Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sorry. One of the best pieces of writing from the lawn

My colleague Andree Stephens in this morning's Canberra Times.

You could brush past a woman, smile, get chatting and discover that "Aunt Chrissy" was a stolen baby.

Taken at nine months from her Bundjalung people near Maclean in Northern NSW and deposited in the Bomaderry Children's Home until she was 16.

It was that easy, that simple.

Turn and look and there was another story, and another and another.

Thousands of stories gathered on the lawns of Parliament House yesterday, being shared with strangers, friends, relatives.

To say Australia has been in some inexplicable denial for the past century is an understatement.

To suggest it "never happened", or that we must forget that past, an even more curious problem-solving tactic.

Here they were, generations of Aboriginal people side by side with non-indigenous Australians a melting pot of nations Asian, Indian, African, European, Anglo Saxon old, young, frail, cheeky, loud, happy, white, brown.

There were children on bikes, old couples with folding chairs, suited-up public servants, schoolchildren, hippies, activists the deep tones of didgeridoos pulsing through hearts....