Be Alarmed, Be Very Very
on anti-terrorism kit send by Commonwealth Government of Australia
remember vividly the short feature presentation I watched several
times during my schooling. It was called “Yellow Mini Morris” and
it went like this: a couple, a blond beautiful woman and a tall
handsome stranger arrive to the (former) Yugoslavia from western
Europe. They pretend to be ‘tourists’ admiring ‘our’ beautiful
scenery. They drive around in their lovely yellow car apparently
taking pictures of themselves. But all along, they were in fact taking
picture of our airports, bridges and other vital infrastructure. The
message was: never trust foreigners, no matter how beautiful or well
dressed they are. Be aware of anybody acting suspiciously. This
especially includes anyone taking photographs. Also watch out for
those travelling in a small yellow car. Driving past bridges,
factories, electricity and gas companies. Being beautiful, blond or
tall. Wearing designer outfits. And, especially, be aware and be
suspicious of western Europeans!
retrospective, and in the light of the fact that NATO did bomb my
native town and destroyed all its three bridges over Danube some
twenty years later, the Yellow Mini Morris story might not be as
ludicrous as it seems. In fact, one could go as far as to suggest that
xenophobic communist regime was right to teach us about all the treats
coming from outside and endangering our then way of life. After all,
many parts of former Yugoslavia will for many more years to come have
to deal with not so nice remains of NATO liberation from ethnic
cleansing and totalitarian regimes, such as depleted uranium polluted
soil, diseases brought by foreign soldiers and the newly formed
American military bases.
xenophobes, totalitarian dictators and nationalists thus right when
warning about the treat from ‘the Other’? Or was it that the
discourse they created in itself helped create an environment
conducive of suspicion, therefore fear, therefore obsession with
protecting oneself, therefore bad diplomacy, therefore ‘pre emptive
defence’, therefore reactive response, therefore various military
operations, therefore several full blown wars?
Yet again I
find myself in a country where the government warns us to be alert
(but not alarmed!) so as to help protect ‘our’ way of life. It is
as if I never really left a society based on suspicion and fear and
never really came to supposedly democratic, multicultural and
‘open’ one. Not surprisingly, apart from experiencing some strange
déjà vu that started a couple of months earlier when I was asked for
my I.D. for (acting suspicious by) sending a parcel overseas, I have
in addition started experiencing a serious case of Post Traumatic
Suspicion Disorder and am in a desperate need of consulting ‘a
health professional’. But perhaps the need for counselling could be
averted if only our Prime Minister could take his time to reassure me
over several things.
that I should not be suspicious of his desire to maintain peace. That
the $1.4 billion spent to strengthen Australia’s counter-terrorist
capability, part of which includes some of my tax money, is NOT going
to be used for destroying someone else’s lives, soils, bridges and
places of residence. That the timing of sending this kit so as to
correspond with preparations to attack Iraq IS coincidental.
that upgraded resources for the ‘Australian Secret Intelligence
Service’, ‘new state-of-the-art surveillance systems’,
possibility for the Prime Minister to ‘take strategic control in a
national emergency’ and people being encouraged to spy on and dobb
in each other, are NOT the tell signs of Australia becoming a
‘television, radio, newspapers and the internet’ will NOT be used
by government to control the public opinion.
that additional money WILL be given to the national and state
Anti-Discrimination and Equal opportunity commissions so to better
respond to increased harassment of ‘certain’ community and/or
religion that has already been happening since the horrific events of
the government WILL say sorry to the Indigenous population of
Australia so as to stop projecting forward what had been done backward
(physical violence and murders, destruction of one’s way of life).
xenophobes and racists individuals calling themselves Australians WILL
be deported to an isolated island in the Pacific, as they clearly do
not fit the profile of ‘friendly, decent, democratic’
Australians’ who ‘embrace people, religions and languages from
every corner of the world’.
that Australian children are NOT going to suffer from living in an
environment where an overly dangerous and threatening view of the
world is being communicated to them. Alternatively, that in addition
to the increased availability of free counselling, he WILL provide
stockpiles of herbal, homoeopathic and allopathic anti-depressants and
anti-anxiety medications for many more generations to come.
he WILL insist on disarming ALL nations from dangerous weapons of mass
destruction, including the most powerful ones as well as those that
have already used them on a defenceless civilians and nature.
he WILL send us yet another kit, with another budget outlined so as to
address pollution, global warming, chemical spills, climate change and
other serious treats to our current way of life.
what I am looking for is for prime minister to reassure me that the
suspicion of ‘the Other’ won’t yet again lead to fear, therefore
to bad diplomacy, therefore to pre emptive strikes, therefore to a
full blown war. That a history won’t repeat itself. That we will
resolve our (actual, perceived and/or potential) conflicts and
suspicions of each other through trust, cooperation, dialogue and most
importantly, by peaceful means. That we will work towards letting go
of our personal and communal desire to control everything and
everybody. That we will get our priorities right.
look forward to the prime minister finding time in his busy schedule
to address some of my concerns. But if he stays numb and counselling
fails to respond I believe I would still have several options to
improve my mental health. First, quickly consult my new fridge magnet.
Then go and look for the location of our electricity switchboard. If
that fails to reassure me, I can call the Energex. Or the local Vet.
Check myself into nearest hospital. Inundate my kids school’s
administration with calls. Harass my neighbours. Stalk our local
council members. And, last but not least, I can always go and hang out
by the gas meter. So, no worries mate, I’ll feel safe again.
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