~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

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Archive for the ‘Sorry’ Category

The Virus. An Australian Story.

Posted by carolom on March 13, 2017

The Virus is a representative story and although the names and some of the details have been changed for narrative purpose, it is a true story.

The Virus. An Australian Story

I was 5 or 6 years old a migrant child of parents who were swept away from the sooty chimney towns of Britain’s working class north by the promises of a bright new life in a young country.
A country brimming, spilling and erupting with extraordinary  opportunities for people, white people, who dreamt of owning their very own land. Australia.

We were the ten pound package , government assisted, chance of a life time Brits who flocked in their thousands to these shores and landed like sparkling white seagulls

Noisy chattering seagulls, filling the migrant hostels with stories and speculations, big plans on low bank accounts. New arrivals on  the look out for the best morsels of the promised opportunities.

Poms they called us, the latest flock of new arrivals following in the footsteps of the exiled convicts and our sea faring ancestors who came to seize new territory in a land that was not young at all.

Big skies, wide streets, pupil dazzling light. Brand new asbestos houses far removed from the tall sooty terrace flats cramped side by side back Home.

We staggered wearily, eagerly into government issue houses that nestled expectantly in the middle of tiny little paddocks. Neatly sliced quarter acre blocks that beckoned the new arrivals to seed a brand new life and sow a future far removed from the misty grey land where the sun rarely shines.

This was The Lucky Country and we thought that we were very lucky indeed! There was much to learn and many new things to see and for awhile my migrant child’s world was consumed with more space,  new friends, big school, new sounds, interesting sights and beach time delights!

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In fact we were so immersed in our new life we were utterly, completely, mind numbingly oblivious to the Land where we were living.

That is when the virus struck.

I remember the day it happened.

Unlike those silent viruses that sit invisibly on taps waiting to hitch a ride on fingertips that brush past lips, this insidious, relentless, sickening parasite travelled effortlessly upon the breath transmitted upon invisible sound waves, elusive in their source, the destination always the same.

It was very hard for young children to escape a germ such as that!

I was standing by the milk shed when the virus struck.

The current host was a plump red freckly boy called George. He was no doubt named after a king, an uncle or grandfather back Home .

The kids called George names like dot-face and carrot top.
Giggling and laughing, George entertained us by pulling faces and joining in the fun. His best friend stood with us. Peter Green, an Australian boy who was fond of saying “we go back 6 generations”, even though he didn’t really know what it meant. His father said it all the time so it must have been important.

Peter was teaching George the real Australian way!

We were standing in the cool shade, a rare find across the sweltering expanse of the asphalt playground when the virus emerged and the first cross infection occurred.

In a loud voice that announced his cockney origins wherever he went, George sang out four words in the mocking tone of a confident child: Dirty coon, rotten baboon.

Four words that speared my consciousness and left a tender wound, a vulnerable space to host a virus that I was too young to fight.

Georges words invoked contempt.  A voracious contempt that swept through the crowded school yard as quickly as it took to catch one another’s breath. I followed Georges eyes and saw the object of his loathing.
Curly haired Lindy and her little brother Jimmy the Aboriginal kids.

The Blacks. 

Lindy and Jimmy stood out from the sea of white faces. Shiny black birds surrounded by vicious seagulls. They stood holding the eyes of their attacker whilst holding tightly onto one another’s hand.

Jimmy leaned towards his big sister terrified that the big kid with the flaming red hair was about to lunge and squash him then and there.

They were the outcast kids. The Abo’s who were never ever invited to play our games.

Peter smiled at George approvingly and one or two others snickered our way as the virus twisted itself across children’s faces annihilating the anti-bodies of innocence, feasting upon the collective enjoyment of someone else being teased.

This particularly robust virus had its own language.

After coon followed different words boong-boong –that’s the noise they make when the bull bar hits them.

Before long other children joined in the heckling until a bubonic plague of racist torment swamped us all in its vitriolic grip.

That was the day I learnt a new A, B C. The uniquely Australian alphabet.

A. B. C.

Abo
Boong
Coon.

This was the Australian alphabet I was infected with as a child.

In the Lucky Country, a  magnificent land older than the mountains,  with Secrets winding back through time, something terrible occurred.

A virus was unleashed but it was in circulation long before our little family travelled to the down under shores.

What became of Lindy and Jimmy? Innocent children who were called half castes, treated as out casts. Removed from their Mother, kidnapped before her very eyes.She grieved until she died only a few years later.
Thanks to the power of forgiveness and decency and common sense, strong medicines for curing the malaise of toxic tongues and the virus that leaves many deaf and mute and blind, Lindy and Jimmy and I became friends.
Precious friends and together we are all in recovery from the virus that strikes so many innocent children down.

Unity updated
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Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, Australia's abuse of human rights, Carol Omer, Racism, racism in australia, Reconciliation, Relationships, Sorry | Leave a Comment »

Sorry Day- This is what Katrina and Carol felt on the day…

Posted by carolom on February 14, 2008

A picture paints a thousand words and we all shared many tears and smiles and hugs on this historical, momentus day.  katrina-and-carol.jpg 

Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, Change, Community, Dreaming, Family, Forgiveness, Healing, Humor, Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri, Oneness, Reconciliation, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, Sorry, Sorry Day Feb 2008, Spirituality, Stories, Transformation, Unity, Wisdom | Leave a Comment »

“Sorry”…..and “Thankyou”…

Posted by carolom on January 31, 2008

The “Sorry” issue regarding the abuse of Human Rights in Australia against the Aboriginal nations since the invasion of traditional lands and subsequent occupation (”Colonisation”) is one of the most pressing issues in Australia today.

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As the internet flooded with debate / support / opposition and a tsunami of ill informed opinions and the quick sand of racist stereotyping I was reminded of the words of my friend Katrina Power, a Nurrunga~Ngarindjerri~Kaurna woman who said “there hasn’t been first contact yet”, referring to how the original violence and oppression meant that true “contact” did not occur. Contact in the form of mutual respect, discussion, negotiation and partnership as should be expected when one lot of people arrive uninvited into the home of another.

So I decided to have a “Thankyou” Day in amongst the hoo ha and emotional politics of the announcement that the official Sorry will occur on February 13th 2008.

I was pleased that the ABC Opinions page featured my letter in its entirety.

…………………………………..

Thank You Day

Australia Day is Invasion Day for some.

Well, I am going to declare “Thankyou Day” for my Aboriginal friends and colleagues.

• Thankyou for caring for the land for so many thousands of years and demonstrating the importance of living in harmony with nature’s laws

• Thankyou to the Elders who are the custodians of the Dreaming Stories, the ‘genesis’ of this great land that contain so much that 21st century Australia needs to know about balance, harmony and respect

• Thankyou to the Women in the centre who do the night patrol and who work tirelessly to put things right

• Thankyou to young Aboriginal Australians like Tania Major who are called from a very young age to serve community over the interests of the individual self

• Thankyou to all of the Bringing Them Home counsellors who spend their whole working life assisting the Stolen Generation to find their family and to deal with the deep grief of loss and trauma

• Thankyou to the organisers of the State Aboriginal Sports Carnival – a significant sporting event that received no mainstream media coverage in 2007, in spite of being a rich pool of emerging talent that the major leagues draw from

• Thankyou to the sisterhood shown by the members of the Aboriginal women’s group who have endured the loss of two, young members in recent times, reflecting the reality of the impact of Aboriginal people dying many years sooner than others

• Thankyou to all of the Aboriginal people I have met who demonstrate time and again resilience and tenacity in the face of systemic racism, many exiled by farming and mining interest from their home country and sacred places.

I’m very sorry that most non-Aboriginal people have had few personal connections and even fewer role models and teachers from the Aboriginal community and may never know the depth of knowledge, wisdom and spirituality that defines traditional Aboriginal ways

.…………………………

…….…and a very special Thankyou Nungala , a survivor and cultural warrior of the Stolen Generation who is there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for family and community.

Thankyou sister for not only having the strength to heal but the courage to walk with others on their journey of grief, loss and recovery.Love You….. you inspirational Mimini~Goddess extraordinaire with fantastic hair!!

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Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, Community, Family, Forgiveness, Justice, Sorry, Spirituality, Transformation | Leave a Comment »