Monday, December 12, 2005

Sphincter says what?

I'm sorry? What did you say, John Howard?
Australia is not a racist nation?

I think we have another nominee for the GW "Delusional World Leaders Hall of Fame".
If Australia has "no underlying racism", then there are gigantic piles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons lining the streets of Baghdad, inmates at Guantanamo Bay are read bedtime stories by the US army and tucked into bed at night by Condoleeza Rice, Schwarznegger has a PhD in economics, and I'm a middle aged black man.

I mean really, John. This from the country where I learned more racist slurs than any other place I have lived? Where up until the mid 1970s it was still not a crime to kill an Aborigine in some states? Where your houses of government are almost exclusively white, in a country with more ethnic diversity than any place I've seen? Where Pauline Hanson developed a following? Where your government rounds up refugees and places them in concentration camps in the desert? (can you say Woomera?)

Don't get me wrong, I lived there for two years and had a wonderful time (except for when I burnt my hand at work one day, but thats an entirely different story). I have some good friends who are Australian, the lifestyle was great, and there are a gazillion positive things about Australia (cricket team notwithstanding). And I know NZ is far from perfect, despite my usual protestations to the contrary.
But to say that there is not a problem of underlying racism in Australia is equivalent to staring down an oncoming tsunami and claiming that its just a bit of rough weather.

Problems don't go away by denying their existence. I would hope the people who run this world have moved beyond the stage my very small niece is at where she covers her eyes to make things go away.
Problems are resolved by acknowledging them, staring them in the face, understanding them, and addressing them head on.

And here endeth the rant.
Bring it on.