As my favourite ancient Spartan King Agesilaus once said to a man who was amazed at how modest the King and the other Spartans’ cloths and meals were; King Agesilaus replied: ‘Freedom is what we reap from this way of life, my friend.‘
Having said that, I can be forgiven for the title appearing somewhat contradictory and yet at the same time appear strange and sarcastic; if and when applied to subject matter. It will be up to the reader to unravel the yarn I am about to weave.
As we grow, we would like to believe that we hunger for knowledge in order to face the challenges of life and survive the environment that we find ourselves. No matter what ones environment, goodness can still be found amongst the fog of iniquities that attach themselves to an individual. I say an individual meaning a man, woman or child who is or becomes conscious of their surroundings. In each case, the solutions we create in order to survive are learned, observed, imitated or borne out of life’s experiences.
Fear is a great motivator, a manipulator and yes ironically speaking it can also become a tool for learning. Compassion on the hand are also great learning tools that can be used effectively to overcome the power and influence of fear and in doing so, develops an individual’s learning capacity. Fear if not checked or put into perspective can be destructive to learning and development. That is the irony of fear and compassion and one wonders at times whether both can be manipulated using ignorance as tool. In life we are live within the parameters of our society in order that we can lead productive lives, contributing to the nation’s security and the longevity of society as we know it today.
We who live in Australia, can be proud of our achievements and yet judge those of a bygone era by the standards of today. By this I mean we judge those of the past who had a hand in the decimation of the first peoples because of fear and of compassion. When those first settlers found that it was not possible to live side by side amicably, fear and ignorance were the two main drivers that led to the slaughter of out indigenous population. Why this is so and why did it not happen to those who served this nation in uniform. Why is that we who have served alongside our aboriginal and Torres Strait islander brothers felt a certain kinship and brotherhood. The answer is simple and that is because we shared the same values, ethics, morals, hardships and the rigors of discipline in an ordered and closed society.
I used the above as examples to illustrate that we who live in today’s fabric of a multi threaded society still harbour the same fears and compassions as that of those of a bygone era. Every community within our Australian society is bound by the laws and institutions that enables us to live harmoniously with one another, respecting ones beliefs, traditions and lifestyles. Therefore, I would like to believe in the romantic idea that we are a cultured people imbued with the same civilized values and morals one can expected of a developed nation that is seeking to create a homogeneous society despite its many different threads. No matter our origins, I am of the belief that within fifty years, this nation will have created a new people who wish to be known as purely Australian without having to losing their identity with the past.
Fear of the unknown and ignorance of facts must be confronted and replaced by education, enlightenment and the will of its people to live harmoniously together and supporting the laws and instructions of this country we all call home, Australia. If an Australian wishes to fly the Australian flag, let them be, but if an Australian attempts to desecrate the Australian flag, it is a demonstration of ignorance and the acts of drawing attention to themselves based on their own fears of the unknown.
The same can be said of our multicultural threads of society, with its many traditions, faiths, cultures and beliefs, all developing under the Australian sky. Our fears of the Russians over 150 years ago was met by fortifying our shores, our fears of a German invasion were overcome by alliances and being drawn into a World war, our fears of the Chinese during the gold rush days were ill-founded and yet our forbearers conduct was brought into question. The Japanese attempt to invade Australia was met and overcome by all Australians being united against a common foe and in doing so, became one people despite their origins.
Mind you, the hatred against the Japanese is still strong, don’t let anyone fool you. It can be equated to the differences between the Greeks and the Turks, The Nazis and the people of the Jewish faith, ISIS and the Christian world as we know it, the differences amongst the tribes of Africa and those peoples of different races in Asia. Don’t we then in Australia have the right to admit who we want into this country?
I believe we do and no United Nations Charter or European Union accord will change that. We as Australians must stand alone if need be and if isolation from the rest of the world is the answer then so be it. However it is important to note that I am not abrogating for its people to be stopped at the borders from travelling, but merely to monitor, filter and accept only those who will contribute and fit in with this nation’s laws and institutions.
I am not concerned if I am called a racist, for I know in my own heart of hearts that I am not. Had I been alive prior to WW2 and the boat that arrived in Australia, filled with people of the Jewish faith, I would have fought for them to remain in this nation, based on their fear of prosecution in their place of origin, Germany. Those people who were turned away were returned to their deaths by an Australian Government and not the people of Australia. The people of Australia let it be known were willing to see them all settle in the far north of Australia, near the Kimberley’s and thus contribute to the security, welfare and longevity of this nation. Today I find that we are faced with the same ignorance and fear of the unknown, but with one major difference. That difference is that we are far better informed, educated and confident of our position in the world. As such, we have that right to attract those individuals who would embrace our values, morals; ethics and respect our laws and institutions.
As I stated above, I am not a racist, nor a nationalist, but rather just an ordinary bloke who is not afraid of the unknown but supremely confident in the knowledge that we as a nation can rise above the negativity that surrounds us all. I remind readers that I was not even born here and readers would wonder what and why am I championing the paradox of isolationism and the irony of nationalism. I don’t think that it is wrong to believe in a society filled with like-minded people who wish to live a life in relative security, after all we are blessed in being the largest island in the world or for the purists who say we are a continent. Remember that we do live below the largest population of those who are of the Muslim faith and yet we live in relative harmony respecting one another’s sovereignty. I wonder whether the fear pundits will create a new diversion and manipulate the masses of a Chinese invasion because of China’s developing power as a great nation. I hope not.
Yes ignorance can be an ironic paradox of facts, but only if we allow it to happen. Our politicians are ordinary people just like the individual in the street and the only difference between us and them is that they have been elected to serve us the people and to safe guard our interests and that of the nation. These same politicians are also prone to making errors of judgement and in some cases those errors ae not always in the interest of the nation but only go to serve the interests of the few. I for one who has been a political activist for the past 26 years, laugh every time we have an election. I do so because of the Janus complexities of our political masters so to speak and the political pork barrelling that we are fed in order to attract our vote.
I failed to vote at the last Federal election, not out disgust or protest, but rather because I was conducting a political campaign and was unable to get way to vote. On reflection, I don’t have any emotions of regret because the Australian people sent a clear message to the winner and losers advising them of their displeasure. Does that make me a bad person, I don’t think so; I will pay my fine and get it over and done with. That’s the Australian way. No bitching or complaining about it for that is life. We as a people have in our hands the means to create our own destiny in this global world of new and emerging technologies and to do that we must provide the best education we can to our people.
I for one believe that all education should be free up the University level, the Bachelor degree. After that, individuals should pay for higher learning at their own expense. Why not may I ask? Fear and ignorance can be eradicated and we as a nation would have created a people who are not afraid of change and things that appear alien to our way of life. Is it not right the saying of that ancient King of Sparta that ‘Freedom is what we reap from this way of life, my friend.‘
As always, apologies to purists for my poor grammar and savagery of the English language. I wish you all well and hope that this article does not cause ambiguity in the minds of those who read it well.
Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Social Media Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum. He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News. He holds a Bachelor of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Contact via Email: [email protected]