The citizenship booklet says that Australia has three official flags. There’s the one Howard is quite happy to see used as a symbol of race riots at Cronulla. He refused to condemn anyone using this flag, even if it involved getting pissed and stoned and screaming “F#ck the Lebs! F#ck the wogs!!”
But what would Howard think of people sing the other two official flags – those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians respectively – being used for such a purpose? Was Howard a happy camper when Cathy Freeman donned the Aboriginal flag after winning her race at the 1994 Commonwealth Games?
Howard has been quite happy to use his favourite cultural symbols as political wedges to divide Australians. He’s quite happy to marginalise one group for not integrating and not abiding by his nebulous “Australian values”. Yet his government is quite happy to provide special favours to other (often white Anglo) groups whose ongoing record in integration is much worse.
Yet Howard’s use of symbols has been repeatedly shown in Crikey to be based on historical mythology and ignorance. Remember his response to the artist who portrayed the Virgin Mary wearing a face-veil?
I spent much of last weekend watching Melbourne’s newest funny-man Aamer Rahman and his colleagues perform Fear Of A Brown Planet at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Much of Rahman’s act involved using ‘reverse’ racism. Here's a taste ...
I ask you white people this question – what’s your problem? Always complaining about others. Muslims trying to kill me. Refugees taking my job. And I love this one. Aboriginals have a drinking problem. Yeah, right. Any nation that can turn a beach barbecue into a neo-Nazi rally in a few hours has no right to complain about other people’s drinking!
Sometimes comedy can be used to express uncomfortable truths …
Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf