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« Anzac Day 2: 'Lest We Forget (Manus)' | Main | China in the Pacific: where there’s smoke, there’s mirrors »

25 April 2018


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I attended the same school as Wilfrid Owen.

The school motto was Doctus in se semper divitius habet - A wise man always has riches within himself.

Birkenhead Institute in Whetstone Lane has long since gone and was amalgamated with the Grange Secondary School at Tollemache Road near Bidston in Birkenhead North End, a stone's throw from Laird Street, where the immortal Dixie Dean was born.

The comprehensive school was demolished and replaced by a housing estate, which features a Wilfred Owen Way.

A lot to reflect on after reading Richard Flanagan's full address - poignant and revisiting important questions to be considered as we all try to make sense of Australia today.

Although, seeing the following article yesterday morning made my heart sink:

As did Charlie Lynn's comments (overnight via Twitter) about the absence of Australian PM representation/Federal MPs in attendance at this year's ANZAC Dawn Service at Bomana War Cemetery.

In his address, Flanagan refers to statements made by Galarrwuy Yunupingu. Along with the Uluru Statement From the Heart, a longer excerpt of Yunupingu's words appears in Mark McKenna's Quarterly Essay: 'Moment of Truth, History and Australia's Future'.

Clear messages from some of the voices of indigenous Australia, the First Nations.

"What Aboriginal people ask is that the modern world now makes the sacrifices necessary to give us a real future. To relax it's grip on us. To let us breathe, to let us be free of the determined control on us to make us like you...

"Let us be who we are - Aboriginal people in a modern world - and be proud of us. Acknowledge that we have survived the worst that the past has thrown at us, and we are here with our songs, our ceremonies, our land, our language and our people - our full identity.

"What a gift this is that we can give you, if you choose to accept us Inn a meaningful way." (Galrrwuy Yunupingu, 2016)

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