People have asked whether there is an “archive” of the various human rights actions which I’ve been involved in over the years. I have recorded some of these on this blog but I think one page which takes you to these stories may be useful.
I am aware that there are many people who have done some incredible work supporting social justice and human rights but no one knows about these. Many people across the world do think globally and act locally but we don’t hear about it. One reason is that mainstream media quite often does not tell or record these actions and we find these local actions don’t even make a footnote in a local history book, let alone in a “big” history book.
So, I’ve written about some of our local actions just so people do know about them.
2020 – what a time to be an activist! I can’t help but reimagine some of the stuff we did before Social Media, before Go Fund Me, drone photography. Maybe, the Flotillas of Hope could have raised so much money we could have chartered some boats? We wouldn’t have needed a giant Kite with a camera to film the refugees in Woomera. A drone would have done the job magnificently.
Anyway, there’s lots of opportunities and means to fight for social justice today with the technology available to all of us.
What’s our local area? Newcastle, in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia.
I am listing these local actions in chronological order with a short description.
The Cultural Stomp had its birth in 1997 when Pauline Hanson launched her One Nation Party in Newcastle. We decided that she wasn’t going to launch it without hearing what we in the Hunter felt about it. We formed a group we called Cultures in Action and every year since 1997 for ten years Newcastle celebrated its cultural diversity in Civic Park.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers held a hunger strike in this detention centre stuck in the South Australian desert. Some people in Melbourne decided to organise a Festival of Freedoms at the Woomera Detention Centre. Hunter Organisation for Peace & Equity joined them and we became a Caravan, a HOPE Caravan.
With all the racist crap pushed by the Liberal National Party we thought that Newcastle should become a Welcome Town for Refugees. For those not in Australia, the conservative right wing party which aligns itself more with the USA Republican Party & UK Tories is called the “Liberal” Party. Yes, one couldn’t get a more Orwellian name for a political party than that.
Swirling around in my head are many different cuts and swipes of people, events, encounters and paper scrawls. It’s a whirly whirly spinning around in my skull. I’m tired and yet I feel it’s important I record at least one or two thoughts.
What I feel is a sense of nostalgia.
Not for a particular time or place. No, for a state of mind. Sure there is peace, there is balance but somehow there is a lack of authenticity. It is hard to put my finger on it but it has to do with my sense of self. Now even this last sentence lacks authenticity. At least I am aware of it, I tell myself. But this awareness can also stifle expression – for if expression is rooted in a sense of self, feeling inauthentic, feeling untrue can even stifle an inauthentic voice.
So what is the point? Is it true that if awareness arises then the inauthentic will disappear and authenticity will dawn? Sounds logical doesn’t it? Then these thoughts arise, “What if when the inauthentic, the lie disappears and there is nothing! Nothingness! The great void made whole in my skull.” But even this fear is not a real one.
I am a man that has a puppet for a body and strings for a mind. The big question for me is, who is pulling the strings?
This question is full of hope because it brings into view the unseen, the unknown. You know as well as I do that there are no real strings and puppet parts… you know that it’s only a metaphor.
What’s the nature of this otherness that the metaphor alludes to?
I don’t know. So, now, swirling around in my head is this question.
My mother hassles me in her dotage to go to church, to confess my sins, take holy communion and to kiss the priest’s hand. I can’t tell her that I see the priesthood as a costume prop of divinity wrapped around men. It’s not just the presumption of priesthood that grates but also the arrogance radiating off the white dog collar.
“Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
How far do I stray from this advice when I’m confronted by the Church? The whole edifice from its theology to its soteriology and its masonry is riddled with presumption and arrogance. Why must the source of Divine Power and Love be subject to franchise agreements? I cannot believe the ineffable manoeuvres like a lawyer. Is the priest a broker dealing in soul futures? With Wall St brokers, if you’re lucky, you may gain something. The Church provides words that haven’t been digested & transmuted into gold wisdom.
Is this to say that the Divine, the Miraculous, the Living Unknown do not exist? No. It only means that a systemic structure such as a Church cannot be the unpredictable, ineffable symbol of the Real. Now this engenders a whole host of issues of which the question “What is Real?” is at the centre. I don’t know the answer. I do know that the systemisers pretend to know.
What of confession? There’s something so essential, so oneself that hesitates to confess to another man one’s “sins”. The Greek word for “sin” is harmatia which means “missing the mark”. The assumption here is that both the priest and the confessor have agreed on what is sin. Even if they do agree as to what constitutes sin, it still sucks to confess these sins to another person. If it is true that God is not only transcendent but also imminent it follows that all failings and sins are already known to Him. The argument goes that when one confesses one is not confessing to the priest but rather through the priest to God. In other words the priest is an intermediary, a flesh & blood telephone. The priest also has the power to decide what, if any, penance is required. If you pay now you won’t have to worry about the interest rate in the after life. As a consequence, merely by humbling yourself to the intermediary, the priest, you will gain peace of mind and soul.
Do I need the responsibility of my life to rest on the decisions of a church man? What if the after life, the here after is THIS LIFE again? Yes, instead of a Ground Hog Day – a Ground Hog Life. Does it mean I will be forever doomed to pay lip service to a caricature of divinity just so I secure a respectable soul? Maybe there are souls that don’t fit the respectable mould. This does not mean they are not chosen by God. It only means that they may have another calling.
It goes deeper than this, it goes to the curve of one’s heart desire.
In me there resides the need to know, to understand. In me this desire to know who I am, what is my place in the universe and why I am here has directed the shape of my life. This desire has taken me to the edge of sanity where flying saucer landing pads in a commune’s backyard took the place of Hills Hoists. This desire has also turned my mind to the study of numbers, symbols, astrology, magic and divination – all of the mantic arts. The curve of my heart’s desire turns away from dogma & belief to the ever present mystery of simple life. This curvature reveals along its edge another calling that has nothing to do with any church or institution.
The desire to know was also probably Adam & Eve’s original sin. We all know what happened to them when they took a bite of the Apple.
Yes, I am inflicted because I seek knowledge of the Divine and I don’t want church men hovering around the curve of my heart’s desire.
Thank you for visiting Journeys and Star Gazing. Here there's stories of my various journeys, some inner but mostly outer; photos, song lyrics, poems, astrological readings and interpretations, I Ching speculations, quotes from people I admire and some cool graphics. There are reflections and archival material on various human rights campaigns I have been involved in over the years. With these, some have a "Star Gazing" interpretive filter.
Posts include my interests in alchemy, magic, kabbalah, consciousness studies, the Fourth Way and anything else that may enter my sphere of living. I hope you enjoy your visit. I'd love to hear from you in the comments.
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