july 18 2013
It was a windy night. Clouds moving so fast overhead – grey masses flying past blue and pink of the sunset. My signs began flying almost as fast – and then the candles too. But after a few rearrangements I found a way to keep them all on the ground!
Last night it seemed that people were rushing past just as fast as the clouds – heads down, necks unmoving, fixed, and legs determinedly marching straight ahead, straight ahead, straight ahead.
The wind made me jumpy. I imagined how terrifying it must be on the ocean in a gale like this. I imagined the anxiety too of people sitting in tents on Manus Island – canvas flapping – perhaps threatening to take off!
Some people stopped. Some people were kind.
An elderly woman stopped and pointed at the sign that recognises Jaara people and their country saying ‘I wondered often who the people are of this country”. “Jaara?” she said. “Yes, Jaara”, I replied. We smiled, held hands and she said, “Thank you”.
A man came to me with a coffee and bickie. He said, ‘Me and my wife are in there shopping and I said “that girls doing a good job out there” so I went and got you a coffee. I hope you don’t mind’. I certainly didn’t mind. Your caring action warmed me when I had been feeling disheartened. Thank you.
A young Koori man says to me: ‘I’ve been homeless for 3 months now. But I’m not stupid – I work hard – a job 12 hours a week. I just need someone to look past my teeth, my ‘description’ and see that I am reliable, dependable’. We talk a bit about the general situation and he says ‘people just choose not to care about people. But ya know’ pointing at his chest, ‘we’ve all got a heart that beats’.
P, who this young man is with, sits on the steps regularly. As he leaves he tells me to ‘take care’, reminds me of M saying ‘sissygirl we got your back, ok’.
And I end the night feeling blessed.
And all I want to say is STOP – Stop the hate, stop devaluing humans, stop the persecution. CARE. OPEN YOUR HEARTS – not that hard to do. We’ve all got a heart that beats. To paraphrase Nelson Mandela: Hate is learned. Love too can be learned. And it is a more natural state for the human heart.
I will be on the steps tomorrow from 5pm to 6.30pm.