In the last few days an Australian Government billboard was removed from Docklands because of threats made to the advertising company responsible for creating it. This billboard was simple insofar as it spoke of Australia Day and the various ways to celebrate the day.
It was removed because a few small minded individuals were unfortunately granted the power through the threat of violence to control what we, as the people see. I personally saw two beautiful young girls happily smiling and holding Australian flags. Nothing in the world appeals to me more. I am the mother of daughters and I am a true blue Australian. The idea of little girls, happily celebrating Australia is a wonderful sight. I am ashamed that some people saw this billboard as a problem, in reality it is only those few who are the problem.
I know that some people are opposed to the hijab because they believe it shows oppression of females due to the idea that girls are required to wear them, but unless you have asked every single girl whether it is worn by choice or by demand you cannot judge. Further, I don’t see a circumstance in which a billboard would be removed for depicting two catholic nuns in black habits waving Australian flags.
So I say to the two little girls on the billboard:
I am sorry.
I am sorry your mummy had to speak to you this week about racism.
I am sorry that you had probably told your friends and family about your beautiful face being used on a billboard nearly as big as your house and now it has been pulled down.
I am sorry that some racist, uneducated fool threatened other people and as a consequence your pretty faces had to come down.
I promise that not everyone thinks that way. I am sorry that you might feel unwelcome and like you don’t belong here but this is your home too.
You my darlings, are welcome to be my Australia.You represent the ongoing multiculturalism future of Australia. I hope one day, people won’t even acknowledge the fact that you choose to wear hijabs and instead just see two young girls happily preparing to celebrate our Australia.
The whole point of Australia is freedom. It’s the freedom to get a Southern Cross tattoo if you like when you’re 18 and on schoolies. It’s the freedom to dress how you like. Its the freedom of education. Its the freedom of religion. Its the freedom from persecution.
So little ones, please keep believing in your Australia. I promise not everyone feels the same way.
An Australia mum.
EDIT: I have since learnt there is a crowd funding page raising pressure to have the billboard reinstated. Hopefully this situation will be rectified soon. Racism should never win.
You can find more information here -> GoFundMe – Aus Day