Sunday, September 18, 2011

Singing hypocricy

On Friday I attended my child's School Assembly.
Wow! They've changed a lot since I was a kid! The Children are actually involved in running the school assembly, there are awards, and performances and it's heaps of fun. The principal still addresses school discipline issues but there is an amazing amount of collaborative work involving the kids as well.

Anyway I'm straying from the issue I wanted to raise. During school assemblies, everyone stands to sing the National Anthem. I have to admit I haven't even heard it for years, we used to sing God Save the Queen.
We did sing Advance Australia Fair during my last years at school but... well... I wasn't there that often! I don't recall ever going past the first verse anyway. I am sure I've heard it before but a lot has changed in this country since I heard it!

So we're standing at attention... I sing heartily for the first verse... then "La da di da da da dada, da da de da da daaaaaaa" (I tried to keep the tune but didn't really have a chance so I just shut up and listened!)

And was horrified to hear these words...

"...For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair..."

I don't often think of myself as a particularly patriotic person, I tend to oscillate between various states of mind when it comes to the role of obtrusive political systems, Governments, nations etc... For practical purposes though I do understand and respect the role of nationhood. The Laws, and the significance of documents such as our constitution, a flag under which we might affiliate and an anthem which reflects the spirit of the people of the land we belong to. I get why we might need such things as a means of cooperating and unifying etc... These are the structures that allow us as individuals to align ourselves with our countrymen under a code of honour of sorts. We respect the basic tenets of our society. And that's why Constitutional Law is taken so seriously, or to deface a National Flag is considered to be extremely offensive.

So how is it that we have allowed our Government to pervert the laws of our land to such an extent that they can change them whenever the law does not suit their own agenda, in this case their anti Refugee Policies?

If Nationhood means anything. If it is expected that we, as free thinking individuals, should willingly stand in obedience to the symbols of our nation and sing a National Anthem; then surely the words contained in this song must have meaning!

As I watched my child proudly singing I felt a deep sense of shame! We have sold our children a lie and they are loyally singing it to us in their morning devotions! Whatever shall we do about this terrible treachery?

Change the National Anthem?

"For those who come across the seas...
We've not a crumb to spare.
Steel bars and razor wire,
are all, that you'll, find there!"
If I advise the School that I do not want my child to sing the National Anthem it is not because I don't love my country! It is because I cannot bear the thought that our children are being used to propagate a myth!


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