Hey Australia, I’m Not Okay.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve had to write a post like this. I hope and pray that it is the last but I’m not that naive.
I’m the one who’s always making a joke, always up for a bit of fun and general silliness but I can’t make jokes about this because it’s tearing my heart in two. Every ounce of my being aches as I write these words, as I think about the state of the world that we’re living in today.
As I write this, we’re in the midst of a controversy in which media personality Sonia Kruger, after stating that she had “a lot of good friends who are Muslim” went on to state that, in regards to the immigration of Muslim people in Australia that “I would like to see it stop”.

Sonia-Kruger
Image via: https://newmatilda.com/2016/07/18/today-show-host-invokes-dead-child-to-call-for-muslim-immigration-ban/

I know that I’m not the only one who is commenting on this and of course Sonia isn’t the first person in a position of power to voice this view.
In the fall out to all of this, I’ve seen countless people on my Facebook feed share updates supporting the comments made by Kruger and to those people I say, delete me if you must, and ignore my views if you will. Should you choose to agree with the opinion of someone so clearly ignorant then I don’t want or need you in my life.
It’s tough enough making it through the day without being reminded that there are selfish, cold hearted individuals living along side me. This is one of the very few things that I wish I could be ignorant to.
The crazy thing is though, I was originally motivated to write this a few days ago, by a completely different situation, but thought that I’d sit on it and let myself calm down before I got behind the key board. Guess what? I stayed away and somehow I ended up even angrier. It all started on Saturday. I’ve been having a bit of a tough time, feeling a bit blue and everything was starting to feel a little overwhelming – basically the realities of modern society. I decided to take some ‘me time’, to get a massage to try and unwind. It was a solid ¾ of the way through the treatment and I was finally starting to feel somewhat relaxed when I heard a woman chatting in the room next door. In the typical manner that middle aged white women seem to address anyone from a background not the same as theirs, she was patronising the massage therapist – but in the sweetest way possible (the kind of way that you just pass her attitude off as result of her generation) however things turned nasty -she said something that enraged me beyond belief. She began talking about the Bastille Day terror attack in Nice. She explained that “in the Quran it says that good Muslims must kill all non believers, which is why we really shouldn’t be so welcoming of their kind”.
WHAT? Now I am of course supportive of free speech (but certainly not in the way that “we cry FREEDOM OF SPEECH” kinda people are) however I just wanted to scream SHUT UP SHUT UP. IT’S IGNORANT, UNEDUCATED PEOPLE LIKE YOU THAT MAKE THIS WORLD DIFFICULT TO LIVE IN SO JUST SHUT IT ON UP.

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Here’s a heap of my friends in Turkey, I’m one of the blonde ones – yes there were questionable hair styles…

 

I am SICK to death of the ignorance and prejudice that is running rife in this country. A year ago, I was verbally and physically attacked for wearing a scarf on my head to cover my hair from the rain, so I can’t imagine how my friends, from all manner of backgrounds face the day in a nation where things like this are just brushed off as ‘freedom of speech’.  When someone can preface a hateful comment by saying ‘It’s okay, I’ve got *insert target minority de jour* friends” and think that it’s okay to behave in such abhorrent ways, then something is inherently wrong in the world that we’re living in.
I’ve been closely following social media accounts of my friends (yes, friends, people who I know personally and share incredibly special memories with) living in Turkey. Living in true uncertainty. These are my friends and I would never, ever dream of grouping them with extremists based on their religion. Because they are my friends, I know that in many ways they are just like me. They want the best life they can have for themselves, they have hopes and dreams. Since I first met them, they have become artists, musicians, nurses and police officers. We went out dancing together at night, discussed upbringings and beliefs and shared many meals. That is what you do with a friend Sonia, you don’t assume things about them and you certainly do not use them as a scapegoat for your ignorant opinions. You learn from them and you become a better person for opening your mind to a world beyond that in which you reside.

 

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Out, drinking, dancing, having fun in a secular nation that happens to have a 98% Muslim population. Though it was a different, safer time than it is now, I never felt endangered just because of the religion of the people I was with. Anyone who thinks you should needs a serious wake-up call.

A friend of me has a child who is being raised by herself and her former partner. Her former partner follows the religion of Islam and therefore their child is being brought up with both Islamic beliefs and those held by my friend – which are probably as “dinky-die Aussie” as you can imagine. To some, it probably sounds like an interesting mix but it works and I can’t sing the praises of this kid enough – she’s an absolute champion. But I can’t imagine having to explain to her that she lives in a country where she might have to learn to defend her very identity. That would hurt.

Sonia Kruger said that “I want to feel safe and see freedom of speech”, Sonia, I want my friends to feel safe, I want my mates beautiful little kid to not have to learn defensive mechanisms to get through life and I want those escaping horrors that you will never ever be able to truly comprehend to come here, to a safe place.

It’s never going to be an easy ride but if we throw hate out the window it sure as hell is going to be a lot less bumpy. Why not start by chatting to someone whose life is inherently different from your own – and talk to them like the equal that they are, shit, you might actually learn something.

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5 thoughts on “Hey Australia, I’m Not Okay.

  1. Todd Cox

    Well said Alicia.
    I am forever voicing my opinion to the people that are uneducated about Islam.
    Heated arguments at times.
    But I stand firm in the truth.
    Raising our girl to be the best person she can be is all we can ask of ourselves. To be informed on how racist the world is.
    But to have knowledge is the power to have.
    My father in law is from Turkey with all his family still living there. What a terrible thing that we a can’t do anything about it from here besides send prayers their way.

    Be the best person one can be.
    Spread happiness and smiles.

  2. Ron Tishler

    Alicia, if it’s any comfort only 4 % of Australians voted for Pauline Hanson, and her grab bag of Islamophobic thought bubbles in the recent election and she and Kruger cannot speak for “all Australians” as they so often claim.The irritating thing about both Hansen and Kruger, and other racist commentators is that when they are called out for their racist views they say that is an attack on their free speech – hello ladies free speech is a two-way street and those who call you out are only expressing their own right of reply.
    Saying “I’m not racist but …” before making a racist comment doesn’t make it immune from criticism or absolve you of responsibility for your words.

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