Welcome to another post of the We Are The World Blogfest where I’m just sneaking in before the clock ticks over to July. Please show your support to other #WATWB bloggers.
Australians are entering NAIDOC Week 2021. With the COVID Delta on the move, many Indigenous have opted out of in person and public events. But the memories and still there and the culture and stories are to be told. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are highly vulnerable to exotic viruses and particularly to the Corona virus.
But, there is this news from our state of South Australia:
‘Until recently Ngarrindjeri elder Stephanie Gollan had reservations about getting the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
But her feelings about the shot changed when she joined a program in Adelaide that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through the process.
It’s about “rewilding” in Scotland. I know, some of us still think Scotland is a little wild – in a good way! But this is about the natural ecological balance in this beautiful country.
Euronews tells us that:
‘Rewilding has become an increasingly popular movement in Scotland over the last few years. Politicians are being called on by the Scottish Rewilding Alliance (SWA) to create policies that would see the country become the world’s first “rewilding nation”.’
We find it’s not just the government though.
‘The Scottish public is behind the idea too. Last year the SWA commissioned a poll across Scotland which found widespread support for the principle of rewilding. More than three-quarters of people who expressed an opinion backed the concept, ten times as many as those who objected to it.‘
Let’s hope that they have some success. There are also some videos available on Youtube by searching “rewilding Scotland“, such as this one.
You can check out other posts from our #WATWB too!
To join this post you’ll need to hop on the bus! The Sleep Bus to be more exact. Not far from where I live, a city of Queanbeyan, NSW (Australia) has acquired a Sleep Bus.
Like many parts of the world we have issues here with homelessness. People who cannot find or fit in a home to live. The Sleep Bus movement provides a shower and short-term bunk accommodation for homeless people. A great idea.
You can check out a report from our Channel 9 Network that they posted to their Facebook Page.
You can hear more about Sleep Bus from their website, as their founder, Simon Rowe (what a first name!) talks you through with short video updates.
What a rolling, practical way to give some help to those needing somewhere to sleep.
“Bashar Hanna fled Iraq after the war and later set up a choir for others who have left their homelands. Amid the lasting mental health impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, he says he’s doing what he can to help.”
A choir member, Rula, is humming what turns out to be a tune “called Mother Earth, the lyrics describe living in peace, without war.”
The theme resonates with teacher, Bashar, and his student, Rula. Having both fled Bagdad as refugees it is consoling for them. This is because the COVID lockdowns led to these refugees reliving some of the traumas of the Gulf War.
So… Bashar “founded several art-based therapy groups including The Choir of Love, which partners with STARTTS, the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors.”
“Music, from my point of view, is a very powerful tool; it’s a language.” BASHAR HANNA
You can read more of the SBS news report about Bashar, Rula and others here.
The We Are The World Blogfest started around this time a few years ago and has continued on most months of each year. Please check out posts by our co-hosts and others. You can also follow #WATWB on all the main social media.
I don’t need to post a poem this time around as music is a poetic medium. We are so glad it is too!
These words were not easy to write. None of us like to be the “kill joy” to others bliss. But as with Mother’s and Father’s Days, Christmas, New Year and so on, Valentine’s Day can be a day of pain for some whom we know. As with those other days, on Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded of the tristesse of those who are widowed, divorced, abused, single and feel isolated and alone. That brings me to the second reason why these words were hard to write. To write them means to see the faces and feel something of the pain of those whom I know and some whom, in my own way, I do actually love. So for them… for those you know…. and for others too… Who speaks?
It’s almost hard to believe that we are in 2021. As Aussies down South (where I am) are coming through a heatwave, those in the North of our world are playing in the snow. We are all trying to do the best we can to both contain COVID and to keep connected.
The We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB is all about connecting us with good news. For the first month of 2021 our co-hosts are:
Living through the fires of Summer 2019-20 and across COVID into 2021 is itself good news. But this week we celebrated Australians of the Year. ‘Australia Day’ itself is being debated. Which is also good news for free speech as people search for the reasons of who we are and what we stand for.
In the midst of that I present recipients of Australians of the Year under four categories. These are people who shine a light for the way of humanity.
Senior Australian of the Year:
“Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, an Aboriginal elder from the Nauiyu community in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory, is an artist, activist, writer and public speaker. “
Young Australian of The Year:
“At the age of 18, Isobel Marshall, from Adelaide, and her school friend Eloise Hall set up a social enterprise to end the stigma around menstruation and improve access to female hygiene products.”
Australian Local hero:
“Kenyan-born Rosemary Kariuki, from Oran Park southwest of Sydney, fled family abuse and violence in her home country in 1999. She became a multicultural community liaison officer with Parramatta Police in 2005, helping migrants fleeing domestic violence.”
Australian of the Year:
“Grace Tame was 15 years old when she was first groomed and raped by her 58-year-old maths teacher, who was later found guilty and jailed for his crimes. But while her abuser was able to speak publicly about the case, Ms Tame was gagged by an archaic law in Tasmania that prevents victims of sexual abuse from identifying themselves. With the help of the #LetHerSpeak campaign, Ms Tame applied to the Supreme Court for the right to publicly self-identify – and won.”
Prose addendum: Here’s a fun fact for reader’s. My maternal Grandfather, Patrick Anthony Thomas “Pat” O’Reilly, was known to write verses for his mates at bowls and in the then local newpaper. He died on 1 December in the early 1950s. On 1 December 2020 I woke to the beginnings of this poem rattling around inside me!
I have long been interested in people and culture. We have such a vast array of them in our world. At times our “otherness” can lead to competition and conflict. At others we enrich each other in our variety.
So when I saw that the Australian ABC had this story on their ABC Life list, I had to have a look. It can be used for other aspects of social media but they have applied to racism.
There are four suggestions. I’ll provide a taster quote for each one and you can go to the link yourselves at your leisure.
Suggestion One: Setting Firm Boundaries for Yourself
“This can include your engagement on social media, who you deal with and how you deal with them,” says Naarm-based counsellor Tigist Kebede.
She has some simple advice to start with.
“Log off. Especially in times of distress or where you feel overwhelmed, having contained periods where you use social media can be life-changing.”For more.
Suggestion Two: Connection is Key
Whether it’s spending more time with (biological or chosen) family, finding a mentor in your workplace or seeking out online communities, prioritise connections with people who share a base-level understanding of what you’re going through.
“Connection — whether it’s to community, to an individual, to others — is about finding your people,” Ms Kebede says.
“It’s not just because they’re the same colour but because they understand your experiences that you can share the load with them.”More on connection.
Suggestion Three: Give Yourself Space to Feel
Experiencing racism can overwhelm us with anger, anxiety and pain. It can impact us in many ways: mentally, physically and spiritually.
Rather than bury your feelings, “check in with yourself” is Ms Kebede’s advice.
In Professor Carlson’s experience, it’s Indigenous peoples’ ability to see the funny side that often helps them deal with the repetitive trauma of “another day in the colony”, to quote Dr Chelsea Bond.
Deploying humour has become a powerful tool for Indigenous social media users to speak back to racist and non-factual online commentary.
“That’s something I love about our mob, being able to see the irony. You get people saying ‘Australia was colonised peacefully’ — well, you can show just how laughable that is by turning it into a meme like [the Facebook page] Blackfulla Revolution does so well.”More on reclaiming.
There is more to the article than what I have gratuitously cut and paste from ABC Life. The link is in each quote.
As I was preparing this post some other words were forming. Below is an excerpt and link.