Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Kiss the Queen and Spite the Al-Qaeda
“He who believes in a just cause will give no damn about any religious Ku Klux Klan. He will stand up to look truth in the face and speak out in its defence”
My friend, have you heard the news?
You mean you have not heard?
Heard that their Prime Minister, PM, has done it again?
Who is their PM and what has he done again?
Who else but the Australian PM!
Johnbull or John Silver?
There you go again. You are never serious. I don’t mean John Howard, the 25th Prime Minister of that far-flung country, the ancestral home of the Aborigines. I mean Kevin Rudd, the current PM.
Yeees, and what has he done?
You are asking me? Don't you know the antecedents of Australian PMs?
Yes, I do. I know they can be whacky at times and they are also in the habit of shooting straight from the hip. I remember what Paul Keating did when Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of England, visited Australia in 1992. You know what the PM did? He literally grabbed the waist of the queen in a show of affection for the head of the Commonwealth. He almost gave her a peck.
Is that not a breach of royal protocol? How did Prince Phillips feel?
The PM would not give a damn and the British press hammered and pilloried him for what they called his lack of etiquette. It was a diplomatic row that shook the world. In 2000, Howard, his successor, also placed his arm around the Queen while walking her down the aisle though he denied touching her. I wonder what the Australians gain by grabbing Her Royal Majesty’s waist! So, if I may ask, what has Rudd done?
My friend, this is worse than grabbing a queen from behind.
Has he kissed an al Qeda woman in public?
If he did that, of course, there won't be too much brouhaha since his action could be interpreted as a show of love for the Gentiles and not as a kiss of death.
What has he done gan (really)?
Na wah o! The man threw a bombshell recently when he called on Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia in Australia to get out fast.
Why did he say that?
Don't mind him. He was just being unduly paranoid over the new upsurge of religious radicalism in the Pacific region more so after the Bali incident in Indonesia.
But I think he went too far. Don't you think so?
Waiteee! You haven't heard anything yet. Let me fetch my diary and read to you what he said in his own words.
Okay, open sesame.
He said and I quote, "Immigrants, not Australians, must adapt. Take it or leave it.
I'm tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individuals or their culture..."
Sorry to cut you short. This man must be a damn crazy Aussie. Is he not the leader of his country? What kind of kangaroo declaration is that? This may boomerang. Don’t you think so?
It seems you don’t know much about this firebrand. Again, hear him: "Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian right-wing, political push but a fact because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. If God offends, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home because God is part of our culture...."
Foul! Which culture is God not part of? He must be a wicked landlord.
Just wait. He seems to mellow down a bit. Listen. "We will accept your beliefs and will not question why, all we ask is that you accept ours and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us. 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 gripping about our flag, our pledge, our Christian beliefs, or our way of life, I highly encourage you to 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 us to be here. So, accept the country you accepted." End of quote.
You mean he said all this? How did the people react to his firestorm?
Of course, the Muslims did not like it but the generality of Aussies hailed him, not actually for the tone of his address but for the fact that they had a leader who could stand up and speak on their behalf in a moment of potential crisis. You may not agree with what he said but you must concede to him his revolutionary zeal in confronting a potentially volatile issue without caring whose ox is gored.
But don't you think that is a dangerous gambit?
Gambi-what? In a society where there is a recurring problem, man can always find solution to such a problem. All it takes is a visionary leadership that is genuinely interested and passionate about the welfare of its people without fear or favour.…
But I beg to disagree with this Ruud of a man. Is he not afraid of the al-Qeda warriors?
He who believes in a just cause will give no damn about any religious Ku Klux Klan. He will stand up to look truth in the face and speak out in its defence.
How I wish our leaders, too, can stand up to be counted when it matters most.
Yes, they should have the courage to confront the banality of evil which has become our unsung anthem. Truth, they say, cannot suffer from being challenged and examined. "Unthinking, uncritical, kowtowing, party-toeing is fatal to a vibrant democracy," says Desmond Tutu, a clergyman, who on many occasions stood up to criticise his friend, Nelson Mandela, when he was President, and the ruling African National Congress, ANC, on matters bordering on personal principles and national ethics. His country, South Africa, is the richer for it.
Let me tell you, this is not South Africa, this is Niagara. Nobody can teach us how to deal with our own problems. We deal with them our own peculiar way.
For instance, when our house is burning, we call the fire brigade to quench it. We never prevent fire incidents because that will throw the firemen out of job. That is the home truth, however diabolical it may be. So, if we should have our own Bali or 9/11, God forbid, our leaders would still shy away from admitting that ours is a nation bound to violence on the altar of religious extremism.
Have you bought a bullet-proof vest?
Just in case the authorities chase the wild goose to your doorstep.
Note: First published in TELL, March 16, 2009