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'Mail' Newspaper Articles

Australia Day-- A personal reflection.

By Graeme Dawson

Official celebrations were on a grander scale than ever before, but being a little skeptical, I'm sure that the concept of the long weekend appealed to us more than those official functions. In my reflection I sit in a dilemma between heart, mind and apathy. I'm well aware that not all in our great country held celebrations. The families of those who saw no hope and took their own lives would have found it hard to celebrate. I can understand 'stolen' indigenous Australians having little to celebrate in a 'white conqueror's' event. And I'm sure that the Woomera detainee's day did not hold celebrity status. Yet I have sympathy with our leaders. Ratings soared during the 'Tampa' crisis, dived when the world's voices cried out for justice, and then rose to 90% approval as tested on 'A Current Affair' last week. However I am heartened to see a new thrust of inclusiveness with the opening of the Birrarung Marr parkland. The Eddie Mabo's of the world would have been smiling from the grave. How encouraging and empowering it was for the local tribe to hand over access rights to the people of Victoria with a smoking ceremony. Maybe we are at last listening to the voices of Midnight Oil and Bono as they cried out for justice, human rights and equal values for our indigenous folk and the marginalised of the world. And I'm glad to see the Church is at last owning up to contributing to broken lives through former inappropriate ways used, as they tried to 'help'. Maybe they and our community today should have listened to Jesus' radical words of compassion: 'Go the extra mile', 'If you have two coats give one someone in need', 'if you want to save your life give it away'. At this point I pulled the good book down from the shelf and turned to the words of God's prophet, Micah, (700yrs BC). His words to the people of his day are as applicable for us today. "Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before your God". Maybe true Australian celebration should include a demonstration of those three ingredients. I hope you and I can to continue to struggle to resolve our dilemma in 2002.

For publication 29/01/02.






 

Focal Point Yarra Valley 2009