We build walls and fences to protect our property and possessions, something that the nomadic tribes around the world, including our own aborigines, see as unnecessary. We also erect barriers in our own minds that deliberately discriminate against things or people we don’t necessarily understand.
Whether we like it or not we must accept that Australia is a multi-cultural society. It seems it was first settled by people from the islands north of Australia who travelled across the land bridge that joined their countries to Australia at that time. Later, aborigines, whose ancestors came from India and even as far away as Africa, arrived. My ancestors came from England and Ireland. Many others in our country have ancestors from all parts of the world. Those of us born here in Australia are what the dictionary describes as ‘indigenous Australians’, meaning we belong naturally to the place because we originated from this place.
For us to be a successful Nation we need to accept that we all come from a variety of backgrounds and as the song says, “We are one, but we are many”. We also need to be prepared to help those new to our shores to gently assimilate into the ways and culture of their new country. This has not proven to be as easy as it sounds, and we still have many barriers to overcome within our communities and within ourselves.
Just as the wall between East and West Germany came tumbling down, so too must we be prepared to break down our own personal barriers, particularly those barriers we build in our own minds.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s life