Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Morning Musings - national parks, a sense of Aboriginal exclusion with a dash of Wallabies

In my irregular train reading series, Train Reading - the journeys of I-Ching, looked at one aspect of the history of South East Asia inspired by Reginald Le May's The culture of South-East Asia (George Allen and Unwin, second impression 1956). Now a rather remarkable story, Lost horizons: mediaeval city uncovered, reports on the discovery of another and earlier Khmer city, Mahendraparvata, built 350 years before Angkor Wat.

I have been hanging off a follow up story until I found the CD with the Cambodian photos. Hopefully, I will find it as my current tidying up continues. If you haven't read the Lost horizons story, do so. Ain't science grand?!

My old friend and blogging companion Paul Barratt and  I share many commo0n views. Sometimes we disagree. I suspect that this is one such case, for Paul referred me to this piece in The Conservation, Making national parks truly national. I think that this is one of the silliest pieces of special pleading that I have seen, so silly I don't even know where to begin a response. I guess that there will be a post in due course, but in the meantime have a read.

By the way, do you ever get confused on the "left/right" political spectrum? I know that I do. In terms of the pop classifications, one minute I'm hard right, next left, after that in the middle! I have reasonably consistent views in terms of my own principles, but the world shifts around me.

First Nations Telegraph is a free Aboriginal on-line news service that is, and I quote, "100% Owned & Operated by Our Mob" that is " Keeping Our Mob Connected." One of my Facebook friends writes for it.In a comment on his Facebook page he wrote "Should journalism and activism be mutually exclusive?". The answer is no, of course, but its not as clear cut as that.

I will come back to this in a later post, but in the meantime something that worries me at a personal level since I became so exposed to certain Aboriginal views. Bluntly, where do I fit in, if at all?

I am non-Aboriginal, I work with Aboriginal people all the time, I have written a lot on Aboriginal history, I try to make Aboriginal history and culture more accessible to Aboriginal people and the broader community, I have had some successes. Yet in all this, I struggle.

If Aboriginal people cannot make someone like me feel that I have a place in their world, how are they going to convince the general Australian community that Aboriginal history and society should have a special place in the broader Australia? Maybe I should explore this Wallabiesat some point properly. You can't break a ghetto by creating one.

Mmm, as a friend would say. Just a thought.

Loved this photo from Australia. Talk about Wallabies jumping! It's just so Australian.

Well, I'm running out of time. I haven't spoken of politics nor the Australian economy, but perhaps they can wait.

I have set this major writing targets for this weekend, but find that I just want to chat! But I can't do that, can I?


Anonymous said...

The left-right spectrum is so relative. To someone from northern Europe, every party in Australia is far-right except the Greens would be middle-right. To someone from America, every party in Australia would be unthinkably leftist.

Jim Belshaw said...

Not sure about your European example, anon, but am sure that your general point is right.

Anonymous said...

Not knowing Aboriginal subjects well enough I can only express my personal feelings without any authority but views regarding this issue I have and suspect they are not politically correct. I also wonder in what way Aboriginal people open their world to other Australians. I do not feel invited there at all. Seeing expressions like “our mob” makes my feelings stronger. Non-Aboriginal Australians show guilt regarding events of the past and Aboriginal communities show their hurt being sometimes aggressive in expressing it. Guilty and victims. This does not seem to be a good basis for mutual understanding leading to all of us becoming one nation. At the same time I believe that there are good intentions on both sides and there is a hope for positive change. Great that we talk about it.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi AC. I can understand and appreciate expressions like our mob, but I do struggle when the result is another exclusion. We do need to talk about it.