Tim Longhurst's Blog

PART TWO: An email I sent to some friends about recent violence in Sydney

December 19th, 2005 · No Comments

After a group of angry brown Australians beat up lifesavers…
After a group of angry white Australians beat up anyone who didn’t look like them…

It’s time we thought about where we all come from and where we’re going.

So, how can we all get along?

It doesn’t matter if you believe in evolution or creationism, both state that we all came from a single origin.

That means we’re all family. Every one of us. On a big enough family tree, everyone reading this email is family.

In fact, on a big enough family tree, we’re all related to George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, Mother Theresa and Gandhi.

Some Aussies have their roots in Australia dating back over 40 000 years, but most of us are from families that only arrived in the past 200 years. We’re from all over the world. We have different skin-colours, religions, politics and beliefs, but our respect for each other outweighs those differences. We all want to live in a world where we feel welcome, included and part of the community.

The fact that some of us arrived here earlier than others is almost entirely luck. No one gets to choose where they are born or the language they are educated to speak.

So let’s work out how we can create a country where everyone feels safe, respected and included.

People deserve to feel safe and secure – no matter what they’re wearing (bikinis or headscarves) and regardless of their cultural background. The vast majority of Australians are kind and respectful to each other every day.

Australians are free to celebrate or observe Christmas, Hanukkah, Rohatsu, Ramadan, Kwanzaa or Yule (or all of them …or none of them!)… It’s our inclusive nature that makes Australia work.

There is a day at the beach being organised by me and some friends early in 2006. We’re calling it PEACEBAKE. (http://www.peacebake.com/) we want to showcase that for the vast majority of Australians, this is a country where people get along. Australians from all over will come together to demonstrate that what we have in common is bigger than what sets us apart. If you like the idea of talking, laughing or just hanging out with people who want to live in a community that gets along, you’re invited.



PS. I’ll leave you with a story: A grandfather is talking to his grandson, and he is telling the boy about the two dingos competing for his heart. One dingo is driven by fear and hate, the other is driven by hope and love. The boy asks his grandfather, “Which dingo will win the battle for my heart?”. The old man advises the boy, “Whichever one you feed.”.

There are quite a few emails talking about Australia’s potential at the moment. Feel free to forward this one to your family and friends if you think they’d get something out of it.

[Editor’s note: Peacebake.com is no longer a live website so we’ve removed the link.]

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Category: Peace between people

PART ONE: Our Country – YOU Have the right – the right to leave!

December 19th, 2005 · 2 Comments

I received an email this morning… It’s posted below, with my commentary:

Our Country – YOU Have the right – the right to leave ! After Sydney not wanting to offend other cultures by putting up Xmas lights.

Do you remember that Telegraph beat-up back in 2004, when Sydney’s council increased the Christmas budget but spent the extra money on food hampers for disadvantaged locals rather than lights? Man Sydney’s businesses were outraged – it was like the mayor had forgotten the real spirit of Christmas – shopping! There was still a massive Christmas tree in Martin Place… Not sure ‘offending other cultures’ was on the agenda at all?

After hearing that the State of South Australia changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her driver’s license with her face covered.

This NEVER HAPPENED. That is just made up. In fact, when I searched for this story, I discovered this whole email is a rip-off of a similar email about America. They just changed “Florida” to “South Australia”.

This prompted this editorial written by an Australian citizen. Published in an Australian newspaper.

I searched Google News to no avail. The American version of this email said it was published in a US newspaper.

Quote: IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.

Patriotism? Great. Here are some great quotes on patriotism if you want to talk about that.

However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the “politically correct” crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.

This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle.

In truth, Australia’s identity, culture and society is about respecting others, no matter their background. That’s what a “fair go” is.

This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

Actually, our culture developed over 40 000 years. It’s been influenced by new arrivals of all cultures ever since.

We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, Learn the language!

Many of us are bi-lingual, and that’s great because it increases our connections with people all over the world. Some Aussies haven’t perfected English yet because they’re relatively new or because it’s damn hard to learn a new language. But fortunately the language of warmth, openness and friendship is universal.

“In God We Trust” is our National Motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, Because God is part of our culture.

Actually, that’s America’s motto. Australia doesn’t have a motto. And Australia wasn’t ‘founded by Christians’, it was inhabited by Aborigines.

If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don’t like ” A Fair Go”, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.

I have never met someone who was offended by the Southern Cross OR the concept of “a fair go”. But whoever wrote this obviously doesn’t give people a fair go.

We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, And we really don’t care how you did things where you came from.

Yeah. We don’t need stuff that comes from overseas, like electricity or television or cars or computers. We’re fine without the internet and we’d rather not know about your tasty foods and entertaining music and stories.

This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our National Motto, or Our Way of Life,

We still don’t have a motto and we don’t have a pledge either. Our way of life is evolving and no one I know wants to freeze “a way of life” and only do things one way. Most Australians are broad-minded and it is our openness that improved the richness of our lives.

I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, “THE RIGHT TO LEAVE”.

If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted. Pretty easy really, when you think about it.

How about the right to enjoy life without being told you’re not welcome because you won’t make a pledge that doesn’t exist.

I figure if we all keep passing this to our friends (and enemies) it will also, sooner or later get back to the complainers, lets all try, please. No matter how many times you receive it… please forward it to all you know.

A special thank you to everyone who got this and hit delete!

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Category: Peace between people

Sydney Morning Herald – Harmony wrap-up

December 18th, 2005 · No Comments

Here’s the Sydney Morning Herald take on yesterday’s events:
Out in force to foster harmony.

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Harmony in the Park – wrap up

December 18th, 2005 · No Comments

hitpcrowd_1.jpgTo the more than 1000 people who demonstrated that Sydney is a city where people get along, thank you. To all the guys who made Harmony in the Park a success, well done.

The music was one of the best parts of the afternoon. Song after song reminded us that “we’re all in this together” and that “we just want to be loved”.

My t-shirt was signed by people from all different backgrounds, but we laughed and joked together, as people mingled and others just relaxed with their families in the sun.

People told me they were looking forward to Peacebake: another opportunity to get together with people from all over Sydney to just hang out and get along. In the New Year, when the sand settles, we’ll work out a date.

For Harmony in the Park, I have Kol, Mahesh, Mat, Matt, Michael, Rishi and a swag of others to congratulate for the event’s success.

PEACEBAKE is going to be a LOT of fun.

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Category: Peace between people