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Dear Pauline Hanson...

28/11/2016 10:46

G'day Pauline,

Loved your work here.

Yianni Agisilaou here. Long time listener, first time caller. Of Greek origin, you might be able to tell from the name. And it's a good thing too, cause you wouldn't be able to tell from my footy-loving, barbie eating, fully integrated second generation Aussie behaviour. And may I say, it's a breath of fresh air to have you back in the Senate to represent the interests of integrated Aussies such as myself, my brother (he's even synthesised multiple waves of Australian immigration, he likes meat pies AND yum cha!), my cousins (well not all of them, Michalis has been a bit of a long time hold out. He likes soccer, but he still calls it football, Les Murray style.)

By the way, you're spot on about Greek and Italian immigrants copping the wog thing sweet over a period of twenty to thirty years. And you couldn't be more right that rather than a war of attrition won by sheer persistence of presence, that it was definitely people's freedom to insult us by calling us wogs that led to that integration.

Ask my Mum about it, she'll tell you that people at her school openly calling her and those like her a wog and treating her much worse than the Anglo students rapidly helped her to feel like a valued part of the rich Aussie tapestry. And that was just the teachers! I'm not even joking. The students were even worse, almost as if people take behavioural cues from their leaders. Now you'd think that an authority figure treating students that way might cause a child of 9 or 10 to actually feel like an outsider, shunned, unwanted and mistreated. On an extreme scale it might even cause certain children to feel radicalised to the point where they don't feel a part of the country at all and lash out at it. But that of course is just pinko bullshit. I've had it up to here with tolerance and it's high time that someone like you, a descendant of the second wave of Australians that started coming in 1788 speaks for people like myself, a descendant of the third wave of Australians and tells the fourth wave of Australians how to behave. It'd be nice to hear from the first wave every now and then since they've been Aussies since before we (oh, sorry, Greeks) drew up the blueprints to the Parthenon, what happened to those guys? They've been copping it pretty sweet too.

When I was a child in the early 1980s, I would go to the playground near my Yiayia (sorry, Nan's) house. She lived in Fawkner, a suburb of Melbourne where there was a community of wogs, or as we call them now, Greek Australians, or as their passports call them, Australians. My Papou (shit, sorry...Pop) worked on the assembly line at Ford, with many other wogs and also some skips, or as they're all known these days, Australians. I would go down to the playground and play on the slide, the monkey bars and this thing that I never knew what to call. It was an enclosed capsule, there were seats and a steering wheel inside and when you turned the steering wheel, the whole thing rotated. Anyhoo, the entire inside of this thing, whatever it was called was covered in graffiti and, once I was old enough to read it, I realised that in amongst the suggestion that if one were looking for a good time one might call Mike on 359-7523, the rest of the graffiti was all variations on two main statements. Either "SKIPS RULE, WOGS PULL" or "WOGS RULE, SKIPS PULL"

Now I didn't know what pulling was (for non Australians, it's slang for self-love). It seemed like pulling was what I was doing to the steering wheel to make the capsule turn. I didn't know what a wog was, and I didn't know what a skip was, except for something girls did to travel faster, and the reason that I sometimes didn't get a turn in UNO.

I decided to ask my Mum. "What's a wog?"
"Well, you're a wog Yianni. That's what Australians call Greek and Italian people"
"Oh", I replied. "Should I call Yiayia and Papou wogs?"
"Well, no." explained Mum. "It's something people say because they don't like you."

Well Pauline, you are right. I've never felt more accepted in my entire life. Mum went on to add "But it's important that we take it in good humour, since we were here third, and the people who say it were here second. Also, in about 8 years time there'll be a stage show and a few years after that a TV show where some of us reclaim the word and then 20 years after that a woman with a history of intolerance will co-opt that action to disempower the next victims on the seemingly never ending assembly line of Aussie bigotry." And wasn't she spot on? I only wish she'd told me the Tattslotto numbers.

But of course this isn't the same as what you're talking about. Given the fact that both sides were graffitiing the inside of the capsule in the play equipment, they clearly both used the play equipment, and thus both ethnic groups had integrated into Australian culture, being the use and graffiti of play equipment. And this is what you're trying to get through the oversensitive heads of these idiotic latte sipping softcocks, that it was THROUGH that constant abuse and conflict, beginning with my parents at school, and flowing through the playground near my Nan's house and on through being called a wog during my own schooling at Scotch College (I know right? Now THAT'S integration!) it came to be thus, that Italians and Greeks became the integrated, everyday Aussies that we see today. And all of us, Smiths, Stephanopouloses and Panuccis alike, lived happily ever after.

But these mussies eh? Have you ever seen one at a playground? I haven't. And you're bloody right Pauline. It's this PC cult's insistence that we respect them and not call them ISIS or terrorists that is the problem these days. It's just ribbing! Which is why everyone needs to cool it on the hand wringing about the emails and death threats to Lebanese MP Anne Aly in the light of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's comments that ex Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser made a mistake allowing Lebanese immigration to Australia 30 years ago. The emails telling her to 'go home and take your terrorist friends with you' and that 'I would love to kill you and your poison family.' These aren't as they might appear to thin skinned crybabies a direct threat to a person and her family on the basis of prejudice and the usual dog whistle bullshit of judging an entire group of people by their bad apples. No, they're just good natured, fun loving Aussie integration.

Look Pauline. You seem to be a straight talker, or at least you think yourself to be. So for the avoidance of confusion and just in case you've not grasped the nuance of what I've written, since nuance doesn't seem to really be your thing, allow me to SPELL OUT WHAT I REALLY MEAN.

I have no doubt that you are genuine in your beliefs. I have no doubt that you represent the views of a certain portion of the Australian electorate. Indeed, that is what the proportional representation of the Senate provides.

But be clear on this. You don't represent me. And using Greek and Italian immigrants as an example of some kind of 'seamless' integration and as a justification for aggressive name calling, victimisation and scapegoating because it champions some invented idea of rough and tumble Aussie hazing is not only insulting to those people like myself (and moreso my parent's and grandparent's generations) who had to go through it, it also suffers from the fact that it is Grade-A revisionist bullshit. Greek and Italian immigrants didn't integrate because they were insulted and took it well, they were integrated when the insults stopped.

I know you won't care, and you'll have plenty of 'Angry REAL (post 1788) Australians' who will cry libtard, cuck or whatever other hateful, dismissive alt-right epithet is popular in the Internet's angry corners these days.

But please don't include me, my kind and our journey through the intolerance that seems to be the inevitable rite of passage of everyone that comes to this great country (except the Brits). Please don't pretend to be a friend of mine and to pull Greeks and Italians into the bosom of your narrow view of what Australia is because we took your punches for a generation, like we had a choice. Because I know that if you'd been a Senator in the 1950s you would have given the exact same speech you've given twice already.

'I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Greeks and Italians'

So give it a rest sister. The level of entitlement, hypocrisy and vitriol in your statements is staggering. And just because people agree with you doesn't make it any more justifiable. Just at least have the backbone to stand up and say 'We want our way, we're scared and we don't like these people.' At least people will respect you for being honest. But stop pretending to have principles and CERTAINLY stop pretending to be victims.

Peace out.

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