Tag Archives: Australian history

Kicking it down the line

25 Nov

“The oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors… The oppressed find in the oppressors their model of ‘manhood’… The oppressed want at any cost to resemble the oppressors.”

– Paolo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed

It has happened in every revolution in history, one oppressive class is replaced with another. But this is a story of how I have seen it happen in the space of two generations, and of how we can stop the cycle.


My parents came to Australia from central Italy in the early 1950s. They arrived on ships. My father arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia, on New Year’s Day 1952, and my mother and three year old brother followed eighteen months later. None of them could speak a word of English when they arrived. I am often asked why they came to Australia, and it is a question I asked of them myself several times in my life. Like most big life questions, the answer is somewhat complicated. And in this case, there is an official and an unofficial story.

My parents were born in Italy, and grew up in small farming communities near the border of the Marche and Romagna regions, just inland of the Adriatic coast. They both started going to school, but neither were able to complete their schooling because they were needed on the farms on which their respective families worked. My mother made it into, but did not complete, the third grade. She was the top of her class. My father made it a few years further.

They were teenagers during the second world war, and lived near the Eastern end of the Gothic line, the final line of defence for the Axis forces in Italy once the Allies began their attack.


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Lest We Forget – A Very Unaustralian Anzac Post

24 Apr

I vacillated on whether to post this today. Or at all, but I’ve needed to say this publicly for a whole year, so here goes. Exactly one year ago, on Anzac Day 2012, I was involved in a Facebook debate with a man I’ve never met, a friend of an old friend of mine. The conversation is repeated below, with my friend’s name changed to “Rob’s mate” and his friend’s name changed to “Digger”. Both men served in the Australian Army Reserve. It’s a Facebook discussion, so please lower your expectations when it comes to intellectual rigour and/or punctuation.

Uluru - a big, incredible sacred rock in the middle of the de

Rob’s mate (status): What ever you do today please spare a moment to remember those service men and women who died for us, those that served and those that are still serving today. These people are not the ones that start wars, just are prepared to give themselves for others. Lest We Forget.

Rob: I will, but I will also spare a moment to remember the servicefolk who died for “the other side”. Some of us, many of us, descend from ancestors who would have fought against ‘us’. Let this holiday not become (or remain) an excuse for mindless patriotic fervour, but an honouring of ALL who have died in the meaningless (or meaningful, if you must) slaughter. Bless the troops. ALL the troops, on all sides.

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