Australia is the best country in the world…?

I love my country. Sometimes I marvel at how I’ve won the lottery of life, being born here in the lucky country, the land of opportunity.

When I started travelling, I realised that my passport is one of my most precious possessions. Wherever I go in the world, I carry the golden ticket: a document saying I belong in Australia – that they will always let me come home.

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But recently something has changed.

I was talking to a new friend who grew up in Iran. As a teenager, he left a war-torn country, having witnessed unbelievable horrors, for a new life in Australia.

He worked hard to overcome barriers of language and culture. He studied late into the night, earned a degree, and won a government job. You’d think he’d had it made, but it broke my heart when he said that if he ever had children, he wouldn’t raise them here. He’d rather take them back to the war-torn Middle East than put them through the daily racism he faces. After twelve years, he still feels like an outsider – ignored, bullied, excluded, slapped with religious slurs – even though he’s never been Muslim. For the first time, I felt ashamed to be Australian.

I look at our indigenous people, who, according to the UN, have the second worst quality of life in the world, and I wonder about our lucky country.

Australia is the best country in the world… for me. But I’m not the only one who lives here.

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2 comments on “Australia is the best country in the world…?

  1. vonhonnauldt says:

    I’ve never been to Australia, or really any other country. Would love to visit. I’ve put a foot in Canada and Mexico, but that’s about it. Just visited briefly – very briefly. But what’s true of your country is true of mine. I love my country, but when I see pictures of Arlington National Cemetery, with its endless rows of tombstones, I sorrow that the US is no longer worthy of the sacrifices those young men and women made. I guess the problem is that there’s only one country where everything is perfect, and its not here. And we’re not there.

  2. Diane says:

    Thank you for writing this! It has opened my eyes and distressed my heart. I have been so unaware of how people who don’t fit the ‘majority criteria’ are treated here in Australia. It now seems like I need to do something more than just being pleasant. As the guy in church said last week, we need to take the time to really listen and get to know people. And we need to grow in humility, ready to learn from others. People new to a culture see with fresh eyes and can tell us a lot about what we really value from the way we live.

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