Sunday, December 07, 2003


The following email from a mother in Adelaide, South Asustralia has just been passed on to me

I am a Mother of a 13 year old Australian boy. He is a loving & caring child. He is NOT a perfect child & in fact I pretty sure only one of them has ever been born in over 2000 years BUT he IS generally respectful of adults & a polite young boy. I know he has both good & bad points BUT what has happened to him recently is absolutely ridiculous.

On Wednesday at lunchtime my son & 2 of his friends were told off for singing " Jingle bells " in the school hall way.It was free time & not lesson time. They had just come back from singing practice. In Australia as the rest of the world ,it is a pretty much a normal thing for kids to be excited at Christmas time. For heavens sake's they ARE kids AND are allowed to be happy & enjoy themselves.

It appears that about a month ago one Muslim child joined our school community & he is in the classroom next to my son & his friends.Well this child went up to my son in the hall & punched him in the stomach for singing Jingle Bells & then went to a teacher & said that the boys were offending his religious beliefs by singing Jingle bells. The Vice Principal was called & the 3 boys got into trouble ! In the meantime this boy said IF any of them sang Christmas songs again that he would "knife them".

Anyway my son & his friends were NOT singing an actual Christmas Carol ONLY a Christmas song - Jingle bells ! IF they wished to sing something like Silent Night or the First Noel it would have also been quite in their rights to.Australia's IS suppose to free- we are NOT the old Communist Russia after all.

Then on the Wednesday night what is usually expected to be our School Christmas Carols night turned out to be a Multicultural night.There was NOT one Christmas Carol sung. There was a short Japanese play,our kids doing a South Pacific dance performance & heaps of songs about Father Christmas.At one stage there was a song about snow in USA.There was an American flag on stage.No where in the whole night an Australian flag to be seen.IF it was truly a multicultural night AND we are in Australia shouldn't ALL different races of Australia be considered - including the white Anglo-Saxons ( the majority ) who where the 1st ones to settle in Australia after our native aborigines ?

The parents voiced their annoyance by refusing to sing the only 2 community Christmas carols which were " Santa Claus is coming to town" & " Rudolph the red nose Reindeer."

Our new principal has gone too far. For the past 11 1/2 years I have been on school council & we have always had actual proper Carols with a song book provided..It's been a friendly picnic type atmosphere with families sitting side by side with folding chairs, snacks & soft drinks in Eskies.This year we had it in the High school next door’s hall.

Australia is basically a Christian country. When I go overseas my family & I try & learn some of the culture before we go so WE can respect their traditions & religion. If people of other countries are welcome with open arms into my country to live & raise their families should the majority NOT be shown the same respect by newcomers?

My son & my family ARE being discriminated against because we are white Anglo-Saxons.

I can NOT understand IF it is good enough for virtually every council area in Australia to have Community Christmas Carols then WHY can't our kids sing Christmas Carols at a school functions ,let alone a Christmas song in the school yard or hallway without being told off.

I am NOT saying people of ALL religions should NOT be free to express their beliefs BUT what about my son & OUR families beliefs & my son's friends. Are NOT OUR beliefs being trodden on? Why do WE as Australians who are a majority Christian nation have to be discriminated against & suffer & deny our beliefs ,culture & heritage because there is a vague possibility that it MAY offend a minority that have come to our great country to live. After all did they not probably come here to make a better life for themselves & their children ?

After the past couple of day’s incidents I had a big talk to son about what is it to be born an Australian or a free citizen of ANY country. I spoke about freedom & democratic rights. I mentioned that as he knew already that his ancestors had fought in many wars for the freedom of their generation & future generations of their families to live in a free & democratic society. I reminded him of his Irish & English ancestors coming to Australia for better lives for themselves & their children.I told him no one including ANY teacher had the right to tell him he could NOT sing Christmas Carols OR Christmas songs - IF it was in his own time & in the school yard..I said IF anyone told him off for singing he was very politely to remind them that he WAS an Australian living in a free & democratic society & it was his right to celebrate Christmas.

Well my little talk proved to go against my son today - my son & 3 of his friends were suspended from school. It seems my son told his friends that they could sing IF they wanted to & that it WAS their rights as Australians. to do so. At lunch time in the playground they were having fun & singing Jingle bells. The one & only Muslim child who had threaten to "knife " the boys IF they sang again - complained to a teacher about having his religious beliefs offended. WHY could he NOT walk away ? He WAS out to cause trouble ! The teacher's came over & then the Vice- principal THEN it was a case of poor minority child - let's protect him. Why not a case of majority rules ?

I also have no idea how this family is surviving in Australia at the moment. You can NOT walk into any shopping centre without seeing Christmas trees,nativity scenes & having Christmas Carols blasted at you from every direction. Does this family not eat or go shopping for the 8 weeks we have Christmas in our shops ?

My family & I have travelled extensively overseas & every time we do we try to learn a little about the culture of where we are going.This way we know how to act & avoid offending. We wear appropriate clothes into temples & shrines & do not walk on offering in the street. IF it is good enough for US as Australians to do this then WHY can not people who come to Australia do the same thing ? I always thought THAT was how a democracy WAS supposed to work.

I think one of the most interesting things will be to see IF these teachers at school ARE REALLY going to stand up for these principles & give up their 6 weeks paid holidays - after all IF it is NOT the right thing to celebrate Christmas AS an Australian - should these teachers NOT be available to teach these children who do NOT celebrate Christmas.I am sure it would be hypocritical of them to take 6 weeks paid holidays at the tax payer’s expense IF they will not let the majority of children in the school celebrate Christmas as their families presume they will.I think it will be a cold day in hell before they give up their paid holidays -after all they ONLY get about 12 weeks holidays a year when the average Australian worker gets 4 weeks.

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