black diggers


I went to see Black Diggers at the Arts Centre with a friend last night who had free tickets – profoundly moving – literally telling the story of Aboriginal people who signed up to fight in the World Wars, painting their names high, drawing on postcards and letters home and journals.  The performances were authentic because the stories were true.  Mindful of how the other entertainments we consume – TV, reality TV, Facebook, Twitter… are shallow.  I click “like” on my housemates posts but I don’t see her for meals or ask her about her day.  This is the year of the ANZAC centenary… on one hand we might imagine there aren’t many around anymore to share their stories but there are the children who might remember… as, as the play pointed out, war is still being fought – for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander (ATSI) peoples and on foreign soil.  What are you fighting for?

A lot of us might say we’re peaceable people, not fighting for anything, but there’s a difference between conscientious objection and unconscious apathy.  You think because you are inactive you are inert but you are not.  If your ass is where your hope is an your ass is in front of the TV or the Playstation then your hope is in people and places and stories of people who do not exist… hoping another Stark doesn’t die in Game of Thrones or hoping a child doesn’t spend time in detention…

You might think, “It’s not MY problem” about the treatment of: ATSI peoples; refugees; those on Centrelink – pull one string and you will find the rest of the world attached but TV doesn’t come with any strings right? …except those that tie you to your seat immobile – bind your legs from walking in solidarity, bind your hands from helping, bind your lips from speaking out.  You have a choice to make it personal.  You are not friends with one refugee?  with one Aboriginal person?  with anyone who receives Centrelink?  …what does this say about you?  Do you spend any time with anyone who isn’t just like you?  It’s easy to be fair, inclusive, generous hey… when it’s to people just like you.  Of course you’re a good person.  You’re a good person to people just like you.

Songs and stories and names and voices… we are called to love one another.  How can you love who you do not know?  I am not unreasonable…


You heard me.  Move from your sofa at least… maybe even from your street… or your neighbourhood.  We are told the poor will always be with us and thank God for that because there is much we need to learn from them.

…Fifty years on the shrapnel works its way to the surface.  The pain will come out eventually – that needs to happen before wounds can fully heal.

How can we heal pain faster?

How can we reduce how much pain is felt?

How can we eliminate pain being afflicted in the first place?

But you aren’t in any pain are you… there in front of your TV… we should probably cut the funding to the public health care system.  No one I know needs it.  What a waste of my tax paying dollars.