By Joe Montero
Australia’s army of bigots have jumped on the bandwagon, taking a nine-year old girl, for refusing to stand for the national anthem at school.
“Take her out of school,” demanded Pauline Hanson. He called the girl a “brat.” The sentiment has been shared by an array of politicians and other like-minded bigots.
Kenmore South State School in Brisbane, dishonours itself by moving to punish her.
This is the usual bunch, forever whinging about being denied a voice, and the imposition of the political correctness by the leftists running the placer. Well hello, comrades Scott and Rupert.
The shoe’s actually on the other foot, and the self-righteous indulgers in narrow mindedness, spare no thought for the reason why Harper Nelson made her stand, and they use abuse to, mask their own ignorance.
Harper refused to stand, because she believed that the present national anthem airbrushes the indigenous peoples of Australia out of the country’s history. Who can honestly deny that they are part of our history. If they are, their story should be told as part of our collective memory. This is the real Australia.
A long time ago, I was involved in something like this. A few of us organised a protest during the playing of the anthem at a school assembly. The big difference was that at secondary school, we were a fair bit older.When our plan was put into effect, just every student there turned their back. Like Harper , we did it for a reason. It was Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and conscription.
We had our Pauline Hansons of the day, and they claimed pretty much the same stuff. It turned out the teachers stood right behind us. So did most of the parents and wider community. The anthem was never played in this school again.
More importantly, our action raised some very important issues, and time proved that we were right.
It did not mean that we didn’t care about Australia. On the contrary. We showed that we cared enough to be motivated into speaking out against what we saw to be harming our country in our name. We wanted to be a part of a better Australia, and take a part in making this happen. Harper is very much like we were then.
All the talk about respect and pride in Australia means very little when it is founded on a lie. Wrapping yourself in a flag does not change this. This is a land forged by peoples of different backgrounds and colour. This is what we must respect and be proud about. When we do this, we embrace who we really are, enable ourselves to take on the good, acknowledge and do something about what has been wrong. We make ourselves an even better people in the future.
If our bigots took this on board, they may feel a little less insecure. Their sense of self may not have to depend on insisting on their own superiority and looking down their noses at others.
It took courage and genuine respect for Australia, for Harper Nelson to do what she did. Her parents have good reason to be proud of her. She has set an example for others to follow, and she is generating a flood of support from around Australia.
None of us should ignore an injustice. The taking of this land by force, from those who already lived here was a wrong. Ignoring it compounds the wrong. Those who engage in it show the greatest disrespect for Australia.
This is a nation that we should be proud of, so long as it is for the right reasons. Millions have contributed to our collective achievements. The vehicle has been the ongoing battle for justice and a fair go. As we move to right the wrongs against out indigenous brothers and sisters, we become better for it.
In continuing this, we must take on together, those who would impose on us the stain of hatred and a divided community.