I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which this piece was written today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past and present.
Today we will be exploring what it means to forgive and what it means to reconcile.
Let’s look up the definitions.
- to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
- to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
- to grant pardon to (a person).
- an act of reconciling, as when former enemies agree to an amicable truce.
- the state of being reconciled, as when someone becomes resigned to something not desired.
- the process of making consistent or compatible.
This week is a time once a year when the focus is on how lucky we are to be in this country.
As an immigrant myself like (98%) of Australia’s population I feel very blessed to be in a country that is peaceful, prosperous and for the most part a wonderful place.
I remember spending a week in a township just north of Cairns called Yarrabah helping run a childrens program with my church, yes that’s me dressed up as a clown.
It was a wonderful time to get to know more about a culture I was not very exposed to, growing up in an Afro-Caribbean family in London I knew a lot about my culture despite being thousands of miles from my ancestral place.
When I arrived in New Zealand for the first time I learned a lot about their culture, language, and customs. It was taught in school, the news was presented in the language of the land. There was a definite strong representation of their culture.
When I arrived in Australia, it was quite different, I would get small snippets of culture, at art galleries with paintings in the 10s of thousands, or a 30-minute program on NITV. But not until I got to the township did I really get to experience this vibrant and wonderful history. I learned about the hundreds of nations that make up the one we call our own.
I remember seeing some 6 or 7-year-olds throwing rocks at something on the beach only to be told later they were scaring away the local 8ft croc. Best leave it to the experts!
So Forgiveness Vs Reconciliation.
To forgive is to choose to let go of a past injustice.
I forgave my old housemate for eating my tim-tams, I know right! You understand why he is now my “old Housemate”.
But we reconciled when he brought me back some Lindt chocolate of his own free will. I didn’t expect anything back after I forgave but he recognised his error and made amends.
When the person who did wrong makes it right.
Now before I hear “I didn’t do it” or “that was 300 years ago” Yes, you are right it was. But there are still imbalances that are still affecting Australians today.
This documentary by John Piliger explores those imbalances and starts a conversation about the country that we live in. It tells us a little about the Oldest continuous culture in the world. Before Egypt, Ethiopia, China, India, The Mayans, Greece, Rome and all those that have come since.
Some areas have seen improvement and I commend the work of everyone who has worked at achieving this. But we still have a way to go.