Thursday, March 20, 2014

Another Version of Australia - Far Away from the Coastline

Ilona Harker is an Australian artist, a woman of many talents.  Her jewelry and her fashion statement are iconic. Her music is toe tapping, soul rending beautiful.  Her blog, one entry of which is below corners the Australian psyche far better than most.  Enjoy this entry from March 2014.
Once again I'm driving across Australia and seeing how 'ordinary, everyday Australians' live. You know the ones who read the telegraphs, and the suns and whom Tony assures that he cares for.
I stay in their pubs and watch them and listen.
Occasionally, once the broad vowels are no longer noticeable, I am able to listen properly without
prejudice or pretentiousness.
I am the outsider, I am in Rome and I should be respectful. I try.
It's easy to dismiss the rough, callous, beer soaked culture out here. In fact 'we' (the educated lefties) often cringe at this culture and deride it.
And it's a shame. Most people who I have met have, like me, masks made from the observational snippings and scraps of their tribe.
Like how I wear my market belt doing henna or when I wear heels on stage performing. It's my different masks/costumes for what I do.
Same here. 

Their faces are more weathered and the fashion is too.
These are people who, like me, have made an uneasy peace with living on land they don't understand. However they are less protected here, there are droughts, floods and death is more honest here.
A drunk seasonal worker shows pictures of his kids to a few older women in the beer garden.
He wants to be home with them.
He isn't a fool, he is just trying to get food on the table. He won't question the government because he has never felt empowered enough to.
All his life he has been told he isn't smart enough for politics.
So he does what many do, country and city alike. He says
'What good does it do, they are all the bloody same'
Yet he feel his job is more threatened by boat people than by CSG or Monsanto.
He feels to ask for help is beneath him and he isn't a bludger so he will miss out on his kids life. He will drink to numb the loneliness and he will return a richer shell of a man.
He deserves a system to support him. His children deserve to be supported without shame or embarrassment.
His wife deserves to be supported. And they deserve to be supported by us all.
Emotionally, financially and deeply.
I watch them drinking, singing and bonded by their loneliness.
No one drinks almond milk here and so I just don't bother to ask.