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Thread: National Pride Vs National Shame

  1. #1

    Default National Pride Vs National Shame

    On January 26th Australia Day. A day when Australian's come together to celebrate how great their country is and how proud they are to be part of it.

    The only problem is I'm rarely proud of our country. People always have a go at me for this. "How can you be ashamed to be Australian?" But for me, the question is, how can you be proud to be Australian? Quite often, people talk about how brave WE were at Gallipoli or how WE invented the cochlear implant or how WE are fighting the war on terror.

    I hate that WE thing. No... you did are not fighting in Afghanistan. A soldier is. My brother did. You had nothing to do with it. You sat back comfortably at home and didn't even watch it on the news because it didn't make the news. When our soldiers came home, they were flown in on commercial airlines, picked up in taxis and weren't allowed to wear their uniforms off the plane. Then they get this whole spiel about how proud they should of their country and themselves and how Australia was so grateful. Guess what. THEY AREN'T! Our soldiers have to be ordered to march on ANZAC Day and Australia Day because they are pissed off at their country. Their country abandons them. Soldiers have a huge rate of homelessness. Should we be proud of that? No. We should be ashamed.

    But it's not your fault Aidy. No. It's not. Just like it's not my fault that someon in Australiainvented wireless or that an Aussie doctor just installed the first artificial pancreas. I didn't do it and no-one I knew did so why should I feel pride for the achievement? I'm happy that someone in our country did somethign great for the world but I don't feel pride.

    Then people will talk about how lucky we are to live in our country. Yes. It is luck. We were lucky that we happened to be sperm in the right pair of balls to go into the right egg. That is the only reason we came out of the right uterus to be considered Australian. But that doesn't stop people being oppressed and abused in our country. Our country neglects abused children and relies on charities to treat them. They under fund their public mental health system leading to homelessness, unemployment, depression and suicide. They then blame these ill people for their life choice of being ignored by our country and throw them in prison. But they scream and rant if their taxes are raised. Oh no! I might have to help someone through my taxes! Someone is taking my money! What is this country coming too?!?!?! I should be rich. ME ME ME ME

    Speaking of the right uterus to come out of. Coming out of uterus in Australia is not as hard as having to take a citizenship test. I am ashamed of how Australian's think of people from other countries. The ironic thing is this is part of our national anthem. (Our song is really.. really bad.. The only thing that unites our country is that no-one likes it)

    "For those who come across the seas
    We've boundless plains to share
    With courage let us all combine
    And Advance Australia Fair."

    Ironically, Australia generally hates immigrants. Not everyone. But the majority. The hate is so strong that it is actually a deciding issue in Australian elections. STOP THE BOATS! STOP THE IMMIGRANTS! THEY ARE ILLEGAL!
    Illegal. We signed a convention back in the 1950s to allow anyone who got to Australia to apply for asylum. So it isn't illegal. It's lawful. It is our international obligation What is illegal is locking people of all ages up in prisons with sub-par medical treatment, documented cases of abuse, indefinite detentions and saying "It doesn't matter if you are a refugee, you are NOT being resettled in Australia." Instead, we "resettle" (we haven't yet) them in one of the world's worst countries that isn't at war. A country that has areas that still practise cannibalism and burns for witchcraft. A country that has only two high schools. A country that the world is trying to help. Papua New Guinea. We also are looking at Cambodia. You know that one? The one with the child sex trade? Yeah. Our country is looking at resettling families there.
    Note. Our camps have been ordered to be closed down by the UN. We have not. The camps are so bad that our country has been tried and convicted of the torture of innocents due to the conditions of our camps. Many of my friends thought this was a good thing because than people wouldn't want to come to Australia. And it worked. People don't want to come to Australia any more. They would rather stay in refugee camps of millions of people where women are regularly raped, disease is rampant and, if you do survive, your children will have no education, mental scars and generally no future.

    Then people say to me, "These people should come through the proper channels to get to Australia." Another area of shame. Our country makes the proper channels so hard that you have to be a lawyer to get through. If you happen to be in the wrong refugee camp (Pakistan) there is a 77 year waiting period to talk to an Australian refugee officer. Some camps get a visit every two weeks from an Australian official. We don't just take any old refugee the UN orders us to take. We choose them. We can choose them because we take less than nearly all the other developed countries in the world. Australia ranks 22nd in our refugee intake in the developed world. There are 26 developed countries. We rank 32nd in the world for accepting claims of refugee status. This isn't because we have so many people who are fake refugees. no. It's because we arbitrarily turn Tamil refugees back to Sri Lanka against international law. Sri Lanka is being convicted for genocide currently against the Tamils. Sir Lanka has the worlds worst record for unexplained disappearances. More so than Iraq, Afgahnistan and all other warring nations. I have a personal story. One of the boys in the last school I taught was Tamil. He was allowed to come here because his dad is a doctor. The government sent his uncle back. Last year his uncle was stabbed to death in front of his house. No investigation. He was Tamil. (Note: they weren't "boat" arrivals. They came on a plane. Rich people come on planes and can get asylum. Poor people come in boats and can't. Australia likes rich people)

    Australia also hates Muslims. Apparently they are destroying our country. 84% of Muslim 15-24 year olds volunteer. This is compared to 34% of other Australian young people. (Note, I'm very proud of our young people. 34% is amazing stuff. My age group was the least likely to volunteer. This generation of young people are the second most likely)

    Volunteering is a big thing for me. I get a lot of shit from friends for not exercising enough. Lots of people are trying to be buff and if you aren't, you're lazy. Anything less than 2 hours a day on your body is lazy. Except none of these people volunteer their time. They dedicate all their time to themselves. Bloody Australians. They love themselves.

    Australia has cut a total of $11 billion from it's foreign aid budget. That's more than 50%. This is because Australia's last election was decided on "budget emergency." Apparently our country will go bankrupt even though we are the only country that got through the GFC without a recession and we're the best off financially in the world. Since our country loves it's money so much the government can't raise taxes. Instead, they take the money from foreign aid. Because Australian's don't care about anyone but themselves.

    But we can spend $440,000,000 on WW1 "remembrance." (To me it looks like a celebration now). That's 200% more than the UK is spending. We love our national pride and patting ourselves on the back for the deeds of people hundreds of years ago. It's not longer about remembrance when you have fireworks and speedboats.

    Australia is a lazy, selfish, unimaginative country that takes from the world, gives to themselves and thinks waving a flag means they contribute to their country.

    Happy Australia Day.

    (PS: I'm not talking about the Australian's who actually contribute to the country and the world in a meaningful way. These people are people I can be proud of.)

  2. #2

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    Here's my two cents, which by the way, is all it's worth. It's not any one country. I think many, if not most of us, find not just fault with our own countries, but things that we do as nations that are disturbing. It's not an individual nation problem, but a world problem. It's because that we as humans, are terribly flawed. It's not surprising then that our nations are flawed as well.

    We can help change the direction of countries at the ballot box. We can write to our newspapers, blog on large sites, and find ways to make our opinions heard. Don't expect big changes to happen over night because they never do. It takes time to change how people think.

    When I was in college, I was persecuted for my lifestyle, one that was gay, intellectual since I was a college student, and dissident as I demonstrated for civil rights and against the Vietnam war. I never imagined that not only would society become more accepting of homosexuality, but that gay marriage would become legal. Who in the U. S. every thought they'd see a black man as President? I never thought I'd see the Berlin Wall come down, but changing minds and attitudes brought about that which seemed impossible.

    All you can do is to try to make your country a little better: better by one person. After awhile, we accumulate and mount up. Sometimes, we count for something. I demonstrated on the streets. Eventually, it brought a presidency down. There is hope.

  3. #3

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    I can definitely relate in your views of National Pride and National Shame. I have no National Pride at all, nor do I see any reason to have any for the reasons George Carlin mentioned.
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    As far as National Shame goes, there are plenty of actions my country has done that I am ashamed of. I'm ashamed about lying about Iraq having WMDs as an excuse to invade a country that never was a threat to us. I'm ashamed of the viscous and illegal (both nationally through the 8th Amendment and internationally through the United Nations Convention against Torture) torture we partake in at Guantanamo Bay. I'm ashamed of the painfully obvious bribery and corruption in our political system.

    But despite all that, I wouldn't say that I'm ashamed to be an American because like mentioned earlier, it's a fucking genetic accident. I never decided one day "I'm going to choose to be an American and embrace everything it does". I just am an American.

    I do agree with dogboy in that the best thing you can do is to make your country a little better, person by person. Collective power does add up over time, and the best way to get change is to get up, fight, protest, and demonstrate. You're certainly not going to fix all those problems you mentioned about Australia by just sitting at a computer and complaining on the internet (something many people still need to learn about fixing their country).

  4. #4

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    I feel much the same way, Aidy. I'm English, and whilst I'm sometimes proud of our country's history (especially the North - where socialist politics and the Industrial Revolution emerged and flourished), and innovations like the NHS and the 'Welfare State', I have some less proud feelings.

    I dislike the rampant capitalism and selfishness which has been present since the Thatcher years. I hated the way the Blair government followed the U.S. into ill-advised Middle Eastern conflicts. I hate the fact that the far-right are rising, that a rigid class system still exists, and that the mainstream media are obsessed with demonising the underprivileged.

    If someone asks me whether I'm proud to be English, my answer is always the same. 'Partly'.

    I don't, however, think this response is isolated to England, America or Australia. Most countries have a long and chequered history, some of which is noble and creative, some of which is shameful and destructive.

  5. #5

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    Heh, you think it's rough being an Aussie? Try being an American. We're the country that voted a barely literate and/or incredibly brilliant Manchurian president with an affected barely passable Texas accent into power and let him and his cronies drive us to the brink of bankruptcy so we could go spread some democracy around the Middle East to people that weren't keen on having us there in the first place and hate us more and are more radical now than when we started. And if you disagree with us, we'll drone some civilization into you or send in one of our dozen aircraft carriers to airstrike some civilization into you or just send some good ol' fashioned boots on the ground to shoot it into you. And in the meantime here at home, we've cut scientific funding down to practically nothing while we deny global climate change is real, we can't quite decide if gays should get civil rights or not, and our cops kill for the shits and grins of killing.

    Ain't that America for you and me, ain't that America something to see?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aidy View Post
    Speaking of the right uterus to come out of. Coming out of uterus in Australia is not as hard as having to take a citizenship test. I am ashamed of how Australian's think of people from other countries. The ironic thing is this is part of our national anthem. (Our song is really.. really bad.. The only thing that unites our country is that no-one likes it)

    "For those who come across the seas
    We've boundless plains to share
    With courage let us all combine
    And Advance Australia Fair."
    Last June, I attended two midget car races up here in Illinois where they had an Ausie fan sing the Australian anthem before the Star Spangled Banner was played. (A quite large contingent of Ausies and Kiwi drivers and fans made the trip up here. The song seemed OK to me, although it was kind of awkward for we Americans. No one knew if we were supposed to stand with our hands over our hearts like we do for our anthem, or what exactly the custom was.




    Quote Originally Posted by Aidy View Post
    Australia also hates Muslims. Apparently they are destroying our country. 84% of Muslim 15-24 year olds volunteer. This is compared to 34% of other Australian young people. (Note, I'm very proud of our young people. 34% is amazing stuff. My age group was the least likely to volunteer. This generation of young people are the second most likely)

    Volunteering is a big thing for me. I get a lot of shit from friends for not exercising enough. Lots of people are trying to be buff and if you aren't, you're lazy. Anything less than 2 hours a day on your body is lazy. Except none of these people volunteer their time. They dedicate all their time to themselves. Bloody Australians. They love themselves.
    Good for you for volunteering. I was a "therapy kid" in early childhood, so I volunteer with kids to "pay it forward." (I'll probably never contribute enough to counter balance the amount of tax dollars spent on me, but at least I'm doing something to offset costs to society.)

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Illinoise View Post
    Last June, I attended two midget car races up here in Illinois where they had an Ausie fan sing the Australian anthem before the Star Spangled Banner was played. (A quite large contingent of Ausies and Kiwi drivers and fans made the trip up here. The song seemed OK to me, although it was kind of awkward for we Americans. No one knew if we were supposed to stand with our hands over our hearts like we do for our anthem, or what exactly the custom was.




    Good for you for volunteering. I was a "therapy kid" in early childhood, so I volunteer with kids to "pay it forward." (I'll probably never contribute enough to counter balance the amount of tax dollars spent on me, but at least I'm doing something to offset costs to society.)
    With regard to national anthems of other nations, I believe it's customary to stand and remove your hat. Salutes are reserved for our own silly song.

    Sometimes we do good things, and I'm particularly glad to be an American. Sometimes we are responsible for bad things and I'm less enthused. In general, I don't have pride just for being born here. The feelings are about what we do as a nation, positive and negative.

  8. #8

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    I've always found nationalism (patriotism) to be really disconcerting. This relatively recent movement makes people feel pride to be within certain arbitrary geographical limits. Nationalism is something that makes people feel a sense of pride to have been born through no choice of their own within certain borders. This in turn can make people feel much more ready and willing to put their lives on the line (join the military) and go to war for something that they might not really understand, want, or find value in. Also, nationalism can make it so that the government can treat their citizens very badly, yet their citizens feel happy to be there, still.

    Not to Godwin everyone, but nationalism is one of the biggest reasons for WWII. Germany used and abused nationalism to make people do horrendous things, like slaughter Jews en masse or turn in their own neighbors. One of the ways they accomplished this was through this law, I think the Nuremberg Law, that declared that Jewish people where no longer citizens. It turns people against each other, and countries against each other. Us versus them. Not a good way to live if you want world peace. So, you know, I'm not a huge fan of nationalism.

    Blind love for anything is... blind.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frogsy View Post
    I've always found nationalism (patriotism) to be really disconcerting. This relatively recent movement makes people feel pride to be within certain arbitrary geographical limits. Nationalism is something that makes people feel a sense of pride to have been born through no choice of their own within certain borders. This in turn can make people feel much more ready and willing to put their lives on the line (join the military) and go to war for something that they might not really understand, want, or find value in. Also, nationalism can make it so that the government can treat their citizens very badly, yet their citizens feel happy to be there, still.

    Not to Godwin everyone, but nationalism is one of the biggest reasons for WWII. Germany used and abused nationalism to make people do horrendous things, like slaughter Jews en masse or turn in their own neighbors. One of the ways they accomplished this was through this law, I think the Nuremberg Law, that declared that Jewish people where no longer citizens. It turns people against each other, and countries against each other. Us versus them. Not a good way to live if you want world peace. So, you know, I'm not a huge fan of nationalism.

    Blind love for anything is... blind.
    There's something to be said for taking pride in one's identity. For example, if I write, "I was born _________ through no choice of my own, but I'm proud and happy to be _____________" you could just as easily write ABDL, LGBT, tall, short, American, Australian, or anything else in that blank box.

    I think where the difference comes in is when people stop thinking. Nationalism as in "I'm proud of American values" is fine, maybe even healthy. Nationalism as in "I support bad decisions and even killing others without thinking it through myself" is utterly horrible.

  10. #10

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    Nationalism and patriotism are two different things. Patriotism gets people to improve their country. Nationalism doesn't.

    The difference between Australia and the USA is we have compulsory voting. So when our government is voted in based on basically hating immigrants... it's the majority of the country that wanted it. In fact, it is such an important issue that both the right and what used to be the left both competed on how badly they could treat refugees to win votes. Imagine your democrats being right wing and your republicans being more right wing.
    In the USA it's the majority of the voting population, which means a minority. And we we've fought in every war that the USA has been in since WW1 so any silly thing the USA does is also our shame. Australia is always first to put their hand up.. it doesn't matter why the USA is fighting. As Hilltop Hoods (an aussie hiphop band) said, "We no longer choose sides, we choose sidelines." But I don't think all those wars were bad in terms of humanity. Afghanistan is one of the things I'm not ashamed that my country got involved in... even though it was for the wrong reason. In Afghanistan, pre-invasion, less than 1000 girls went to school. Today, more than 3,000,000 girls go to school. Even though thousands died, thousands more will live due to a better future. (Though soldiers say we needed to stay another 5 years. That way there was an entire generation who had gone through school and university)

    It may be horrible but Guantanamo has no comparison to our camps since Guatmo detainees are thought to be guilty of crimes. Australian refugees are known to have not committed any crime except fleeing their country. (The only Aussie who had been in Guatmo was declared innocent of all charges last week after 5 years imprisonment) The Australian people use language like illegal immigrants or illegal maritime arrivals to try to give it a criminal sound. (In court you aren't allowed to say either of those since they aren't illegal under Australian law)
    The Australian government has over 1000 children in closed detention. A nice was of saying jail. I've been to two of those "detention centres." Can you say "concentration camps?" The majority of these children are in jail for more than 6 months. Some more than a year. Over 100 babies were born there and kept there. Children in some of the detention centres only get 2 weeks of school a year. Out of the 900 or so school age kids, 130 have self-harmed and the majority now have depression. Yet our country cheers it on. Celebrates it like it's a victory for Australia that immigrants now prefer to get raped and die in refugee camps than ask Australia for help. Luckily, a recent deadlock in the government has forced negotiations with the Green party to remove the children from detention. As much as I hate the greens, they are the only lefts left in government.
    On top of children, 2600 adults are also in detention. One was murdered with no investigation. It's suspected it was a Papua New Guinea policeman or a guard meant to protect them. Another one died from an infected cut because the medical care isn't funded properly. Many men are demanding to be taken away by the UN or trying to kill themselves because death is better than being in Australia's concentration camps.
    And yes. I have written many a letter about this. All that has happened is it's become stricter and less humane. Since all this is really bad in terms of international reputation, Australia introduced a law that allows journalists to be jailed for reporting on "secret operations." Australia declared immigration a secret operation. 8 reporters are currently being investigated and face up to 5 years jail. The Australian people don't care about freedom of speech or information.

    And letter writing... letter writing gets you no-where any more. More letters are written to close our concentration camps than for them to be there. Unfortunately, the politicians realise that letters aren't important. That's just the loud minority, not the voting majority. My brother and I were taught to write letters to politicians from the time I was 10. (When I signed up for Amnesty International) My brother was a big advocate for protecting education in Africa and did a lot of work through a charity in trying to secure education aid for UNICEF from the aussie government. Nothing ever happened. He always got these generic letters saying, "Thank you for your opinion. It is of utmost importance.. blah blah blah." In fact, Australia kept withdrawing money from African education. Because Australia doesn't care. My brother feels he did more good in the army than he ever did as a advocate for UNICEF or Amnesty International. His girlfriend, a peace protester, also gave up and now doesn't bother with it. She gave twelve years to protesting refugee rights. Now she does things closer to home that government doesn't touch. If the government doesn't do it, they can't screw it up.
    Politicians know where the votes lie and that's all that matters. Not what is right.

    One thing I have to hold back laughter for in the USA is the Oath of Allegiance. Not out of disrespect, but because it is so alien to most countries to pledge allegiance on a daily basis. I couldn't imagine having to say that every single morning through school and summer camp. I'm pretty sure I've heard it more times than my own national anthem.

    One of the most prominent human rights advocates in Australia has a good quote. Tim Costell - "It's a great blessing, and a terrible curse, that Australian's have never known war." I think something really bad has to happen to Australian's for them to care about human beings again. Ironically, Tim Costello is the CEO for World Vision Australia and his brother was a far right politician who was instrumental in fueling the fires of race hate in Australia in the late 90s.

    Do you know why all these bad things can happen? Australia does not have a bill of rights. We are the only developed country that doesn't officially have rights. That was the main source of my letter writing when I was a teenager.

    Anyway. I've written this after not being able to sleep for 24 hours so I'm going to try sleep again. Nighty night.

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