Australia Day — No time to celebrate

Sunday, January 23, 2011
Photo: Powerhousemuseum.com

Australia Day is traditionally the most racist day of the year for Aboriginal people.

When people celebrate on January 26, there is no escaping the fact they are celebrating the day that one race of people invaded another race of people’s country and took control of Aboriginal lands and tried to dominate Aboriginal people.

Invasion Day, as it should be called, celebrates the dispossession of land, culture, and way of life of Aborigines.

Aborigines and members of the wider community should not allow this to continue. Otherwise we are saying that it was ok to try to destroy the Aboriginal way of life, to murder Aborigines and to attempt cultural genocide.

True reconciliation cannot be achieved and a just society cannot be built if we continue to celebrate the gains of one race at the expense of another.

Invasion Day is a day to remember the wrongs that were committed against Aborigines, a day to remember the injustices forced upon one race of human beings by another.

This is no day for celebrating; it’s a day for mourning, a time to reflect, and a time to steel ourselves for the ongoing battle for a better society.

[Jay McDonald is an activist with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Launceston.]

From GLW issue 865