HERBERT, XAVIER

HERBERT, XAVIER – Letter to C. B. Christensen, 19 October 1941, Meanjin Archives, Baillieu Library, University of Melb

Although I am madly patriotic, I am bored by talk of ‘Nationalism’. What is Nationalism but the football-team spirit? Actually I hate Australians. I hate their faces, with those long Punch noses… & their cruel thin lips & moron’s brows & hooded idiot’s eyes. Yet I can turn to them in relief & love from contemplating the juicy faces of Pommies. I loathe Englishmen so much, that I can tell their footprints (bare feet of course) & about their tracks there is to me something obscene. Oh, I’m not a bit practical about my patriotism. Here’s an example. Some years ago, in the town of Darwin, I rushed out of my house in the middle of the night & attacked a number of drunken Pommy sailors (off a British warship) who were piddling in the street. I rushed upon them roaring, ‘How dare you piss on my country!’ Fortunately they bolted.

HERBERT, XAVIER - Letter to C. B. Christensen, 19 October 1941, Meanjin Archives, Baillieu Library, University of Melb

HERBERT, XAVIER – The Bulletin Literary Supplement, 1 November 1983

Until we give back to the Blackman just a bit of the land that was his and give it back without provisos, without strings to snatch it back, without anything but complete generosity of spirit in concession for the evil we have done him – until we do that, we shall remain what we have always been so far, a people without integrity; not a nation but a community of thieves.

HERBERT, XAVIER - The Bulletin Literary Supplement, 1 November 1983