Saturday, August 07, 2004

A Sense of Proportion - Part Three

I told you that story as an introduction to the following stream-of-consciousness fragment, from the week after the 'Sorry' march across the Harbour Bridge in 2000, which was titled, in my scruffy notebook, 'In case I am asked what I think of Sunday's March':

We live is a society that has no sense of moral proportion.
There is not just good and evil; there is good, better, better still, better than that, and better than that again.
In the last year millions of people have suffered and died in Africa and Latin America because of the practice of usury; tens of thousands of my countrymen have been killed for no other reason but that they were inconvenient; tens of thousands of people have been killed in the senseless war between Eritrea and Ethiopia- my moral rule comes from the Prophets, and I can only think of what might have been if 250 000 people had marched for John Howard to tale a role in mediating the war in the Horn of Africa; for limits to abortion; for debt remediation.
We are like a man coming to take possession of our family house in Freetown. The windows are shot out, there are white ants in the walls, there are holes in the ceiling, excrement on the kitchen floor, and upstairs someone is being raped. We dust off an old family photo that has survived somehow and it on the dining room table; we have done a good thing. Maybe it is a neccessary first step. I don't know.
O Lord, am I such a cynic? Please give this world a SENSE OF PROPORTION!
We get our sense of proportion from the media. We are outraged at whatever Mr Murdoch wants us to be outraged at; we are sheep.

And, on the next page:

I was lying awake last night wandering what bothered me about this Reconciliation Movement, this quarter of a million people crossing the Sydney harbour Bridge. I cannot think of any part of it I am opposed to; Aden Ridgeway supports it, and I admire him tremendously. We white people did awful things.
I thought that in the last few years, probably as many children as the Stolen Generation have died in the country where my mother was born because it has to service its foreign debt. All those little Marias and Salvadors dying in little villages on the altiplano without any doctors. Each one somebody's baby, that somebody loves like I love my son. And I thought of my son growing up into a young man, growing up good and strong and clever and tall and going off to die in a ditch in the desert; and I thought of all the children who their parents never wanted to know, who were murdered by their parents right here in Sydney, because they were incovenient, and no one will prosecute them, and not one of my friends will say they were wrong, because we have no sense of moral proportion.
Lord, save us from this lunacy.
Why do religious people argue with other religious people?
Why do people who do good argue with other people who do good?
Because people who do good might be people who do better; they show promise; and the fertile field is where we must work, not the barren.

I do not have tears enough for all the world.

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