In Times Gone By

Oh how the years fly. When I had hair. When I believed in “causes” and “marching” for justice.

When I was enthusiastic, optimistic, naive in my vision, making a stand for issues I felt passionately strong about. Ah, yes, those times, those days, those years.

And I mixed with people and friends who felt similar passion, and fought for principles that “mattered” and motivated — that we took “risks” for, putting “the Cause” before personal safety at times, when 200-300 would march and show their talk, their needs by their walk, against 100,000s who didn’t give a damn, nary a second thought.

When we spoke long hours into the nights, after long hours at work, politics, community, “fair go” for all … ah yes those were the days, the times, when I was a believer, naive and awash with hope … come rain or shine, cold or warm … we’d be there, up front, and some times in people’s faces, disturbing their complacent positions of privilege …

~ The photo below was taken on the 14 July 1995. … it is a memory captured, a frozen moment of significance, in my life and journey …

On the 14 July 1995 — National Aboriginal and Islander Observance Day — … the (Aboriginal) flag gained official recognition as the flag of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and a flag of significance to the Australian nation generally. ~ Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 14 July 1995

The lady in the photograph, at the time, my friend, colleague and associate, Sandra, was the Director for the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (SA), and I was the State Manager for Aboriginal Policy (Welfare) for the Dept. Family & Community Services — and back then for several years, we and others of similar inner fortitude and “backbone” would shake the branches of “the Establishment” often and sometimes controversially, often running the risk of unpopularity, and perhaps the loss of our jobs, our livelihood at times.

This photo is not just about me. It is representative of what “we” would do, not just say … oh how much has changed since then … no more rallies, nor risk-takers, or rebels, or challenges to “the System” … folks are much more conservative and controlled in more ways than most would ever recognise or acknowledge … being popular and liked, keeping their jobs, position, prestige, income security, homes, reputation, esteem are all considered before protesting “the Cause”, the issues, the injustices … in less than 20 years I have witnessed fear take charge of my fellow beings and neighbours, the community and the majority … fear being their modus operandi, the driving factor in their life and choices …

Enough of my rantings, and yes, I love this image for what it re-presents to me as I age and grow tired of the fight, the stance, the principles I defend and still hold dear … when I was younger, and had more hair, we believed that change was just a matter of time and effort, and the flag of the minority indigenous in their own land was the symbol that united and unified … and now … the fire is much dimmer these days, and the cold and the wet has more of a chill …


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