The Australian Government will never accept the term "Invasion Day" as it doesn't align with their White supremacy agenda, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.
ANOTHER YEAR, another 26 January, another battle in the ongoing culture wars that surround what some like to describe as our “national day” — Australia Day. Others prefer to use the term “Invasion Day”. The ABC attempted for about 24 hours to use both terms until it was attacked by the Federal Government and as a result of that attack, removed “Invasion Day” from its headlines.
The LNP Government led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison does not wish to acknowledge the consequences of the arrival of White colonisers on First Nations people. “Invasion Day” does not suit their narrative.
The Federal Government is unwilling to allow any story other than its own to be officially told about the White invasion of this country.
The two names given to the one day serve as metonyms: they contain within them the entire, awful story of colonisation and the long-term destruction it brings to the colonised. Australia Day celebrates that White colonisation. Invasion Day recognises the grief and anger of First Nations people at the suffering, loss and slaughter their people endured and continue to endure.
The LNP and their supporters love these history wars. They love the discord they provoke. They love the division they create. They want and need this annual opportunity to dog-whistle their racism and their White supremacist ideology. These sentiments appeal to their discontented base, shore up votes, encourage what they consider to be patriotism. LNP patriotism, however, is not inclusive, as true patriotism must be. You cannot claim to include in your idea of nation those citizens whose history you refuse to acknowledge. To deny someone’s history is to deny their humanity.
Patriotism, claimed Samuel Johnson in 1775, is the last refuge of the scoundrel and interestingly, Johnson wasn’t referring to patriotism in general, but the co-option of the concept by self-professed patriots for their own purposes. He could have been speaking about the current Australian Federal Government, co-opting the notion of patriotism for its own purposes, refusing the possibility of inclusion unless any story other than that approved by government is relinquished, sacrificed, silenced.
While this never-ending war might exhaust First Nations people and their allies, it nourishes the LNP. It provides them with a unique opportunity to perform their nationalism, to celebrate the brute supremacy of those men who took this continent for their own. Supremacy is nothing if it can’t be celebrated, if it can’t be remembered, if it can’t be glorified. Supremacy is nothing if it can’t be continually asserted. It’s the nature of the beast that its victory must be re-enacted and that in every re-enactment, other voices and other stories must be subjugated anew, for to do anything else is to concede and supremacy never concedes.
No thinking person with heart can celebrate the invasion of this country on Australia Day.
Dr Jennifer Wilson is an IA columnist, a psychotherapist and academic. You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @NoPlaceForSheep.
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