Or when I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.

When did Racism become taboo? Why are we so embarrassed by the fact that there are racists in the world, living amongst us? Why can’t we admit there is a problem.

Australia has flaired up with a debate on ‘nationalism’, which is basically another word for racism. Partiotism is also another word for racism.

The debate revolves around the Sydney Big Day Out Festival discouraging people from bringing Australian Flags into the festival. They point to the violence and racism of last year’s festival, caused by people using the Australian flag as a symbol fo superiority and elitism.

How can I put this bluntly? People with the flag were breaking the noses of people who didn’t.

Australia has been on a downhill slide for a long time. I remember Pauline. The Cronulla Riots. This. Someone could write a fascinating book about the history of racial intolerance in Australia. The White Australia Policy. Villawood. One Nation. Her track record is embarrassing. A lost beacon of the white western world stuck in the middle of nowhere.

I’ve moved out of Australia. For many reasons. I love a lot about Australia. It’s culture, it’s weather, it’s foods, it’s natural beauty. But I don’t miss the people, in general. There is something very wrong there, that something as terrible as the Cronulla Riots can flair up, but we are told it was not an act of racism.

God forbid we admit our problems and deal with it. Instead we put the monster asleep until it wakes again. And it will by a 2 dollar shop Australian Flag when it does.

So why take the flags away at all, if it’s so bad? Because something has to be done and our leaders are either unwilling – or even scarier – unsupportive.

For me, my view of Australia is when I look over Sydney’s Darling Harbour, when I see the some what tacky attempts of modernity, the open air, the beautiful water, and that mad mix of culture. We are right below Asia, we have a strong continental European community, and we are a bright, vibrant diverse face. We are multi-cultural.

Our leaders. I don’t know what they see when they look out, but I don’t think we see the same thing. I really don’t understand how being Australian can be anything but a mix bag of of the many cultures that makes us up.

I’m not missing Australia today. I’m feeling quite embarrassed about being Australian, just days before my first Australia Day abroad in twenty odd years. And I don’t see it getting better.

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