A Letter to Bill Bragg

Billy’s been blogging.


I wrote this in response to his recent post-London 2012 post…

“Well done Billy for creating the space to consider progressive patriotism and for the inspiration you continue to shine forth. I’ve enjoyed watching, listening to and more recently reading of your commitment to your beliefs, your passions and witnessing them deepen and strengthen over the many many years I’ve been your fan. In 1996 when you sang “sometimes I think to myself should I vote red for my class or green for our children” I saw this is a watershed between the younger Billy and the wiser one. Time, age and wisdom are all good things. But they necessarily come from youth. So thanks for continuing to share your wisdom with the youth. And for continuing to progressively define internationalism, nationalism and patriotism in their better forms. And regarding the post-Olympic fervor, what’s important is the personal reaction, the heart felt emotion. Politicians and corporates can hijack what they see as a collective value or emotion and use this for ill-effect. But an individual should feel what they felt and understand this and then speak it – like you are. Being a white Anglo-scandanavian Australian I felt proud before, during and after the 2000 Sydney Olympics but I also recognised that universal values are more powerful and important in these instances. It doesn’t matter that 400m gold-medalist Cathy Freeman wrapped herself in the Aboriginal flag (of course it was important for her to do that – and I respect her choice and her right to do so). What matters is that she stood proud in herself and knew that she had supporters in her country. It also showed that our symbol of Australian identity is many and varied. We don’t need to cling to any one thing, for we are a diverse multicultural nation of larrikins new and old, and a hot southeast Asian curry is as Aussie as a fire side dream time story over a pot of kangaroo stew with Uncle Noel. And reading between your lines Billy, I can see that the universality of love is key to your life’s evolving narrative too. See you in Perth, Western Australia in November 2012!”

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