Monday, January 30, 2006

Human(e)

Last night I lay awake thinking of something that a friend of mine has written in another blog - something that has been on my mind for a long time, but dont really know how to express. He titled his blog Nationalism = Racism? - and I dont think he was too far from the truth. It has bothered me since living here that humans are being treated less and less like humans, and more like objects. I dont know why, (well, actually I do, but thats not the point) but since I am Australian, I may live in Belgium for 10 years, and still not have any rights. But if I came from Spain, moved to Belgium, didnt learn a word of French or Dutch, I would still have more rights. But then, if my eyes were darker, my skin a lovely tint of chocolate, my hair darker, and my father's name was Ahmed, then I would have absolutely no chance at life. Even if I was born here. Sound familiar? What really gets my goat is that I have also been brought up in a land which treats people similarly. Why are some lives more valuable than others? Why am I constantly having to prove who I am? I pay taxes, I go to language school, I intergrate with the society here (and I am probably one of the lazier ones), and still constantly am regarded as foreign and stupid. And then I tell myself 'Im Australian, and happy to be', but am I really? I know that when we go to Australia, Tom will endure exactly the same routine. JUST BECAUSE he was born in another corner of the planet. The thing is - there appears to be nothing anyone can do, but sit back and watch as it all becomes worse. Reassuring hey?

2 comments:

Nick said...

Couldn't have put it better myself. But why do we see it like that? Why don't other people? How can we help others to look at the world as a whole and not a subdivided set of competing interests?

I hope the climb out of the post-holiday low is going well. I'm still dragging myself out....

Mum said...

I disagree re Tom experiencing the same in Ausralia as you are in Belgium. Australians are a melting pot of many different nationalities. Most can only go back a few generations max who were actually born in Australia. Belgians can trace back many more! I know there are Australians who are racist but in general I believe most are very welcoming to people from Northern European counries. There are also many people who have been born overseas who have gained prominent positions in our society. Think of the head of Telstra; don't ask me to spell his name but he's from USA of Mexican background; David Hill, former head of the ABC who was sent out from England along with other children during WWII to live in orphanages here; Jana Wendt whose family were WWII refugees plus many more. Don't know whether people like those would have gained prominence if they had gone to Belgium. I work with people who came from Europe and when they went to school here couldn't speak English but now they are true blue Aussies. All you have to do is look at the sirnames of students on a roll to see that the name Smith is a rarity these days and Schweikert, Neyenhuis and Fattore are quite common. My point is that I think you being accepted in Belgium is more difficult than what Tom should experience here.