Quite a lot of debate about the celebration of Australia Day on January 26 at the moment. There's little point trying to reason with the hard core nutters who think the invasion was good for the indigenous population, brought civilisation to primitive wretches. Those people are too far gone.
But what about the moderates who object to the use of the term Invasion Day, who are proud to be Australian and see criticism of their day to celebrate being Australian as an attack on Australia itself?
To them I say, sure we should have a day to celebrate all that's great about being Australian - and wouldn't it be great to have a day to celebrate freely, a day without negative connotations and a tragic history? Because for Aboriginal people, 26 January marks not a day to celebrate Australia by getting drunk in Australian flag boardies, but the day that began the slaughter, the dispossession, the loss of land and home and rights and children and culture and spirituality, the effects of which - the pain of which - are being felt to this day.
Think about the worst day of your life, if you can. The day you lost a loved one, maybe, or realised with a sudden thump your marriage was over, or your business failed and you were going to need to declare bankruptcy and lose your house. And whilst you were mourning, your best friend announced they were going to mark the date with their huge wedding. A party! Yay! And when you said you were too sad and it's kinda insensitive to your pain, they told you to get over it and asked why you hate them.
That would be weird and gross and most probably end the friendship.
Well now imagine it's not your best friend being insensitive and uncaring, but your country. Every damn year. Wouldn't it be better to have a day to celebrate the didn't cause pain and sorrow to your fellow Australians, the first people of this nation? Wouldn't it be better to leave January 26 to reflection of the wrongs of the past and pick another day, a day when we can all celebrate peace and a tolerant society and iced vovos?
I think so anyway.