Guest Notes

Immigration notes

6 May 2017

9:00 AM

6 May 2017

9:00 AM

Anzac Day was the day I fell in love with Australia. There’s no greater testament – none at all – to the indominable spirit of the Australian people. Who else has good cheer etched so deeply in their bones that they could mark a devastating loss with such a magnificent show of pride? And who else could send their men and women in uniform marching through every city, town, and village without a whiff of militarism? Once you experience an Anzac Day parade, those of tin-pot dictatorships look like cruel parodies. In North Korea, the armed forces are trotted out as a symbol of the Kim dynasty’s power and used to intimidate the populace. In Oz, it’s exactly the opposite. Your soldiers and sailors march to reassure their countrymen that – whoever the foe, and whatever the cost – they’re prepared to stand up for this great Commonwealth. It’s a show of loyalty, not to the state, but to the people. And the people reciprocate. They come out in droves to offer their thanks, whether it’s by shouting them a schooner or just waving a flag.

I don’t know how any New Australian or the child of New Australians can witness this rite of mateship and not ask to be initiated ASAP. Which is why I can only bring myself to pity Yassmin Abdel-Magied. What a cold, twisted heart she must have to feel contempt for this nation-wide outpouring of love and gratitude. She’s every bit as wretched as James Harthouse from Dickens’s Hard Times: ‘what was about the very best passage of his life was the one of all others he would not have owned to on any account, and the only one that made him ashamed of himself.’ When others see Australia at its best, Yassmin sees Australia at its worst. That’s not rudeness – it’s a sickness of the soul.

How does this happen? What makes a person want to burn down their sanctuary? James Morrow is probably right: as he wrote in the Daily Telegraph, ‘It is hard to blame Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Despite her migrant background she has perfectly assimilated the values of a po-faced progressive Australia that may pay lip-service to the Anzacs but in reality finds all that white male blokey mateship stuff about as distasteful as sour milk.’ And that’s the saddest part. Progressives poison New Australian families against this wonderful country. They tear the seeds affection and loyalty right out of their breast. They teach them to hate what they should love, until they’ve grown to hate love itself.

It’s extra-sad when you think of where these immigrants come from. Look at the only comparable holiday in the Muslim world: the Day of Ashura. Ashura commemorates the death of Hussein, Mohammed’s grandson, at the Battle of Karbala. Hussein’s supporters gathered at the site of his martyrdom to ritually mourn, and so a tradition was born. Every year on the 10th of Muharram, Shi’i all over the world take to the streets and recreate the ritual mourning, lacerating themselves with swords and flogging themselves with chains. Children aren’t exempt: fathers whip their infant sons with razor blades or cut their scalps with knives. (And there’s not even a pub to retire to!)

Incidentally, that’s also how progressive spend Anzac Day… and Australia Day, for that matter. Which is, strictly speaking, their right. If they prefer to spend the afternoon weeping and gnashing their teeth, they’re free to do so. But families like the Abdel-Magieds risk life and limb to escape such barbarism. Why won’t progressives let them? Why bring them here only to induct them into yet another cult of guilt and self-hatred?

That’s the difference between being pro-immigration and pro-immigrant. Conservatives may call for a slower intake of migrants and more careful vetting. But that’s only because we want to make sure Australia remains a true asylum for those who seek it in good faith. Virtually all of us who weren’t born abroad have parents or grandparents who were. Australia offered a new life to any who sought one – a chance for prosperity, security, and equality under the law. All that was asked in return was that they learn the language, abide by local custom, and pledge their undivided loyalty to their new country and countrymen. That’s a pretty sweet deal. And we want to keep it on the table for many, many generations to come.

But that’s just not possible when the Left is hell-bent on convincing New Australians that they were better off in Africa or the Middle East. All that does is drive them deeper into their own ghettos, shutting them off from the mainstream. Some become so paranoid that they sign on with a jihadist group – or, worse, the ABC. And as minorities become more visibly dislocated, the native-born and assimilated get the jitters, too. They watch their norms being flagrantly disregarded, their generosity grossly abused, and wonder whether the principle of immigration itself is at fault. Who can blame them? So, if the Left wants to head off the Hansons, Trumps, and Le Pens of the world, all they have to do is leave New Aussies alone. Don’t indoctrinate them into that miserable ideology. As long as we don’t stamp out the seedlings, mateship will grow up naturally in their hearts, grounding them firmly in this soil. That’s always been the sure guarantee of a tolerant, pluralist Australia. It won’t fail us – though we may fail it.

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