Australian nationalism spews forth selective sorrow

If the $400 million Gallipo-fest wasn’t enough gut churning oi-oi-oi for ya, we now have a tsunami of selective sorrow and outrage for Australians executed in Indonesia. There’s no part of all this that isn’t sickening.

The nationalism that has made so many people glorify the ANZAC imperialist disaster that John Pilger rightly calls a death cult also has people suddenly feeling something for two of the hundreds murdered by ruling classes around the world each year… because they’re special: they’re Australian.

Hundreds of thousands of words have been written about the barbaric Indonesian state murders of two Australian citizens, humanising the victims through extensive coverage of their lives, their backgrounds, their families, the government’s diplomatic attempts to save them etc (check out even the Guardian’s archive). There is almost universal condemnation of the death penalty, the Sydney Morning Herald editorial going so far as to state that “Opposition to the death penalty is a moral absolute“. Holy shit, even Barnaby Joyce has called for a broader discussion on the issue.

Of course, in a sane world, one should rightly expect this sort of outrage and feeling… but for all of the 99%, not just the 0.3% of the 99% who are Australian citizens.

You might recall what happened in the wake of the Bali bombings; things haven’t always been quite so black and white on the Indonesian state murdering people have they? A Bulletin poll in 2005 showed a majority of Australians supporting capital punishment, while the ANU’s 2007 Election Study found that 44% of people thought that the death penalty should be re-introduced in Australia. There was no universal outrage and condemnation of Abbott’s hero John Howard when he said:

“I find it impossible myself, as an Australian, as Prime Minister, as an individual, to argue that those executions should not take place when they have murdered my fellow countrymen and women.”

Gee, I guess things were just different way back then huh?

And amid assessments of Australia’s current relationship with brutal, barbaric, backward Indonesia, we haven’t heard a lot of questioning of our relationship with, say, the US, who have been executing citizens for a long while now. The US has murdered 15 prisoners this year alone (35 in 2014), and have a pretty busy schedule it seems for the next three years. And do we go quiet on China because they love iron ore and coal and basically make all our stuff? Do we have to wait until they kill a flamin’ Aussie cobber?

Nationalism, in its grotesque perversity, mangles people’s natural human instincts to the point that they can only often feel something for other humans if they are labelled as citizens residing within the same, entirely arbitrary, geographic borders. Why feel sorrow for people labelled ‘Australian’ (whom you have never met), and not be in tears every night for those equally unfortunate souls with a different passport? Why wish the Australian government move heaven and earth to save the lives of two Australians, and be able to sleep like a baby while people labelled ‘asylum seeker’ are held prisoner by the Australian state for no crime whatsoever? Perhaps the better question is how?

As Albert Einstein said:

“Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”

Fuck Australian nationalism and fuck the hypocritical and inhuman fuckers who prop it up.