Wednesday, 25 April 2001

Wednesday, 25 April 2001
Too late… This is not my country.
The phone rang at 5am. I was too exhausted to even think of getting up. I did answer it and said “Nah, I think I’ll give it a miss.” Rolling over I thought about the trenches and what the dawn ceremony means. I thought about this year being 100 years of Australian Federation and even though we still have a Queen for many there is some sense of nationhood. It comes together for many people in this dawn ceremony. Not for me the ruckas of the parades or the carnival events; just a quiet moment before the sun rises.
So I got out of bed and drove into the city. It was 5.50am and when I got to the shrine of remembrance a few people were hanging round the covered seating area. Obviously I was either in the wrong place or too early or… A young boy asked a policeman when the dawn parade was on. “4.30am. You’re a bit late.” So on this auspicious occasion, I had missed the event. I felt pretty solitary anyway and this brought that feeling home even more so. You arrive naked and you depart naked and alone. Time on earth is the brief interlude in between. Some die before their natural time is due in mad events like war. This shrine on this day suddenly came to symbolise the solitude of death clearly for me. Something about dawn which had just broken and the light of day spilling across the city made me feel a deep sadness for my country. We are in difficulty. It is something I feel. It is not an economic problem but one of groundedness. In this world which markets every inch and moment of our lives there is a hole. To share the sadness on ANZAC day gives me a focus on which to allow my frustration at being bound by shores that do not ring loud with the values I hold. Those men and women who died on foreign shores have perished and for what? Australia still hasn’t had the guts to have an independent symbolic head of state. We are led by a man who won’t stop the rot (previous labor leaders started) of selling up the public property fought for by working people. It was our right. Health, education and public housing and transport have less importance now than the stock market. These are not the values I hold. This is not my country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *