country(…) The UN’s final round of mediation talks with the Australian representatives, which the Chinese boycotted, yielded the stunning conclusion to send the great majority of Australians back to their initial country of origin. They were, after all, a nation of immigrants. This proposal, the global dispersal and integration of a once proud nation’s population, raised a number of difficult issues, but detersive objections protesting the dilution of the Australian bloodline were not considered valid. It was widely believed that, given enough alcohol, Australians would willingly mate with anybody. The British, having gotten rid of their criminals once, were not keen to welcome them back. The Irish protested that they didn’t have enough potatoes to feed anyone extra, which had been the problem the first time around. The unenthusiastic South East Asian countries were threatened with sanctions by the IMF if they didn’t welcome home the people they’d illegally shunted off to Australia on boats in the first place. But the Italians and the Greeks, with their aging and failing populations, actually welcomed the idea. The Indians and Pakistanis agreed, provided they could have a couple of cricketers, and the East Europeans submitted a wish list of souvenirs they wanted, including a few koalas and kangaroos.

By means of exhaustive diplomacy, political coercion, and a globally televised Oz Aid concert at Wembley stadium, a fragile but workable compromise on a plan of action was reached. The émigré Australians, generally gregarious and easy going, fitted in well and were extremely popular. The UN congratulated itself on a job well done and everyone was happy. Immigrant populations around the globe, inspired by the possibilities, or disillusioned with where they were, started to uproot themselves and go home. The world’s other great immigrant population, the United States, found tens of millions giving up on The Last Best Hope for Mankind, the American Dream, and whole sections of that country’s population returned to Europe. Irish and Italian-Americans were joyously welcomed, the Russian and ex-communist bloc Jews certainly less so, and American politicians pored over world maps wondering who they could give their trailer trash to.

There were some problems. Portugal and Spain groaned with the influx of South and Latin Americans, exploited and impoverished Asians left the Middle East and half built Saudi skyscrapers fell down, and Siberia emptied as the victims of Stalin’s pogroms and resettlements went home. The Palestinians exacerbated years of delicate political wrangling by simply walking into Israel and sitting down, and some excitable Germans tried to go back to Poland until it was explained that, no, that was not the idea. (…)

© andrew wheeler

This post is an excerpt from The World Is Round. Read other entries in this category, or buy the book!