Boat People of Yesteryear

Harry the Freedom Fighter.600x350

Today is International Migrants’ Day – and in Australia, the 18th December 2012 has begun.  We see the new day some hours before most Europeans and Americans.  Not a bad thought to run with, when we Aussies know only too well that we’re considered somewhat backward about many ‘brave new world’ developments.

First, last or whatever, Australia holds some nice records of welcoming the people of the world to our shores – to make new lives for their families; to take time to heal the scars from their pasts; to establish new paths, new goals; and to find that all things are achievable in this vast land.

There will, of course, always be some who don’t find the hoped for pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Sometimes there are some too busy dreaming the impossible, to realise that the possible is right in front of them, requiring just a little more effort.  Sometimes there are those who never understood that you ‘reap what you sow’ – and this takes the same perseverance, patience and courage required of our native sons.  This is not a different story because you are a migrant.  And then there are some who never see the pot of gold is already in their hands and hearts – it’s just not the monetary kind they thought.  Instead it has to do with self-esteem, self-respect, love and loyalty – and whether or not it is clear to them – freedom!  What can be greater than freedom of thought, of speech, of the ability to be an individual, and to speak out loudly as one voice?  These are treasures that many brush aside as unimportant.  If only they’d had a taste, as so many who went before them experienced.

Most times Australia embraces exceptional new Australians who add immeasurably to the diversity and cross-culture and interest and charm of our lives.  How lack-lustre we were, as we glance back at our lives before all this vibrancy coloured our days.   Maybe best of all is the mingling of cultures through friendships, and intermarriage of the races.  Speaking from first-hand knowledge of being one side of a mixed marriage, I know I have grown immeasurably in empathy, understanding, and acceptance of the differences between our family traditions, whilst embracing a heap of new ways of looking at things over the near 50 years of our involvement.

My parents-in-law were sterling examples of what to expect from the best of migrants – and I have celebrated their lives in a Squidoo lens I wrote – Heroes?  They Didn’t Think So.

Will today’s ‘boat people’ come to enrich Australian lives in the same way as so many historic emigrations of peoples throughout the world?  I don’t know the answer to this – but I hope so.   I believe intimate involvement changes your outlook completely . . . and for the betterment of our One Human Race.

It’s really not difficult at all – if you first have love.

On International Migrants’ Day – and every other day of the Year, I say  – Vive La Différence!

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