Tuesday 28 January 2014

Advance Australia fair

Well another Australia day has come and gone, and it has made me think of a couple things. There was a lot of Australian pride on display out and about. I am proud to be Australian, but I think our patriotism is moving towards Jingoism, towards aggressive stop the boats, keep em in Indonesian waters attitudes. What's next getting our kids to stand, hand on heart every day reciting a pledge of our undying narrow-minded love for Australia. I can see it now, Teacher: Lets all stand to say the Australian pledge of allegiance. Students: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie... OI, OI, OI.

I usually think of Socrates when I see people adorned in the Australian flag, or the boxing kangaroo. Socrates supposedly said said "I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world", I think we need to remember that, and try and tear down the barriers of nationality.

The second thing I was thinking of is related to the first, a particular member of Sydney atheists is an "illegal" refugee, meaning they came here after not being able to get to the embassy in their home country to apply to refugee status. This person is extremely intelligent, fast becoming very articulate in English and would be an enormous asset to this country. However there is no precedent for leaving your home country due to non-belief... sure if you believe differently to your home country then you are welcome here, even if you have no intention of contributing to society or integrating. But surely non-believers could just fake it right? Forget about the possible punishments in some of these countries if your non-belief is found out, or you show any sign of independent and rational thought...

Then while I was thinking of what could possibly done to help this person and many others that are out there I hear the oft unheard second verse of our national anthem and the below bars stuck out at me;

"For those who've come across the seas, We've boundless plains to share"

Maybe we need to change those lines...
Maybe we need to actually evaluate peoples cases a bit better and keep up on current reasons for refugees, it won't be long before we have homosexual refugees fleeing Russia's draconian homophobic laws, and non-believing refugees from the Middle Eastern, European, and African theocracies. As the aforementioned persons case is a tenuous one, I have spared details. But perhaps if everyone could write their local member, write the newspapers and let them know that non-believers are being persecuted and are likely to come here as refugees, then maybe awareness can be raised and this is the last time we lose someone who is not just a nice person, but would be a boon for any country.