Often when a European or American finds out I am from Australia they'll comment about how much they like Australia. Countless times in Belgium I've heard, "Australia is the perfect country, I can't imagine why anyone would prefer to move to Belgium". Or from people who have visited Australia - "oh, I had such a great time in Australia, Australians are so friendly!". I find this difficult to take. Yes, Australians are typically very outgoing, you'll be invited to a BBQ at an Australian's house far sooner than you would be invited to dinner at a Belgian's. But friendliness is different to kindness. Australians as a people are not kind. Our country was founded on cruelty, and as an Australian you have to deliberately blind yourself to avoid seeing the cruelty today. The Aboriginal people are right to call January 26th "Invasion Day" or "Survival Day". For 200 years Australia has been intent on breaking them. They can be proud to have survived, but we cannot be proud to celebrate our unremitting war against them. Or how about the disgusting way Australia treats refugees, housed in concentration camps for year after year, children growing up behind bars without hope. Are we a people so cruel as to not have a heart at all? Or have we merely trained ourselves to close our eyes and shut off our hearts?
Perhaps on January 26th, my non-Australian friends can take the time to listen to the forgotten Australians. Then shame us until we listen to them as well.