For discussion see Gideon Polya, “”My Country” Painting & Poem. Australia – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, MWC News, .5 April 2008.
"My Country” is the most famous Australian poem – and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is the title of the most famous Italian spaghetti Western movie.
”My Country” Painting & Poem. Australia – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (the name of a famous Italian Spaghetti Western movie) is a succinct summation of Australia, a beautiful country with remarkable achievements but with a bloody history that still continues. Australia is under international scrutiny at the moment because its newly-elected Prime Minster Kevin Rudd is on a 17-day tour of the world. So far PM Rudd has suggested destruction of the US-restored, Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry (a GOOD idea – but promptly rejected by Australia’s racist, war criminal and genocidal US and NATO allies in war-ravaged, Occupied Afghanistan); he has fawned disgustingly over the world’s #1 terrorist and war criminal George Bush (BAD); and he has enthusiastically and dishonestly committed Australia to continued involvement in the racist and war criminal US Alliance War in Afghanistan that has so far been associated with 3.3-6.6 million post-invasion excess deaths, 2.3 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths and 4 million refugees (UGLY) (see MWC News: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/20907/42/ ).
PM Kevin Rudd, elected in a major victory several months ago, simply reflects the political realities of contemporary Australia in which the American Alliance has been the sine qua non for the 7 decades since Pearl Harbor (7 December 1941). Australians overwhelmingly back the US Alliance to “protect us” from what they unashamedly still, albeit now jocularly, refer to as the Asian “yellow hordes” or the Asian “yellow peril”. Indeed a huge yellow-painted metal sculpture in the heart of Melbourne was instantly dubbed “The Yellow Peril” and is still known as such.
To that end, to meet our “insurance premium” down-payments to the Americans, Australia has been involved in all post-1950 US Asian Wars, wars that have been associated with a total of about 24 million excess Indigenous Asian deaths in the various devastated Asian counties, the excess mortality breakdown being roughly 1 million (the Korean war), 13 million (the Indo-China War), 2 million (the Iraq Sanctions and Gulf War), 2 million (the 2003 onwards Iraq War) and 6 million (the 2001 onwards Afghan War). Any departure from the violent, racist and genocidal US Alliance is political death in Australia – in vain do unheard, decent Australians suggest that the best security is being nice to your neighbours and trading with them.
Of course this racism, xenophobia and cowardice of White Australia is reinforced by the lying, racist, holocaust-ignoring, quasi-monopoly Mainstream media. Australia is a Murdochracy in which former Australian and now American citizen Rupert Murdoch owns 70% of the daily newspapers – these extreme right-wing and racist newspapers have a disproportionate influence over Australian voting. Thus one supposes that decent Australians would be totally opposed to the mass murder of Muslim infants in Occupied Iraq and Occupied Afghanistan but they simply don’t know what is happening because it is simply not reported by the Mainstream media, including the taxpayer-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the very best of a very bad lot.
Yet a quick check with the UNICEF website (see: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/index.html ) informs us that about 1,000 under-5 year old infants die EACH DAY in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories, 90% avoidably and due to horrendous, war criminal Occupier non-provision of the life–sustaining food and medical requisites unequivocally demanded of Occupiers by the Geneva Convention. Australians pride themselves on their “innate decency” and would claim – like the post-1945 Germans but with much less justification – that they just did not know of these awful crimes because Mainstream media simply do not report them.
PM Kevin Rudd’s performance so far is an extraordinary mixture of humanity or GOOD (saying the historic “Sorry” to the Indigenous Australians after over 2 centuries of Aboriginal Genocide; trying to get his war criminal US-NATO allies to destroy the US-fostered Afghan opium industry that kills about 300 Australians annually and about 0.1 million people world wide each year); distasteful active and passive pragmatism (continued suspension of the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act in relation to Northern Territory Indigenous Australians; failure to act with requisite urgency to arrest the ongoing Aboriginal Genocide in which 9,000 Indigenous Australians die avoidably each year out of an Aboriginal population of 0.5 million - BAD); and cowardly complicity in the remorseless, UGLY evil of the Bush-ite- and Zionist-promoted, anti-Arab anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, war criminal, US Iraqi Genocide and Afghan Genocide and terracidal, climate criminal failure to act to diminish Australia’s world-leading per capita greenhouse gas pollution that helps to threaten Climate Genocide and the deaths of over 6 billion this century (see MWC News: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/21277/42/ ) .
This Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde dichotomy of PM Kevin Rudd (earnest, self-assertedly evidence-persuaded, Religious Right Rudd, R3, who nevertheless actively collaborates with the world’s #1 terrorist, war criminal, mass paedocide and mass murderer, George W. Bush) ) is reflected in Australia’s history.
Thus Australia was one of the first countries in the world to have trade unions, free and compulsory education, public hospitals, public universities and women’s suffrage (GOOD). However Australia has an awful, BAD and UGLY history of over 2 centuries of active Aboriginal Genocide (the last massacres occurring in the 1920s); the Stolen Generations in which 0.1 million Aboriginal Children were forcibly removed from their mothers (this continuing up to the1970s); effective slavery that continued in the Pacific islands up to the 1920s (and on Australian Mainland pastoral properties up to the 1970s); loyal support for the horrors of British imperialism that caused 1.5 billion excess deaths in British-ruled India alone; continuing involvement in post-1950 US Asian Wars (with Indigenous excess deaths totalling 24 million); and continued involvement in the ongoing Aboriginal Genocide, the Iraqi Genocide, the Afghan Genocide and the horrendously threatening Climate Genocide.
What has permitted this dichotomy of Good and Evil in Australia has been a combination of innate humane decency coupled with self-interest, cowardice, Silence and Lying – Australia is indeed still the Land of Flies, Lies and Slies (spin-based untruths). Thus recently there was salivating, bi-partisan outrage and calls for removal of citizenship and expulsion from Australia of a “controversial” Muslim cleric who merely used “unfortunate” language to comment on the desirability of modest women’s dress (language aside, very sensible); recognition of pre-European Islamic contact with Australia (extensive trade with Indigenous Australia by Muslim Macassans operated for 5 centuries before abrupt, racist termination of this exchange by White Australia in 1906: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macassan_contact_with_Australia ); and comments about the “convict origins” of many Australians (true).
As a citizen of Australia and of the World I have done my duty by making a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court over Australia's continuing involvement in the war criminal, anti-Arab culture anti-Semitic, Islamophobic Afghan Genocide (post-invasion excess deaths 3.3-6.6 million, 4 million refugees); the continuing Aboriginal Genocide (90,000 avoidable Indigenous deaths in the last 11 years; present Indigenous population 0.5 million); the Iraqi Genocide (post-invasion excess deaths 1.7-2.2 million, 4.5 million refugees); and Climate Genocide (16 million avoidable deaths annually, this being increasingly biofuel- and climate change-impacted with climate criminal White Australia the Developed World’s worst annual per capita CO2 polluter): http://climateemergency.blogspot.com/ ).
One could argue that in terms of culture and landscape Australia is an acquired taste. Australians are proud of their “rough diamond”, “larrikin”, “democratic”, and ostensibly “fair go” culture - as opposed to Home Country English “refinement” and Jane Austen-style “manners”. (Although, to be realistic and frank, there is not much of a “fair go” for the 0.3 million Afghan infants who perish avoidably EACH YEAR in Australian-occupied Afghanistan nor for the 0.6 million bereaved parents). Further, Australians love the sharp light and harshness of the Australian landscape – as opposed to the moist, verdant, lush European landscape.
This is beautifully captured in Dorothea Mackellars’s famous and iconic poem “My Country” which the Australian poet (1885-1968) wrote while homesick for a “sunburnt country” and a “wide brown land” Australia while living in green, grey, misty, wet England at the age of 19 (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Country ) :
The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze…
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.
I have tried to capture the dichotomies of Australia in my HUGE (1.3 meter x 2.9 meter) acrylic painting entitled “My Country” that is based on Dorothea Mackellar’s iconic poem. The geometry of the painting is a 4-circle, Double Golden Rectangle as employed in Pablo Picasso’s great anti-war painting “Guernica” (1937) - but the painting also contains an underlying medieval Islamic tile art geometry involving one of the 17 plane symmetry groups (or wall paper patterns, if you like). The painting also includes human and animal figurative elements redolent of Australian Aboriginal and pre-historic European cave art (for a detailed discussion of these elements see ““Alhambra Pollock” painting. Arab-Islam-West Amity through Art” on MWC News: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/14082/42/ ).
In short, “My Country” - the painting – can be conveniently “read” as 4 key sub-set images from West to East, from the Red Western half of Australia that is experiencing a Red Dawn some hours after the Sun has already illuminated the now heavily European-dominated Eastern sea board. Thus in the West (Right Hand Side, RHS) we have initially a red, sunburnt country, Uluru (formerly Ayer’s Rock) in Central Australia, kangaroos, emus, other bird life plus, at the bottom, images of the Northern Territory wetlands with water birds and crocodiles. Next we have the very yellow Western Plains with wildlife and burning Sun plus, at the bottom, images of flood inundation i.e. of “drought and flooding rains”. In the next quartile we have a Green, lush, well-watered country around the Great Dividing Range (the Eastern spine of Australia) plus, below, an image of drought. Finally, in the Eastern Left hand Side (LHS) we have the European, Eastern sea board with skyscrapers, Bondi swimmers, shark fins, Sydney Harbor Bridge, hump-backed whales and the brilliantly-colored fish of the Great Barrier Reef.
This is “My Country” with its huge variety of dichotomies in one large painting – a labor of love indeed.
However, when in a few months you see brilliant young Australian athletes scoop the swimming gold medals in the Beijing Olympics, just remember that “all that glistens is not gold” and that My Country has differing facets, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Only the truth will set us free – and save the Afghan.and Iraqi infants dying at the rate of 1 every minute in White Australian–occupied Iraq and Afghanistan.