Saturday, May 19, 2007
The spirit of reconciliation. The spirit of Australia.
Brough and the boys don't get it - but others do. John Howard talks about "practical reconciliation". He hasn't a clue.
Miss Eagle doesn't pretend to have answers - but she has always felt that true reconciliation between Aboriginal people and colonising settlers will come when we are able to go in and out of one another's houses and have a cup of tea together. Because it is in this way that we get to know one another, hear one another's stories, and get involved in the lives of each other. This is reconciliation which comes out of the official sphere and out of councils and committees and becomes truly personal, truly practical.
Sure there is room for leadership in the councils and committees and they have carried us far - and could continue to do so, particularly if Howard had continued the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. But there is no substitute for personal involvement and person to person getting to know you neighbourliness.
A pipe dream you may think, dear Reader? Time alone will tell.
But Miss Eagle thinks that programs like the AFL has put in place and the Goulburn Valley program have real chances of impacting positively the lives of individuals. One of the reasons why these programs will have success, Miss E believes, is that they are not imposed by impersonal fiat. They are worked out with Aboriginal people themselves. They are developed with their and shared interests in mind. They bring the hearts of people together to work for a common goal.
The Howard Government has never, in ten years of government, provided leadership in Aboriginal matters. Fortunately - or should that read unfortunately - the Australian Government is not the whole story of this nation. Australian leadership is not tied up in governments and bureaucracies. It resides in the spirit of its people. This spirit has had its moments in the last decade or two when personal greed and xenophobia seem to have become priorities in this nation. But everyday goodness and reason will have its way.
Miss Eagle is indebted to Antony at Coming to the Quiet for the following quote - sage words in season.
What else will do except faith in such a cynical, corrupt time? When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word. What is the last word, then? Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids—all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. ~Garrison Keillor