Happy Australia Day to all. David and I had a lovely day off, slept in a bit (nice!) and spent the morning fairly lazily, then after lunch went to a friend’s house for a traditional Aussie BBQ, then dinner with my Dad this evening. A really lovely day spent with family and friends, it doesn’t get much better than that!
I acknowledge that 26 January is not a day of celebration for all Australians. Our indigenous community view the day very differently, as ‘invasion day’ and as day of mourning. I totally understand this viewpoint and unfortunately cannot change what happened just over 200 years ago, and totally support the indigenous community’s wish to mark the day with protests and demonstrations.
Part of what makes our country so wonderful is how inclusive it is the many freedoms we all enjoy, including freedom of speech and the right to make peaceful protest. So when I learned that, at one of the many demonstrations held today, there was a (failed) attempt to burn the Australian flag, I became disappointed and annoyed.
I support anyone’s right to peaceful demonstration and to make their point, but I do not condone the burning of flags, no matter what flag it is. Regardless of the meaning someone’s flag may have and whether or not I find it personally offensive, it is still symbolic and meaningful to someone, and at a more basic level, would likely not be not my property to destroy. In the case of a burning of the Australian flag, I am offended as a proud Australian, and embarrassed and hurt for the thousands of service men and women who lost their lives fighting for the freedoms we enjoy, including protesting. That also includes those currently serving and therefore unable to enjoy a national public holiday with friends and family.
Incidentally, indigenous Australians have served their country in virtually every conflict and peace keeping mission since the Boer War through to the current day, so I can’t imagine many of them would appreciate this seemingly misplaced and inappropriate gesture.
So feel free to have your say, but please give the flag burning a miss.