hope to be back and annoying the blogging world soon. Best I apologise now – ha! 🙂

      Like

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