Friday, January 1st, 2021
“Young” not up to date
Australia changes its national anthem
For a year, people in Australia discuss adapting the national anthem. In the eyes of many, the lyrics of the song do not reflect the millennia-old history of the indigenous population. Now the Aborigines are to be honored with a new word.
Just in time for the start of the new year, Australia has given its national anthem a new wording. By changing just a few letters, the 60,000-year history of the continent’s indigenous people is honored. The line “We are young and free” became “We are one and free” – because, in the opinion of many Australians, the previous formulation narrowed the view of the country’s modern history, but ignored that the Aborigines, for example, long ago the arrival of white settlers lived there.
“As a modern nation, Australia may be relatively young, but our country’s history dates back to ancient times,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote in a guest article for The Age newspaper. The text change doesn’t take away anything, “but I think it adds a lot”. The new second line of the hymn “Advance Australia Fair” was chosen by Morrison as a demonstration for his New Year’s tweet to all compatriots.
The revision of the anthem, which has been discussed for around a year, is from the point of view of many an overdue sign of appreciation for the indigenous people of the country. They have become a minority since colonization and now make up only about three percent of the 25 million people in Australia.
Great Britain had chosen the continent as a penal colony for criminals banished from their homeland in 1788. With the amalgamation of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South and Western Australia and Tasmania to form the state of Australia, independence followed in 1901.