Bleats

Here’s Why There’s More To Remembrance Day Than WWI

Lest We Forget.

Today, the 11th of November, marks Remembrance Day. It’s the day that the Armistice was signed to end World War I, and this year is the 101st anniversary. The conflict lasted for four years, and 60, 000 Australians lost their lives in the process. 

Remembrance Day is inextricably tied to WWI, and has come to represent our collective memories of the World Wars. Even though those memories aren’t as fresh as they once were, Australians have been involved in several other conflicts since the end of WWII that we also honour on Remembrance Day.

If you’re wondering why we still bother with Remembrance Day, here are all the other conflicts that Australia has been involved with since WWII ended.

Korean War (1950-1953)
Australia got involved in the Korean War only five years after WWII ended, and troops were sent in to defend South Korea. By the end of the war, 340 Australians were killed, 1,216 were injured, and 29 had been prisoners of war.

Malayan Emergency (1950-1960)
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought after some plantation workers were murdered by members of the Malayan Communist Party. 39 Australian servicemen were killed.

Indonesian Confrontation (1963-1966)
The Indonesian Confrontation was fought between Indonesia and Malaysia because Indonesia’s President believed that the Federation of Malaysia was an attempt by Britain to keep ruling in the area. 23 Australians were killed.

Vietnam War (1962-1975)
Australia followed the USA to defend South Vietnam from the spread of Communism from the north. 521 Australians were killed and over 3,000 were wounded.

The First Gulf War (1990-1991)
When Iraq invaded Kuwait, Australian troops were sent in as part of the UN. No Australians were killed.

Afghanistan (2001-present)
When George W. Bush declared a “war on terror”, Australia followed the USA into Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. Currently 41 Australians have been killed and 249 wounded.

The Second Gulf War (2003-2009)
Once again, Australia followed the USA into Iraq, this time to locate “weapons of mass destruction”. No weapons were ever found. Two Australians died. 

Our Response To Drink Spiking In Australia Is Not Okay

Things need to change.

Over the weekend, Rapture Nightclub in Perth has been copping the wrath of the internet after a screenshot of their response to a woman who had her drink spiked went viral. 

Shantel Smith, 19, alleges that she went to the nightclub and woke up in a toilet stall, vomiting and foaming at the mouth. She messaged Rapture’s Facebook page only to be met with questions like “Did you attend a hospital and have your stomach pumped for evidence?”, “Would you like a crowd controller to hold your drink for your next time you attend a nightclub?”, and arguably worst of all, “Are you worth someone trying to spike your drink?”

The owner of Rapture Nightclub, Neil Scott, has said that he does regret sending the message, but he’s made some other comments since that have not been taken well.

When asked why he didn’t believe Shantel, he said “Well she’s not a particularly attractive girl. It’s just implausible to imagine that she had her drink spiked, it just doesn’t sort of add up.”

Later, in an interview, he said “I don’t know if she thinks she’s special enough to be spiked, I don’t know if that’s how it works.”

Spoiler alert: that’s definitely not how it works.

The initial message from Rapture Nightclub to Shantel ended with “we think this is a beat up and we believe no one would be stupid enough to waste their drugs on spiking someone’s drink.”

Here’s the thing. People are absolutely, positively, far too willing to “waste their drugs” spiking peoples drinks. While we’ll never know the real numbers, some studies say that a quarter of all young people have experienced drink spiking in some sense. The reason we’ll never actually know though, is because drink spiking is chronically under reported. 

People tend not to report drink spiking for a number of reasons. Perhaps the effects of the drug mean that they don’t remember many details of the night, or they feel they won’t be believed because they were drinking. The idea that a person is “asking for it” because they have the sheer audacity to enjoy a few drinks on a night out is an idea that we just can’t seem to shake as a society.

In a country like Australia, where drinking culture is as ingrained in us as grabbing a sausage from Bunnings, the fact that myths like this still float around is particularly scary. We’re taught that you basically have to drink if you want to have friends, but if something happens to you while you’re out drinking with those friends, then it was your fault for drinking in the first place. 

The mental gymnastics that go into shifting the blame from the perpetrator to the victim are truly something to behold. They’re also the reason people don’t usually want to come forwards after, say, waking up on the floor of a nightclub and foaming at the mouth. 

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that victim blaming is never okay, and it’s pretty confronting to see such a blatant example of it doing the rounds online. Stories like Shantel’s are terrifying, but I like to hope that situations like hers are getting less and less common. 

And if your response to someone telling you they’ve been roofied is to ask whether or not they were worth it, go home.

The Government Has Introduced A Dress Code For New Aussies That We Never Needed

Let's not forget the PM's own fashion faux pas.

The Government seems to have gotten really interested in the details of citizenship ceremonies lately. It definitely doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that a number of councils, including Launceston council earlier this week, have voted to move their Australia Day celebrations away from January 26th as a show of respect to Indigenous people.

Yeah nah, that was a lie, it’s absolutely about that.

You might have heard about the immediate crackdown that Scott Morrison announced, stripping the right to hold citizenship ceremonies away from councils who dared to acknowledge that January 26th has some pretty heavy historical baggage attached to it.

The part that didn’t make as many headlines was the proposed introduction of a new dress code, and honestly, it’s pretty vague even by regular dress code standards (what the hell is the difference between cocktail attire and semi formal? I will never know). Morrison went to the effort of pointing out that boardies and thongs in particular would no longer be allowed, and cultural clothes are a-ok, but other than that the code itself doesn’t ‘dictate standards’.

Hijabs are fine, Havaianas are not fine, and that’s about it.

Maaatttee.

My first thought was that telling people to wear whatever the hell they want as long as it isn’t boardies and thongs is an excellent way to make sure some smartass shows up wearing a pink morphsuit and running shoes. But then I remembered something: those rules have always been an unspoken thing anyway and literally nobody has ever shown up in a pink morphsuit and running shoes.

Citizenship ceremonies are incredibly special events for people who have migrated here. It’s the day they’re officially making Australia home, and these people don’t need to be told to treat it with the respect it deserves. They already do. Boardies and thongs don’t need to be ruled ‘no longer’ allowed, because nobody ever wore them to a citizenship ceremony to begin with.

Let’s be real, the only people who would find it funny to rock up to such a formal occasion wearing an Australian flag cape with a temporary southern cross tattoo stuck to their forehead are people who are already citizens.

Maybe Scott Morrison sees a lot of boardies and thongs worn in unfortunate places around the Shire, but I’m convinced that citizenship ceremonies are not one of those places. I went digging to see if I could find any example at all of someone incredibly underdressed to take their pledge to Australia, and found absolutely nothing. Zip. Nada. I found a lot of people agonising over whether or not jeans were too informal, but not one single, solitary cork hat was to be found.

I guess if you’re really desperate to wear thongs though, you could take a leaf out of Morrison’s very own fashion handbook and photoshop some nice white running shoes over the pictures afterwards. Straya.

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