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I wish the yoga sage Patanjali, whose writing I’ve been reflecting on in this blog for many months, had a wise aphorism to steer me towards a proper demeanor for January 26th. Should I join with the indigenous people lamenting the occupation of this country by Europeans in the 18th century or should I happily celebrate the Australia Day holiday as the ‘New Australian’ of 37 years, which I am?
I think I did the right thing today in going along to see the STC’s wonderful rendition of Kate Grenville’s award winning book, ‘The Secret River’. I got to reflect on the sorry plight of freed English convicts trying to create a better life for themselves in a new land – and how that was never going to work at the expense of annihilating huge numbers of native people.
I know there are no easy answers to the relations between whites and blacks in Australia, in the same way race problems are deeply embedded in the USA. Maybe truly cultivating the quality of ‘ahimsa’ – non-violence – is a good start.
We were blessed to discover after our theatre outing that, right around the corner from the STC, there was a fee twilight concert with Geoffrey Gurrumul. This gifted man, blind from birth, sings his heart out, and sings his country into life for all to feel and appreciate. His songs seem to me to be a message of love. What a great thing it would be if that was what this day was about – love for the country and love for each other.