Monday, January 26, 2015

I am, You are, We are...?

Its a tricky thing living in a multi cultural society sometimes. But not because of the glorious shades of colour in humans, languages, foods and cultures of the difference in people that surround us, but because of the sometimes very deep rooted sentiments and prejudices that exist in a country or are brought over by those now calling said country home.

I was born in one of the most beautiful countries on this earth, Australia. My family hail from everywhere, so I guess in many ways I am the quintessential ideal of what an "Australian" really means. I have friends that have ancestors that walked the plains of Australia for 60,000 years before me and many others whose families have escaped the persecution of wars that have been ravaging this world since the dawn of time.

I have been blessed to witness Corroborees, learnt from an elder how to throw a boomerang and grew up with the sounds of many different languages dancing in my ears as well as eating the delicious foods of Europe, South America, Asia and Africa all thanks to my friends and family. To say I have been blessed is the ultimate understatement.

Is my country any different from any other that exists in the 21st century? Yes and No. Is there inequality? Sure. Is there racism? Sure. But I will say this, having travelled the world now and residing in a country that has more struggles than most in this world, I am grateful that those negative points I mentioned above are able to be spoken about, discussed, argued, disagreed and agreed with. That people in Australia have the right to voice their opinions, no matter how right or completely absurd those opinions may be. Do I wish that things like inequality and racism were non existent? 100%. Do I wish that the people who roamed the lands of Australia were given more respect and we all lived together in harmony. That goes with out saying.

I know for some that Australia day is a time for reflection and injustices and for others its a celebration of living in a free society, free of war and persecution, but I also believe that as Australians we need to really start looking toward the future, working together and stop looking at the differences in each other and finding what it is that truly connects us all. All of us.

This last year in Brazil has shown me that looking for the positives in life, not dwelling on the things we have no control over changing and bringing our children up with clear minds, free of the prejudices of our ancestors, is what will truly make for a cohesive and equal society. Its an ideal, I know, but as Mahatma Gandhi  so famously said "Be the change that YOU want to see in the world."

How ever you choose to celebrate this day or not, is up to you but I know that I am so lucky to know each and everyone of you and not for one second do I take that for granted or will I  forget to take a moment to reflect on the people that first walked the lands of Australia and pay my respects to them. Travelling the world has been the best experience of my life and one that has truly given me a new found love and respect for the country that I was so fortunate to be born in, Australia.