...you see a few years back i lived but a few hundred metres from the Cronulla riots. then, even worse than the actual day, was the aftermath. being painted with the same brush as those involved in that horrific day of vulgar hatred merely because i lived in the same suburb...well, red never was my colour.
Today the flags are worn by patriots in every imaginable pattern of chinese made paraphenalia, flags, togs, hats, boxer shorts, singlets, towels, paper plats & cups, beer coolers...for twist tops & tallies. I am a particular fan of the arab inspired rolled flag hat come turban, you know like you used to do as a kid with your beach towel...classy. even the cars proudly fly their red, white & blues (so sad to see the reindeer antlers put away). by far the most popular is the strayan flag cape. for the hero among us.
every police officer stationed in this area is on duty, plus we have a few (quite a few) from other stations. i guess you dont get rostered off for straya day round these parts. we dont call them riot squads here anymore, but those non descript police taragos line the back streets of cronulla just as tightly as the revellers swarm from the trains toward the sacred sight once again.
There is alot of mucho talk about patriotism on the street, not so much when the police drag the feral mouthed thrashing drunkards to the back of paddy wagons. i wonder if they're air conditioned. do police officers have to follow OH & S measures? its really hot here today.
Im glad im not the only person who doesnt see patriotism as such a positive thing. These guys say it far better than i do.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson
“If patriotism is "the last refuge of a scoundrel," it is not merely because evil deeds may be performed in the name of patriotism, but because patriotic fervor can obliterate moral distinctions altogether” Ralph B. Perry
"A man sometimes starts up a patriot, only by disseminating discontent, and propagating reports of secret influence, of dangerous counsels, of violated rights, and encroaching usurpation. This practice is no certain note of patriotism. To instigate the populace with rage beyond the provocation, is to suspend public happiness, if not to destroy it. He is no lover of his country, that unnecessarily disturbs its peace. Few errors and few faults of government, can justify an appeal to the rabble; who ought not to judge of what they cannot understand, and whose opinions are not propagated by reason, but caught by contagion." Samuel Johnson
“You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.” Malcolm X
"Patriotism is the willingness to kill & be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell
"Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious." Oscar Wilde
Please dont get me wrong, i love this land, & contray to poular belief i even love many of the people that call it home & most of those visitng. I simply cannot be a part of or support something that to me has birthed a generation of egotistical imbecils. I fail to see the joy in something that segregates & instills fear. Not everyone is so welcome in Cronulla today.
Ah Cronulla its so easy to forget that your name means 'place of the pink sea shells.' Its so hard to remember your beauty in the face of such ugliness.
And what on earth do i teach my teenage son on a day like today? His 14yo counterparts can mostly be found down 'the wall' today. hangin, boozin...its fuggen straya day after all mate.
Instead we have chosen to speak with him about what Australia means to us. It means hope, it means understanding, it means gratitude...that we should just so happen to be the lucky few to have been birthed in a nation as beautiful as this, a nation borrowed, a nation stolen.
We no longer live in Cronulla we moved a little further out, unable to stand the violent & thuggish energy that hovers just above its littered shores, yet the vile public performance i still see around me continues to remind me why i dont call myself strayan. I dont need to. Id rather call myself human.
Happy Colonisation Day Australia.