Young MaristsComment

Two Cultures. One Country.

Young MaristsComment
Two Cultures. One Country.

From the beginning, the Young Marists team has included young Australian Marists. They support our work in their own country but also travel to Aotearoa to lead programmes in New Zealand schools and rural communities. Our work in New Zealand exposes them to positive but often challenging cross cultural experiences. An interesting yet common reflection from these young Australians - particularly when leading the Young Marist Neighbours programme - is that in understanding the cultural context of New Zealand, they can better understand their own. Below are a few thoughts from one of our Australian team mates:

 

Wipe out or white in. 

What to do when Australia is terra nullius

And always has been? 

Steal children. Take land. 

Pull language from mouths. Tucker from hands. 

Build walls between nations. 

Create a generation

Gap.

That is too broad to bridge. 

 

“It’s all in the past, we knew no better”. 

Look down. 

There, see? The Scarlet Letter

Emblazoned on our sleeves,

Proof of our lies. 

Here.

Now. 

Your life,

And mine. 

 

When white lines define black spirit: 

Incarceration. Exploitation.

Manipulation. Humiliation. 

Then: 

White lines become white ropes

Around the necks of girls

Aged 10. 

And: 

Songlines, where Dreamtime

Is lived.

Become lines spun by big guns – 

Votes, bank notes and anecdotes

About pushing Australia forward,

Rather than Bringing Them Home.  

 

It’s not the difference

Between us

That is the issue.

Rather,

The misuse and abuse

Stems from indifference – 

Not caring, sharing or understanding the

Value

Of two cultures. 

One country. 

 

An Australian twang, 

But listen: hear it sang

Across countries, continents, 

The whole worldwide.

 

Because White is right, right?

And West is best, yes? 

Unless…

 

It isn’t.