Self-harm or State-inflicted-harm. What role does language play in the displacement of one and the other? Who gains from this?
In this revealing article, poet Janet Galbraith* tells of her own experiences and identifies wider causes and culprits.
A while ago I started writing an article about the notion of what is often called ‘self-harm’. I had felt saturated by this word and angry about the ways in which it is used to refer to a whole range of experiences. But I found it really hard to write. I wanted to research and come up with something that would articulate what I was feeling in a way that would be understood to have some gravitas. In the end, I did not finish it. But tonight, after speaking over the past days with people in detention who are in such dire situations that so-called ‘self-harm’ feels inevitable…
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I painted the room green
silky sage green
both days were hot
the paint dried too fast.
I placed Auntie Louise’s
Jaara Jaara country painting
against the long wall
Goden and grey cooling.
I sat at the window
pink laminex on its side
looked out to the vege garden
willow empty pond.
I smiled at a blue wren
picking at dried-out crab apples
cried as other birds fell gasping
from the sky.
Janet Galbraith, Κλιματική Αλλαγή
Έβαψα το δωμάτιο πράσινο
μεταξένιο σοφιστικέ πράσινο
δύο ημέρες έκανε ζέστη
η μπογιά στέγνωσε πολύ γρήγορα.
Τοποθέτησα της Θείας Λουίζας
τη ζωγραφιά της γης Jaara Jaara
απέναντι από τον μακρύ τοίχο
χρυσό και γκρι ησυχάζοντας.
Κάθισα στο παράθυρο
ροζ Laminex στα πλευρά του
κοίταξα έξω στον λαχανόκηπο
την ιτιά την άδεια λιμνούλα.
Χαμογέλασα σε έναν μπλε τρυποφράκτη
που μάζευε αποξηραμένα κομμάτια μήλου
κραυγάζοντας καθώς τα άλλα πουλιά εφόρμησαν λαχανιασμένα
από τον ουρανό.
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There has been something simmering for a while now that I want to expose, demolish and redirect – right here and right now. Today, I am enraged and I do not apologise for those who are about to be swept up as I deal here with some very seriously messed up attempts at practicing critical analysis of race/racism and ‘solidarity’ in Australia. How people, many of whom I have worked alongside, could have gotten this so wrong, is amazing to me.
Earlier this year, Celeste Liddle (an amazing Arrente woman) had an article on why she prefers to be called Black published here.
Celeste was then set upon by three women who questioned her on her views and wanted to talk about her “light-skin privilege.” Celeste explained multiple times that her piece was from the perspective of an Indigenous Australian and that she would never speak for or about non-Indigenous people of colour…
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