Category Archives: quote

Can’t Wait

Anticipation – Word of the Day

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The trail is always interesting, and none more so than the bend, and the turn obscurred somewhat by nature, this time by rocks. There’s nothing like anticipation!

We wait for first experiences, that first conscious Christimas or birthday gift, that first kiss, sex, romance, a competition, having a child, catching a fish, flying, swimming, the perfect shiraz (just saying), anticipation plays its part in the build up to the doing or participating thereof. Sometimes we are disappointed (here I think of politics), sometimes we are ecstatic, but yet the anticipation itself is the delicious part. Albert Camus once wrote: “We need the sweet pain of aniticpation to tell us we are really alive.” For some of us that sweet pain is wonderful, a sting of joy. And sometimes the anticipation is far better than the very thing we arrive at, and perhaps that is learned behaviour, that anticipation is better than disappointment, yet for some us – you can’t beat the excitement, the rush of it. I wonder that there are some anticipation junkies out there?

What is harder to anticipate overall is human response. Perhaps our expectations of others are unrealistic? To return to the disappointment of politics, it seems that the individual one votes for and anticipates representation by, is crsuhed under the weight of the party machine which steals whatever it was we anticipated. The partner we pursued in love did not respond as we anticipated. The expectations we place on our children are weighty too.

I think anticipation is a positive thing in and of itself, the energy we engage in living it is life giving, especially when we are engaging with some of the more creative and positive aspects of life. Anticipation also trumps cynicism, and apathy any day, and can build a sense of hope. There’s always a bend in life obscurred, so dream a little, plan some, and live. I can’t wait …

“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.” Andy Warhol

And Carly Simon singing her song Anticipation

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Of Each Other

Camaraderie – Word of the Day

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Westonia Mine 2013 viewing deck. Afternoon of the weekend road trip and Jon’s bucks weekend full of dinners, toasts, rock climbing, campfire, BBQ, late nights and more, a great time of camaraderie, a veritable esprit de corps. It was one of those weekends where conversations were both surface and deep, fun and meaningful. We were so relaxed and enjoying each other’s company, as it should be. There were no rules, no expectations, but we all managed to get along fine, even joking at each other’s expense on occasion, because, as we acknowledged, no one is perfect.

Camaraderie doesn’t just pop out of a packet (if it did it would be on the market by now), it comes as a result of humour, tears, anger, intimacy, trust, love and more. Camaraderie is the result of raw life, people learning to be with each other, learning about the other. Great feats can result from camaraderie because there is a strength in it that enables us to excell. But more than that, there is a tenacity too, there are many stories of people who survived amazing trials and struggles and who credit their friendships as the reason they got through. Stories of surviving the Holocaust, war, the Killing Fields, famines, earthquakes, cyclones … not just because certain ones were strong individuals (and they were) but also because they had networks, circles, friendships that enabled them to get through.

Simon and Garfunkle sang “I Am A Rock”, although on the surface it seems to be glorifying indivduality, the last words are ironic “And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.” In that song there’s a sadness about lost friendship, the rebuttal of friends in preference for painless solitude, neutrality, yet gaining a particular loneliness and isolation. The poet John Donne wrote in the seventeenth century:

No Man Is An Island

No Man is an island,
entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or thy own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore necer send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

 A sensational poem that speaks today (despite its masculine language), that no one can exist as singular, no one can flourish alone. The last line (which Ernest Hemmingway borrowed as a title for a book) simply means that the bells toll to announce a death, and at the same time they also announce that a part of us has died as a result, such is the connectivity of all living things. Camaraderie is honouring a natural connectivity, a vitality, of human thrive and flourish. We are stronger for it, less arrogant, more rounded, appreciated, accepted and accepting, given voice, given place. Identity is not lost in camaraderie, it is sharpened, matured. I often dream of a world where that connectivity would be the true mark of humanity.

A distant bell chimes
you have gone through the dark vale
but you are my cloak

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Fake News

Hoax – Word of the Day

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From the dawn of time to the Lock Ness Monster, to Joseph Goebbels, Lavrentiy Beria, the Vietnam lie, the Watergate Seven, to Weapons of Mass Destruction, to the constancy of daily lies pedalled across the world by politicians, media, businesses, rogue scientists, fundamentalist religious types (remember Jim Jones, David Koresh, Pat Robertson), or the hoax about a hoax – the radio show of Orson Wells which featured his War of the Worlds alien invasion, and which was said to have created mass panic and evacuation of New York, now proven to be an invention created from a handful of hysterical phone calls and an attack on a civic facility thought to be an alien fortress. It certainly helped Wells and the radio station maintain popularity and gain sponsors.

Hoaxes, scams, fake news have all been around since Adam (a story which includes a scam). Generally they fall into two categories, harmful (weapons of mass destruction), and harmless (Loch Ness Monster). They are all fabrications, lies. It is difficult now to believe anything that is reported in mainstream news, at least until it has been checked. But then, people can be fake in their relationships, pretending to be someone or something.

Black Lives Matter, #Me Too, are also testimony to how fake news, lies, fabrications distort race, gender, and destroy individuals and relationships. In Australia the plight of indigenous children removed from families, based on cultural arrogance and self serving mythology, and the devastating findings of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse has shown how fake reputations, scams and lies enabled vulnerable children to be broken.

Yet, I remain optimistic. In my daily journey I meet many, many people who restore my belief that most people value each other at some level, that the human endeavour is still somehow linked to the golden rule (treat others as you would want to be treated), no matter how we might feel that that is tenuous, the anecdotal evidence is strong. Importantly, I remind myself that there, as the old saying goes, but for the grace of God there go I! Who am I? No one is perfect, and so we need to gentle with each other.

Lies will continue, there will be hoaxes, scams, fake news and distortions. Our response surely must be to discern the truth, but also to hold each other in the space of love, trust, healing, and above all, to listen. The power of listening can be healing in itself, and in the long term the way to truth. To listen to the vulnerable (and who is not vulnerable in some way?), the broken (and who is not broken in some way?), to listen to each other generously and deeply. That way myths come undone, lies are made plain, pain is held, anxiety understood, vanity deconstructed, fear disarmed … in the end, in a world where fake news and distrust could overpower us, we have each other, not bury our heads in activity, but to value each other, build trust, support, resilience, that will enable us to face the world together. Together we can rise above fake.

”No one can lie, no one can hide anything, when s/he looks directly into someone’s eyes.” Paul Coelho

”A lie cannot live.” Martin Luther King Jnr.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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Light Pleasure

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It’s the simple things that bring lasting pleasure. Dawn at looking out from Big Swamp. Too good not to stop and take the shot. It’s not a swamp it’s a wet land. European settlers misunderstood, these are not waterlogged land, but authentic wet lands. To use the term swamp is to identify land as degraded, but this is not degraded it is an ecosystem. The city council won’t change the name. Fortunately this one is protected, but many have been lost because they were viewed as swamps and filled in by developers. This one has a variety of bird life as well as other creatures.

“Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”  Samuel Johnson

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Nefarious Activists?

Nefarious – Word of the Day

 

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Image: techviral.net

Black, grey white hats – hacking of course!

White Hat hackers are ethical hackers, they simply use hacking techniques to test software and security systems. The Grey Hat hacker is not malicious, but occasionally violates ethical principles and laws. Black Hats are the bad guys, they are nefarious, according to law enforcement agencies and commercial interests, they infiltrate systems, wipe, steal and disrupt. Or do they?

As often happens with any fear of wrong doing or alleged crime, truth is often the first casualty. Black Hats are simply lumped in together. So consider Gary McKinnon, formerly known as Solo, who hacked ino 97 US military and NASA systems between 2001 and 2002, altering and removing data. Mckinnon claimed he was looking for information about UFOs, extraterrestials, and chemical suppression processes. Extradition to the US from Britain was attempted but in the end refused. McKinnon remained free, and in the ensuing investigations, it transpired that the sensational claims made against him were inaccurate. But then we had Kevin Poulson who committed fraud and theft using hacking skills, he was caught and sent to prison, but now works at The Daily Beast and has been an editor at  Wired.

So, two different motives appear, one to find information that is being hidden from the public, the other to do the equivalent of the old bank robbery. Both are considered to be crimes, however, in my mind, McKinnon was not seeking gain, whereas Poulson’s sought financial gain through theft. I have some sympathy for Mckinnon, and none for Poulson.

Anonymous is a loose collective of what are referred to as hacktivists, they are  amorphous and ever changing, and they have specialised in cyber attack, especially in matters of justice and claims to avenge corruption and injustice. It is typified by the headless man symbol – meaning there is no central leader or leadership, and in public the use of the Zorro mask is now synonymous. Many have referred to the group as a cyber Robin Hood. Their main purpose has been to temporarily shut down websites and services as a form of protest. anonymous has exposed pedophile groups, sweat shops, cheating spouses, racial profiling, racist political groups, corrupt politicians and more. They led cyber attacks on Scientology, Westboro Baptist Church, and commercial interests who have been show to behave unjustly. They have been supporters of Wikileaks, Occupy and Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

Wikileaks is a group that operates a website and who post hacked or leaked material, mainly suppressed material from around the globe, it has also set up a research wing looking at the material it posts. It was founded by Julian Assange, who has been the subject of an extradition battle by the US. Although it has had a controversial history thus far, and some alleged nefarious dealings with Russian interests, Wikileaks has also exposed commercial and government lies, duplicity, and deception around the globe. Wikileaks has exposed nuclear dsiasters, environmental abuses,government corruption, military attacks on civilians, plots and threats, and police corruption. Basically taking up the role of an independent watchdog.

These groups are indeed nefarious, but the one’s I really don’t like are those that are just common thieves. The rest, while motives are mixed, and methods questionable, at least they have sought a way to make governments and commercial interests accountable. in my view it is laughable when western government agencies protest about the crimes of hacktivists and in particular the shady methods they use, I see that as the kettle calling the pot black. So it all depends on where you are standing as to how you might see this issue, but I for one see a glimmer of good in the work of Anonymous and Wikileaks. Governments become arrogant, and as has been shown by hacktivists, they lie to the people, even to themselves, and that means power has been corrupted.

The US and its allies speak of hacktivists as terrorists. I beg to differ, it’s a little childish to exaggerate the issue. Besides, in my view these people have done exactly what Mark Felt, Daniel Elsberg and others before them have done, but in a global and accessible way using the internet. In that sense, hacktivists are whistleblowing. We may not like their methods or their attitude, but just look at some of the results.

For me, the work of the hacktivists is more about getting to the truth and preserving freedom of speech. While truth is relative, freedom of speech is sacrosanct and should be defended no matter what. How did keeping the Iran nuclear leak in 2009 suppressed protect national security? It didn’t. Freedom of speech is far more important than someone’s opinion that government should be protected at all costs.

Some related quotes I like:

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”  Harry Truman speaking to Congress August 8, 1950.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” George Orwell

Speak your truth!

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Stay in the Game

Crestfallen – Word of the Day

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(Photo: radiotimes.com) Andy Murray not winning Wimbeldon.

One of Murray’s comments: “It’s not the end of the world to lose.”

Losing a game can leave us crestfallen, disappointed, whether it be tennis, soccer, Zelda or Monopoly. A natural response if you’ve invested everything on winning your game. If you aim at winning, if you want to win, and you lose, then disappoinment is a likely outcome, otherwise you really didn’t invest very much in winning in the first place. Unrealistic expectations, perfectionism, overconfidence, fear of failure, can all lead to disappointment too.

There are different types of disappointment. I’ve already mentioned losing, then there’s getting what you want and not enjoying it, and there’s the not knowing what you really want.

You have to get back in the game.

If you stay in that place of feeling crestfallen you will be miserable. If the feelings aren’t acknowledged and owned there will be little movement forward, and depending on the disappointment there may be periods of anger, grief, sulking, despondency, depression, self-criticism, blaming (all the usual supects) … If you respond passively you’ll give up.

Andy Murray won the Men’s Singles title at Wimbeldon in 2013, and did it again in 2016, which shows that if you persist and reorient, you can achieve your goal. If you fall off the horse you need to get back on and have another go. However, if there’s no horse handy then:-

  • Acknowledge your feelings (talk to someone, journal, reflect).
  • Adjust your expectations (make changes, consult, revision).
  • Revise your plans (rechart your approach).
  • Have a contingency or backup plan.
  • Be mindful in your responses (meditate).
  • Acknowledge that disappointment is normal and can be a time of learning.
  • Above all be kind to yourself.

Some quotes I really like around the subject of disappointment:

“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“Life is like phtotography. We develop from the negatives.” (motivational-well-being.com)

And, from Elena No Brainer:-

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Elegant Humanitarian

Elegant – Word of the Day

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Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993), a personification of elegance. Certainly petite, refined, beautiful, and yes, elegant. But no matter who or what, we place that descriptor upon people or objects, it is our perception of them, not as they see themselves or how they experience themselves. We know that to be true because at times we are sometimes aware that we don’t see ourselves as others see us. Having said that, I’m happy to say that I think she’s elegant. I really enjoyed Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but have seen most of her movies over the years. One of the contributing factors to her elegance was her stance, dress and movement – as a child she had learned ballet, and this was clearly formative.

She was ten when WW2 broke out. Her English/Austrian father was involved in the 1930s with the Dutch and British Fascist movements. Ironically hepburn and her mother were involved in fund raising for the Dutch Resistance, though by the time the Germans had invaded Holland, her father had left the family for England then on to Ireland. The war left an indelible imprint on her, she recounted the horror as a child of the invasion, the fighting, the death of family (an uncle was executed as a reprisal), seeing Jewish people being transported, especially children her age, firing squads and more. The food shortages were severe at the end of the war and Hepburn suffered acute anemia, repiratory problems, and edema which resulted from malnutrition.

Hepburn had a long association with UNICEF, having been one of the recipients of international aid in areas devastated by the war. Her formal association began in the 1950s when she narrated two radio programs for them. In 1989 she was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF. She served in that role until 1992, travelling to Ethiopia, Turkey, Venezuela, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Sudan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Somalia, to promote aid programs and listen to needs on the ground. She advocated for clean water and vaccination programs in particular, lobbying the UN and national governments.

During the Bangladesh visit she was observed hugging children who were covered in flies, she had no aversion, only compassion.

Two of my favourite Hepburn quotes are:

“Taking care of children has nothing to do with politics. I think perhaps with time, instead of there being a politicisation of humanitarian aid, there will be a humanisation of politics.”

“The ‘Third World’ is a term I don’t like very much, because we’re all one world. I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering.”

I think her true elegance was in her humanitarian work, that she loved the unloveable, wasn’t afraid to get dirty, was passionate in her advocacy and lobbying. She brought a gravitas, dignity and integrity to the role. Which brings me back to the comment I made earlier, elegance in looks is about perception and description, but elegance in behaviour is something more, it is that inner beauty we speak of, embodied, tangible, and lived, it is real. Hepburn lived her humanitarian work. Hepburn once quipped that ordinary working women could achieve her fashion look easily (and told them how). I think everyday people can achieve her lived elegance in compassion.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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That Voice

Mellifluous – Word of the Day

Sade, Mazzy Star, Stevie Nicks, Sarah Brightman, Carla Bruni, Hannah Reid, the list goes on, all with unmistakable mellifluous voice. Enya is supreme, that honeyed, mellow, smooth, hypnotic voice captivates, inspires and lifts the soul. She is unmistakable, her Celtic influences in looks, sound and word, are all striking.

Enya, Eithne Padraigin Ni Bhraonain (Enya Patricia Brennan) born of a large and musical family was known for her role in the group Clannad, and then in her solo work from the early 1980s where she burst upon the charts with a string of hits. She is intensely private, and has never done a concert tour as a solo artist and rarely performs on TV. She has a number of music industry awards behind her, and many chart successes. She can play several instruments and her vocal range is mezzo-soprano and instantly recognizable. Enya refers to her voice as an instrument.

The first time I heard Enya was in 1989 with her second album Watermark and the single Orinoco Flow, and I was hooked immediately. If I’m needing something peaceful yet not passive (those two should never be confused) I like to listen to her music, which I find nurtures my soul. So in that sense she is my soul food. I find that her voice transports me beyond the carcophany of the daily and into a melodic and contemplative space.

Some of my favourite Enya quotes:

“There is no formula to it. Writing every song is a little journey. The first note has to lift you.”

“The success of Watermark surprised me. I never thought of music as something commercial; it was something very personal to me.”

Enya never sought commercial success and refuses to live as a star or to court fame. Her commitment is to her passion to write and to create music. I think it’s obvious really that her success has come from focussing on the heart of her passion. And her music has attracted people even before they knew who she was, so that it wasn’t originally personality based, her success was firmly based in the music itself. That itself is a gift. If we take her as an example, then to live out of the heart brings our creativity and passion to life in powerful ways.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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One of the Great Negotiators

Negotiate – Word of the Day

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Dag Hammarskjold (1905 – 1961) a Swedish Diplomat, economist and from 1953 – 1961 he was the UN Secretary General. He was also a deeply spiritual person, a contemplative who loved the medieval mystics. His book ‘Markings’ a journal of his spiritual struggles was posthumously published with a foreword by his friend, the poet W.H. Auden. He called his diary – negotiations with himself and with God.

Hammarskjold was propopsed by the British Foreign Secertary Anthony Eden who was impressed with Hammarskjold’s work in diplomacy and economics. The vote was almost unanimous in the Security Council and Hammarskjold was announced as the next Secretary General. The American and Soviet delegates thought Hammarskjold was harmless. He was reelected in 1957.

Hammarskjold was unaware of the nomination, and in fact thought the media report was a joke, and because it was announced on April 1st, he quipped that it was a bad April Fools joke. But it was indeed true.

Hammarskjold believed that relationships were important and that example was one of the best forms of leadership. He tried to meet as many employees at the UN as possible, he ate regularly in the staff cafe, he refused to use his private lift and opened it for general use, he established the meditation room (which he helped to design) which was to be for withdrawal and reflection, a place for silence, and a multi-faith space. He prevented FBI intervention at the UN that his predecessor had allowed at the height of McCarthyism. And he brought order and regulatory process to an organisation in crisis.

He was an able negotiator. He made some impact on relations between Israel and the Arab states. In 1955 he successfully negotiated the release of eleven US airmen who were prisoners from the Korean War. In 1956 he played a major role in ending the Suez Crisis, There are many other negotiations that he was involved in, and which demonstrate his capacity to work hard and achieve a positive outcome. Not everything was plain sailing though, the Congo was unresolved, interrupted by his death, and the Soviet interference and then occupation of Hungary was frustrating for Hammaskjold as there was little he could do to bring a resolution forward.

His role in the Congo Crisis was cut short by his death as the result of a plane crash travelling to Congo. There are those who still believe that Congolese rebels associated with mining interests were responsible for the plane crash, but no substantive proofs have come to light, including a UN 2015 investigation into the matter. Hammarskjold made four visits to the Congo. It was, as history has shown, a tangled web of politics and power plays. The USSR and the Americans had their own people on the ground and were manipulating much of the power play. The Congo had become factionalised on independence, and the popularly elected Prime-minister Patrice Lumumba was murdered. It was utter chaos.

J.F. Kennedy said of Hammarskjold: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.” Kennedy was reflecting on Hammarskjold’s death and on his own resistance to Hammarskjold’s policy in the Congo.

Extreme left and right views are critical of Hammarskjold, and in the main these revolve around the immpossible situation in Hungary, and the seemingly intractable problem in the Congo. But for me they are the proof, by comparison, of the majority of successes he was part of and integral to. His record stands as testimony to his great ability to network, form key relationships, to maintain a consistent approach, and to believe the best in people. His commitment was to keeping peace and finding better ways for nations to negotiate their differences. He formed the UN Emergency Response Group, and initiated the first Peace Keeping force. He was posthumously awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1961.

His strength came from his contemplative stance, especially meditation, and his sheer passion for peace in the world. His personal belief was that selfless service to humanity was crucial. Whatever you may think of him, he was one of the great negotiators of the 20th century.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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A Quiet Integrity

Integrity – Word of the Day

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Sir Ronald Darling Wilson (1922 – 2005)

Wilson had a battler’s start. He was born in Geraldton (a then small West Australian coastal country town). Although his father was a lawyer, his mother died when he was four, and his father was incapacitated with a stroke when he was seven, and his older brother (14) cared for him. Wilson left school at fourteen and became a court messenger at the Geraldton Local Court. He signed up for military service in 1941 with the army, transferred to the airforce and sent to England in 1942. After the war he studied law at the University of Western Australia, and then went on to be a Fullbright Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania in 1957 completing an MA. In 1969 he became Solicitor General of Western Australia. In 1979 he was appointed to the High Court of Australia. He was a moderate in politics, he was conservative in law, and yet a passionate champion of human rights, something that was at the core of him.

In the now famous High Court ruling on Mabo. Eddie Mabo, an indigenous man from Queensland had pushed for Native Title rights and presented his case to the High Court. Wilson dissented, but on grounds that the findings were not strongly based in equality. The High Court ruled in favour of Mabo (Mabo 1) on June 3, 1992. In 1993 the High Court inserted the legal doctrine of Native Title into law, thus changing the foundation of Australian law. The new law was The Native Title Act 1993. Wilson agreed on this, and became a vocal advocate for Aboriginal people.

He retired from the High Court in 1989, but in 1990 was appointed by the Hawke Government to the post of President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission until 1997. He served as Deputy Chairperson of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. He was made Chancellor of Murdoch University 1980 – 1995. From 1988 – 1991 he was elected and served as Moderator of the Uniting Church of Australia, which he did consecutively with his other appointments. He brought a stong social justice stance to the Church.

But I think his crowning achievement was conducting, along with Mick Dodson (The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner), the 1995 – 1997 National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families. The report was pivotal in approaching the national tragedy of the Stolen Generations – forced removal of indigenous children from their families. The 600 page report was tabled in parliament in 1997. The then Prime minister John Howard refused to issue an apology, but his successor Kevin Rudd did on February 13 2008. State governements also issued apologies, some immediately others later on. It is a significant report in our history and though shameful, it is also a matter of integrity. The subject of the report was not unknow but invariably denied, ignored or resisted through our history. In spite of the community awareness, the report shocked the nation.

Sir Ronald Wilson never promoted himself, never sought public attention, believed he was hard working, but not exceptional. Yet his integrity in working tirelessly, in amongst all his other responsibilities, for the rights of the indigenous people of Australia is outstanding. His commitment to the values of human rights, equality, fairness, playing his part in the Native Title cases, bringing the plight of the Stolen Generation to national attention, and many other commitments is inspiring.

Mick Dodson said of him: “Once you convince Ron Wilson you can have no one more passionate as an advocate … As an advocate he gives it 120 per cent.”

Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court said of him: I think his great contribution is that he showed how a highly orthodox, conservative lawyer can grow up. How he can grow out of the cocoon. Can expand his mind in harmony with his heart and with the sense of spirituality in which he was raised.”

A man of integrity! And one who inspires me.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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