Forgive me, but I have an issue with the indigenous support chant, that which acknowledges the land of Australia to be owned by the original people: “Always was, Always will be Aboriginal Land“.
I can see the complaints pouring in already. How dare I, a British Expatriate who has chosen to live in a country stolen by my ancestors, have the audacity to challenge the traditional owners of this land? Don’t I know what they’ve been through?
Well it’s time people stopped hiding behind political correctness and acknowledge the ugly truth. Discrimination – against and for, is still discrimination. We are differentiating between people who have thousands of years of ancestors from this land and people who may only have one or two generations. By doing this we are once again discriminating against people for things they had no control over.
The problems of society which this site discusses in depth, are actually more pressing than an historical grudge – and they affect everyone.
We can respect and express gratitude to the indigenous ancestors for taking care of the land, but to acknowledge “ownership” of it legitimises a paradigm which is outdated and dangerous. This planet is the common heritage of everyone, we’re all born here. These borders – these lines of division – are nothing but imaginary constructs; a throwback to the days of pre-industrialised resource scarcity, to animal territorial-ism. Nobody has a right to lay claim to a specific area – especially not based on such a detached concept as the location of their birth. Acknowledging ‘owners’ of land is a form of nationalism – and is therefore racist and dividing.
Yes this land was taken over by Europeans and the indigenous people were treated terribly. But to dwell on these atrocities of the past is to acknowledge a “them and us”, which is not only a perpetuation of discrimination but also an excuse for further hate and resentment. This is simply not acceptable in a civilised society, no matter how legitimate the reason.
So how do I justify my own situation, given that I chose to live here? For this I make no excuses. I am a citizen of the Earth – a human being – and this planet is my home. I don’t ‘belong’ to any country and no country belongs to me. This is the case for everyone. Patriotism is just an idea. It doesn’t exist in the natural world – only in your head.
If we were all to acknowledge this, national barriers would disintegrate and a world of cooperation could emerge.
“Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for…” – John Lennon
Yes of course this sounds idealistic, given the cultural and political differences between nations. But it’s not culture that I wish to normalise in this desire for a unified planet. In fact it’s important, as we break down national barriers, that we strive to maintain the beautiful, rich, cultural diversity that we have built over centuries. We don’t have to destroy this and all become the same, flattening the cultural landscape. We can integrate all cultures – or ignore them – this is our choice – but it needn’t effect our eradication of nationalism.
“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” – Cesar Chavez
“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.” - Gene Roddenberry, writer of Star Trek: The Next Generation
We need to differentiate these cultural lines from true, logistical ones. What’s important for our survival and the realisation of human potential is not our differences – but our similarities.
Therefore the problems we need to address from a planetary perspective are not economic differences, artificial trade rules, or “legal entities”, but our management of resources, in respect to the welfare of all sentient beings. Our needs are real. Our social and ecological problems are real. Our time, our labour, and our suffering, is real. Our nationality is not.
We need to focus on stewarding our planet to be sustainable for all of us, forever. The only way to do this is to develop systems to help us continually realise our interconnection, managing the earth as a single system – not a collection of competing entities. If not, we continue to risk consequences of detriment to each other.
The Internet has shown us in a very short time the irrelevance of location while simultaneously exposing us all to our planet’s rich cultural variety. Today children are growing up without the barriers we adults took for granted and this is wonderful. Now, the concept of countries and nation states is as obsolete as homophobia – sadly it still exists, but only because of the backward mentality of a dying breed. It’s an irrelevant belief, it has no bearing on our survival or prosperity as a species – and if anything, it directly threatens us.
One would hope that most indigenous people will now see that it’s not them vs whites, it’s not even us vs the rich. It’s all of us vs a broken capitalist system that allows the perpetuation of an destructive ruling class. It’s us vs this system which rewards accumulation, acknowledges higher authority, and destroys our habitat with no conscience. This is a system of which we are all victim and one which we must cast off the falsely imposed segregation of the past, and come together to eradicate.
“The old appeals to racial sexual religious chauvinism and to rabid nationalist fervor are beginning not to work. A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism, and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet.” – Carl Sagan