Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Musing: national identity

Australians are funny people. Our national identity is wrapped up in strange things.

  • A song about a sheep-stealing vagabond (Waltzing Matilda).
  • A poem about retrieving a runaway horse (The Man From Snowy River).
  • A battle which was a disaster right from the planning stages (Gallipoli).
  • Genocidal convicts and exile-soldiers (the initial colonization - and the deliberate killing of many Koori* & other indigenous Australian people).
  • The very indigenous Australians our ancestors tried so hard to either wipe out or 'teach civilised habits' to.
  • Farmers and other workers in the Outback, despite the fact that most of us are urban coast-dwellers.

Sometimes I don't understand my own culture. We're weird.

* Koori is a term many of the indigenous Australians from the south-east accept as an umbrella term for those of their tribes. I am told that variations on the word mean 'people' in most of the languages south-eastern Australian indigenous languages.

1 comment:

Skitty said...

Although, when you think about it, lots of cultures have a similar weirdness, in that their nationalistic stuff (and therefore identity) is based on this-or-that war, or invading some other country. National Anthems are full of gore! (but you're right, fewer sheep). And I've always thought it funny that lots of national dress...es are just what the peasants wore in the country 100-200 years ago...so totally irrelevant to all of us city dwelling moderners? :)