A personal morality beyond inherited culture?

In one situation, the driver of a military tank seeks to avoid crushing the intrepid individual obstructing his path. He does this even as this individual repeatedly blocks the evasive moves attempted by him. The individual is unharmed.

In another place and time, a heavy vehicle is reported to have been run over the individual obstructing its path. The driver had allegedly been directed to destroy the home of this individual, as official policy. Should he have avoided harming the individual?

Was the difference in morality influenced by tribalism? In the first situation, the two persons shared a nationality. In the second, there was a significant difference in both ethnicity and religion between the two persons. Even if the second driver was influenced by a subconscious tribal prejudice, one which identified the defiant individual as ‘not one of us,’ should a sense of a shared humanity under Heaven claimed to be imparted by all the major religions have led to an ending which did not involve a dreadful death?

There are, of course, tribes and tribes. In those nations created by immigrants (the prominent ones being the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), political parties represent the tribes of primary relevance. Cultural tribes co-exist beneath this umbrella. In the rest of the world, it is cultural tribalism which guides, if not controls, societal conduct. A tribe can be defined as a people joined together by a common origin, a shared language, religion, and the cultural values and practices which have evolved over time.

Where the extended family reigns supreme, as in most parts of Asia – even modern Asia – tribal traditions will be upheld. Unlike the nuclear families of the Ultra-West, (the four principal nations mentioned above created by immigrants), the extended family is there to provide support to each individual. This support may be psychological or social or financial. Such support counter-balances the obligations which bind the individual to the collective. And it is the conglomeration of extended families which constitute the tribe.

And, as long as tribalism reigns supreme, with religion the main glue bonding its components, inter-tribal prejudice may manifest itself.

Against this background, the contrast identified in the opening sentences above raise a significant question: is there not a need for, and an expression of, a personal morality even when tribal prejudice prevails? The answer? That one needs a conscience beyond the imperatives of tribal prejudice and religious ignorance..

 

Did squatters destroy an Aboriginal civilisation?

“A few years after the initial ‘discovery’ by Captain Cook, it was apparently known that the indigenes not only occupied the land and used it with economic purpose, but also (according to the highly respected Dr.Coombs) “… lived in clan or tribal groups, that each group had a homeland with known boundaries, and that they took their name from their district, and rarely moved outside it.”  It was also known that they had, and applied, firm rules about trespass, kinship ties, marriage, child rearing and other matters, the hallmarks of an organised society; that they had a “habit of obedience” to their rulers and leaders, a hallmark of a political society; and that they had an ordered ceremonial life, reflecting the sharing of a spiritual vision, a hallmark of a civilisation. Apparently, they also had their own zodiac, which guided their activities. Their artistic records are also well known and respected.

It has now been accepted that the indigenes did not cede any of their land. As the famous poet Oodjaroo Noonuccal said, “We are but custodians of the land”. Whilst the settlers saw themselves at war, and killed to acquire land, officialdom (later supported by local jurists) preferred occupation to conquest. Occupation follows discovery, of a presumed empty land. How were the natives to establish ownership without a Titles Office?

Because the morally political Australian rejected the idea of an invasion, a Senate Committee came up, in the early 1980s, with prescription. This apparently applies when there is no clear title to sovereignty by way of treaty, occupation or conquest. An extended occupation, and an exercise of sovereignty were apparently enough to vest title in the Crown.

But, prescription requires a show of authority on the one side, and acquiescence on the other (says Prof. Reynolds, the renowned contributor to the nation’s enlightenment on this black subject). Since the natives never acquiesced to anything, voluntary abandonment was claimed. The Senate’s clever semantic exercise seemed to accept that being killed or driven away is tantamount to voluntary abandonment! A prominent white Australian sociologist reminded me that cities such as Melbourne and Sydney represented the most effective sites of ethnic cleansing; and that every fence in Australia encloses land that was once the soul, or the shared possession of a particular group of Aborigines.

A very substantial majority of the Aboriginal people died in the years following the invasion. Killing was both official and private. “My father used to round you mob up and shoot you for Saturday and Sunday entertainment”. This was uttered by a school mate of a recent head of ATSIC (the Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Commission). One does not visit the sins of the father upon the son. Yet, there are Australians today who attempt to defend the historical brutality that led to women and children being shot without compunction, and large numbers of fellow humans being killed through the use of poison. What sort of humans were the early arrivals that they could do this? What does it say about their origins, the way they lived before arriving in Australia, and their moral and cultural values? Why were these casual killers so debauched? “ … …

“It would not be quite fair to apply the aphorism ‘The criminal cannot forgive the victim he has defiled’ to those who deny what they call the ‘black armband’ view of Australia’s history. Why someone who cannot claim any ancestors who ‘cleared’ the land so vehemently rejects an honest view of a black history, makes sense only if one accepts that such people have strong tribal affinities, ie their people could not have behaved so brutally; or that, because that was normal colonial behaviour then, the perpetrators cannot be judged by current criteria for morality.

 I have had similar statements made to me when I occasionally refer to my exposure to Aussie racists. Some of these defenders of past brutality, however, confuse guilt with responsibility. That is, they cannot accept that today’s generation has a moral responsibility to compensate, but without any sense of guilt, for the damage done by earlier generations.

(These are extracts from my book ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity: Beyond tribalism towards a new Australian identity.’  My hope is the Australian Family of Man, arising eventually from, and through, cultural differences. Our indigenes need to find a place in the sun as a community before participating within a mesh of integrated cultures forming the nation. However, a generation or two of superior white Australians have to join their Maker before that can happen.) 

 

Extracts from ‘It all went terribly wrong’

“That’s a great prospect,” he thought to himself with silent glee. He was peering through the convenient slit in the curtains across the bay window. There she was – a sight to behold. Solidly built, languishing on the sofa with her eyes closed. What was uplifting was that she was nude. In the soft pinkish light, she looked delicious. On a warm night, her nudity was unexceptionable.”

“He sneaked up on the woman silently. Her long blonde hair further cushioned her head. Bending over her from behind, he clamped a hand over her mouth. Her soft lips were parted. With the other hand, he grabbed her by the throat. Then it all went terribly wrong. He heard a terrible scream. It had burst from his brain. It had then worked its way to his lungs and then to his throat. Blindly, he rushed out of the room.”

“He found himself in the master bedroom. In the soft green light, he saw yet another unclad body. But this one was different. It did not attract him as had the other dead one. A huge knife handle was sticking out of the back of the male body. This time he heard no scream.”

“Still running wildly, with the testosterone now replaced by bile rising into his throat, he found an exit. It was the side door. He rushed out, only to trip over the dead body of a very large dog. “It all went terribly wrong” was his thought as he crashed to the ground. As he fell, his head hit a concrete pillar. As he lost consciousness, he felt a strange sense of gratitude; the dog could not bite him.”

“In the meanwhile, a neighbor had rung the police. She was an elderly woman, made slight by wear and tear. She was in poor health, with weak eyes, but with excellent hearing. She had told the police that she had heard screams from next door. … … The latter were screams of joy, she had said to the police. Even in her present physical condition, she was able to remember her own experiences. For memory is not a function of age but of significance.”

“The police finally arrived. They usually do. … … Unsurprisingly, he tripped over the dead dog in the dark. As he fell, his revolver was discharged accidentally. The bullet hit the man in black just as he was trying to get up.”

” The ghosts, seeing all and hearing all, including private human thoughts, giggled to themselves with silent glee as they glided away gracefully to that gargantuan garden for ghosts.”

(This is one of the short, short stories in my book of fiction ‘Pithy Perspectives.’)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Of mice and morality – a parable for adults” (Part 1)

This last piece of bicultural fiction in my book “Pithy Perspectives” has entranced readers. I offer it in segments, because of its length, but also to allow ‘Wordpress’ readers to digest the events presented. The New South Wales President of the Federation of Australian Writers was quite entranced by this parable.

The Plan

House spoke. He had the right to speak first because he was the Elder of the tribe. Speaking first has traditionally been understood in all manner of societies to indicate unobtrusively, implicitly, and without further sign or signal the authority necessary to lead. Yet, it was also understood that age or seniority did not necessarily deliver that authority. However, House’s tribe had agreed in that democratic way that had been lost since the demise of the Athenians (who, one might remember, had resided in that location which, nearly 1,500 years later, had become part of a new nation called Greece), that House was entitled to speak first.

So, House the mouse spoke first. But, as soon as he started to articulate his scrambled thoughts, for rapidly advancing age does tend to scramble – as with an egg in a frying pan being man-handled (so to speak) – thoughts, both formed and preformed, Mona (his number one wife) began to moan. Her moaning did not, however, discomfit the tribe because Mona always knew what House was going to say – so she claimed.

Was she clairvoyant? On the contrary, she had lived with House long enough to anticipate not only his words but also his thoughts. Ah, so she thought! She really should have consulted his sainted mother, now in the land of the angels, and thereby able to guide her. For House was not a common house mouse (that is how he received his pseudonym) or even a garden mouse. He was indeed an intellectual mouse who, when the moon was in conjunction with Pluto (not the neighbor’s dog), could not only see into the future but also anticipate trouble. That might explain why he had not been eaten by Whicky, the Persian cat who shared the house with him.

Whicky, so named by little Virginia who, at age eighteen months, had displayed the normal age-related inability to say certain sounds, was a very relaxed beast. He must have been since he seemed unable to see or even sense the presence of House when they were only a meter apart in the kitchen. But Whicky was not the problem. It was Mangy Maxwell (MM), Whicky’s best friend, who lived next door, who posed an existence-threatening problem. Existence is, of course, as Whicky had already intuited, an ephemeral matter. Well, not so much matter as energy perhaps. For, as the ancient Hindus have taught, not only is matter interchangeable with energy, all existence is only Maya; that is, neither real (but not in a Platonic sense) nor unreal and that both real and unreal are merely transitory emanations from that ocean of consciousness from which all objects with form and name arise.

To counter MM, the mice in House’s environs had tried travelling en masse. Yet, after each foraging trip through the paddocks adjoining House’s domain, there would be one less member. They believed that cunning MM had somehow managed to side-swipe into his maws one of their lot.

House had finally decided to have a confabulation. He, in his Whicky-derived wisdom – because it was Whicky’s demeanor which had allowed House to grow old and thereby wise – knew what the solution was. But, before he could speak, Mona had risen with all the authority of ancient wives to speak for him. Big mistake! Wife number two, Angelina, much younger and not as bound by habituation, was not about to let Mona upstage House. So she broke into the moaning that had just begun to flow like water over-flowing a bathtub and insisted – ever so courteously and in that acceptable voice of gentility which is far more persuasive than any other kind of oral delivery – that House should have his leadership say.

Gratefully, House stood up (on his hind legs of course) and spoke. He spoke with that authority which can only come from leadership – whether imposed or earned. He uttered these words of profound wisdom: “We need to bell that cat!”

 

The Problem

Thus, in the beginning were the words. The words were: “We need to bell that cat!”

Then came the void – the void of ocean-deep silence. And what silence! Was there such a silence after God had said to her entourage, “I am, there I create”?

The silence convinced House that he had not dropped a clanger. His suggested solution for the tribe was sound. That terrible silence surrounded the mice and suspended all potential sounds in much the same way as a sea mist seeps onto its foreshore, engulfing, as it were, all other matter whether alive or dead, animate or inanimate, conscious or unconscious. The silence which had suddenly flooded the consciousness of the mice was not as heavy as that winter fog that can press down upon one with its weight of moisture about to be deposited without discrimination upon freedom-filled flesh or feathers. It was also not like the summer mist that filters the dawning light to produce an enlightening glow which yet renders insubstantial all that it subsumes.

Instead, in that deep void of silence, all the brains brought to the confabulation of mice suddenly went berserk. Never had these brains been so stimulated. Never had the normal chatter of trivia which so occupies the lives of mice (and mankind) been silenced by the enormity of this plan of concerted action. And thus and thereby, all the brains went into hyper-drive. If channeled into some kind of propulsive mechanism, collectively they could have found themselves in one of the inter-galactic “worm-holes” alleged by certain speculative cosmologists to link any one universe with another.

But then what would mice know about the Cosmos? On the other hand, how are we humans to know whether intergalactic or interstellar travelers (viz. anthropologists, members of the food supply industry, or armament merchants) have not already insinuated themselves into each and every life-form on Earth? If this has already happened, it would only be an extension of the now well-known path of neo-colonialism. This process of entrapment of the resources and minds of “others” (that is, those who are not “us”) is currently being propagated with a prodigious proficiency by the lust of the last of the white-skinned colonizers. As ever, similarly pigment-deficient accumulators of the assets of others had, over a few recent centuries, not accepted that all humans are but projections from the one and only Creator of the universe and that the urge to control resources that transitorily belong to “others” is truly futile. After all, one cannot even take one’s material body into the ether on Judgment Day. It must be admitted, however, that mice normally do not bother themselves with matters which preoccupy the minds of socially sensitive souls of the human kind, intergalactic and interstellar observer-participants of mice (and mankind) possibly (and probably) excluded.

After an extended silence of the void created by many minds in gear, one mouse started to speak. In his excitement at having suddenly produced a clear and undeniable thought, he forgot to ask for permission to speak from the chairman, his tribal leader. House therefore would not accept his right to stand up (on his hind legs of course) and to speak. As soon as the others saw Porthos (the mouse who thought that he had a clear and undeniable thought) stand up, they erupted. Vesuvius, that great volcano of ancient lore, would have been envious. Fortunately, unlike that eruption that had destroyed Pompeii, the eruption at the confabulation of mice was only oral. An observer of this aural reverberation might be forgiven for remembering, with some amusement, that famous childhood aphorism: “I tought I tought I saw a puddy tat”. For any vision of the pussycat MM, whether real, imagined, or illusory, would certainly have caused a comparable decampment.

The dam was now broken. All those mouse brains in gear, silently churning all manner of clear ideas and fragmentary thoughts as well as visions and feelings not quite ready to be transformed mentally into unspoken words now switched from processing to projection. All that mental grinding, not unlike the grinding of the tectonic plates below the surface of Earth, led to the uplifting into potentially vocal sounds, again not unlike the uplifting of ground-up magma within a volcano, and finally to that mighty explosion of sound. Vesuvius would indeed have been envious.

In the process, poor Porthos was drowned out, but only aurally. Even if the sounds were all near-subliminal squeaks, the uproar was truly deafening. But House cleverly allowed them all to jump up and down and have their say. This they all did simultaneously. He realized that all that brain-power had to be released. He therefore waited patiently for that strange phenomenon demonstrated by large vocal groups: when all the froth and fury of self-expression had been exhausted, there would be a silence – the silence of uncertainty. The unspoken question would then be: “Where do we go from here?” Or, more pithily (as that great Chinese sage Lin Yu Tang might have said to his porcine pet): “What now, old sow?’

 

 

The West needs the USA

Realism requires us to accept that the Western world needs a strong USA to counter China, were this nation to enter into a payback mode; that is, to reprimand all those nations which sought to obtain a foothold on its home ter­ritory in an earlier century. Those incursions caused great damage to the people and their heritage.

But then the Western world needs not only the USA but also a friendly China and a united Europe (including Russia) to contain militant Islam’s growth. Were Islam to take over the world, what would happen to the liquor industry, the Christianising industry, the prostitution industry, and the usury industry? However, since the nations of Europe seem incapable of burying their sectarian or other ethno-cultural differences, one can only hope that the Sunni-Shia divide is like the Rift Valley of Africa.

A final question? Is the USA capable of becoming truly civilised, (that is, to look after all of its people) in order to receive the respect it needs as the leader of free peoples? What it needs to do at home, and how it has to treat other people, are surely self-evident.

These are extracts from my book ‘Musings at death’s door: an ancient bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society’

Who decides on who can enter Australia?

After the invasion and occupation of terra australis (not nullius), and the indigenes had been driven out, shot or poisoned, an attempt was made to create a white enclave in the Pacific in which no white man would disdain any kind of work. But the squattocracy (which a clever writer described as behaving “as if they had begotten themselves”) sought coolies from China and Japan.

It took the ruling class some time to realise that the stress of coping with a difficult land and climate could be alleviated by utilising the cheap labour under their societal feet.

Finding themselves on a good wicket, Australia’s rulers closed the door on all coloured entrants. By the end of the 20th century, the entry door having been widened progressively, the door was fully open. Yet, sensibly, immigration officials permitted entry only after a face-to-face assessment of applicants for immigrant and refugee entry as to their ability to settle successfully (ie. integrate) into Australian society. No ‘ghettos’ were formed. Any attempt to introduce the ethno-religio-political problems of countries of origin were squashed.

The 2002 Census data showed, however, that most of the Asians in Australia were East Asians, the majority of whom had declared themselves to be Christians. Yet, I read in a recently published book that the highest-income Asian communities came from the Indian sub-continent, with the lowest from East Asia!

Soon, Australia’s immigrants ranged from the post-1948 Europeans, to post-1960s Levantines, then to Asians of all colours, to humanitarian entrants (HE) from East Asia, to immigrants and selected refugees from all over the globe. We were truly cosmopolitan.

Then came the sharia seekers, asking Australia to change its institutions to suit them. Their predecessors in Australia’s brief history included the Roman Catholics who had to have a separate education system – a right now available to any ethno-religious community. Division did commence early. It was sustained in the 1970s and 1980s by 2 faulty policies – multiculturalism policy, which involved the government telling us how to relate to one another (beware Big Brother!); and permitting, at a very high cost, a dual migrant settlement service managed according to ethnicity!

However, thanks to Australia’s equal opportunity processes (the old ‘fair-go’ ethos), and to our teachers, the Aussie children of immigrants demonstrated the cohesive pull of an open society. As my grandchildren, with their admixture of Anglo-Celt, German, Italian and Asian genes, have demonstrated, Australia is well on the way to joining the Family of Man. (Refer my books ‘The Karma of Culture’ and ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity’

Then the asylum-seeking ‘boat people’ demanded unlawful ‘back door’ entry to the country (our non-reciprocal and open-ended welfare system is known to be a great attraction). Opportunistic politicians, strategic lawyers, and well-meaning people with no understanding of the politico-economic issues, and the predictable ‘rent-a-crowd’ activists, now bang their respective drums with great vigour.

I haven’t read of anyone of these people offering accommodation, sustenance, and help with finding jobs to the asylum seekers. They expect ‘other peoples’ money to be spent by the government.

Welfare is not a ‘magic pudding.’ Surely personal charity has to be demonstrated by those claiming to be caring. We are now well on the way from ‘my entitlement,’ to ‘their entitlements,’ to ‘your responsibility! What about joining the real world, Guys! Put your hands into your own pockets; and open your doors!!

An issue of sovereignty: The ‘gang-bang’ of China

The following is a list of former foreign enclaves in China.

International

Austro-Hungarian

Belgian

British

French

German

Italian

Japanese

Portuguese

  • Macau colony (1557-1999)

Russian

United States

See also

(Is it now ‘pay-back’ time for China?)

 

 

EARLY MEMORIES: A smorgasbord of characters (2)

On board a small ship travelling from Singapore to Fremantle, my second-class fellow-passengers included ex-servicemen from 3 nations. The oldest was an Australian, one of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces sent to Japan after its surrender. He had remained in Japan after the withdrawal of these Forces because he had married a Japanese woman. As he was not allowed to take his wife back with him, he stayed – working on the family farm.

One of his stories was how the locals came to admire his chest of greying hairs when he worked shirt-less. He was a big man. Since a number of Japanese wives had settled successfully in Australia (indeed, reportedly they had been readily accepted), the Aussie was returning home to plead his case. We wished him success.

He confirmed to me what I had read earlier; that some Aussie troops, on arrival in Japan with the BCOF, had raped women and otherwise attacked other civilians. They, reportedly, saw themselves as retaliating for the deaths in battle of their relatives!

Two of my fellow-passengers were ex-National Servicemen from France. They had fought in the war of independence in Algeria; and had not liked being shot at. They were of my age, and looking forward to a peaceful life (as I was) in Australia. They were terribly jealous of the Englishman, also of comparable vintage; and were not amused at his claim that Malay women are more attractive than white women.

The Englishman, also an ex-National Serviceman, had been based in Malaya. He had not fought anyone, in spite of the attrition provided by communist Chinese terrorists. Subsequently, it was (General?) Templar who had driven these communists out of Malaya (to Thailand?).

What irked the Frenchmen was that the Englishman had been allowed to spend each night with his Malay girl friend in the adjacent kampong; provided he hopped back over the fence in time in the morning. Naturally, he left the Malay girl behind, then claimed that he missed her. However, by the time we reached Fremantle, he was changing his mind about white women. He may have been just a randy youth.

What I saw of the British troops guarding the train that my Aussie wife and I were on, going north from Singapore, was not encouraging. By about 10 pm, some of the soldiers were clearly drunk, and staggering about. That was in spite of the reality that, a week or so before, the communists had blown up the main track. While our train was apparently protected by some sort of vehicle preceding it, we wondered what would happen were the communists to shoot at the train after it had been stopped.

It was time for the British to protect their own troops by sending them home. They were notable characters in their own right.

EARLY MEMORIES: Of how the mighty fell

The most improbable sound of explosions turned out to be bombs falling on to our air field about 3 miles away. It stopped my scratching on my violin. I was 13, and at the end of primary school. The sight of tiny planes (later identified as Japanese) flying higher than the British planes which, visibly and audibly, were unable to reach the attackers, portended the speedy takeover of British Malaya.

Strategically brilliant Japanese forces sank 2 large British ships and, side-stepping attempted defences, took over the Malayan Peninsula in a short time.

Hiding in a rubber estate to avoid any bombing or fighting, 3 young mothers and their 11 children watched the daily movement of British forces. They were moving away from the fighting, and into Singapore. From there they would seek escape. Then, one morning, much shorter men, wearing strange caps, waved back at us. The dreaded Japanese had arrived. We waved no more.

Soon, back in our homes, we saw 2 Japanese soldiers knocking on every door. Two houses away, lived a Christian Indian lady with her son and his Chinese wife. The Indian lady, like many other pro-British Christians and Eurasians, promptly destroyed the pictures of the British royal family hanging on her wall.

When the Japanese knocked on her door, she showed them the receipt given to her son by the first line of invaders when they took his bicycle, and rode off to chase the British forces (including Indians and Australians).

She then somehow communicated to the Japanese we were also her family. My mother, who had opened the door with great trepidation when the Japanese knocked, was astounded when both Japanese clicked their heels, bowed to her, smiled, and said something in Japanese – and moved on! They did not bother to look into either home. We subsequently learnt that the Japanese always gave a signed receipt when they confiscated any mode of transport. They were certainly in a hurry.

We survived the Japanese military occupation but, near the end of the war, my family (and the people in the region) were held to ransom by the Chinese communist Peoples’ Anti-Japanese Army. To demonstrate their control, they killed a few dissenters, leaving their naked bodies by the roadside for all to see.

I sold an expensive sari owned by my mother through an Indian intermediary in the capital. A quarter of that money was stolen by a pick-pocket on a bus. Fortunately, I had enough left to pay the ransom.

I remain anti-communist and anti-colonial. Freedom is of paramount significance, followed by justice.

Settlement, by massacre

When British invaders (how else could they be described?) settled onto hitherto Aboriginal land, the ‘squatters’ killed or drove away the indigene. Purely as an aside, I recall reading that many squatters became so powerful socially that their descendants tended to speak ‘as if they had begotten themselves.’ I have also read that there had been a move to establish an Australian House of Lords. Also mooted was a proposal to import cheap labour from China and Japan.

The following extracts are from an article in a recent issue of ‘The Australian Weekend Magazine’ by Cal Flyn.

“The massacre at Warrigal Creek was one of the bloodiest episodes on the very bloody Australian frontier. In all, somewhere between 80 and 200 Gunai people were slaughtered that day in July 1843, wiping out in a single assault a substantial proportion of the southern Bratowooloong clan. The leader of the Highland Brigade, Angus McMillan … was the ‘Butcher of Gippsland.’… …

The author quotes a news report dated 2005 thus:  “McMillan … and his band of Scottish settlers … are accused of carrying out a genocidal campaign against the  Aborigines for a decade. … … “

Flyn goes on to quote Ricky Mullett, a cultural officer from the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation in Bairnsdale … ‘You know the stories. You know that the official death toll is only a fraction of the total? It was inhuman, what they did to my people. Killed them. Massacred them. Tortured them. Raped them. Murdered them. Your relative … he decimated my people. And he got away with it.’

More from Ricky Mullett: ‘McMillan’s men chased them all the way from Bushby Park, trapped them on that bluff, and shot them down into the water. Crowds of them. … ‘  Flyn continues: “Here, the fleeing Gunai were herded together like cattle and forced from the hilltop, he said. Men, women and children. Think of the hysteria, the crush, the desperation, as feet scrabbled for purchase and hands grasped for handholds. Men stood on the opposite bank of the river below, shooting any survivors. The bodies all washed to sea.”

Ricky Mullett of the Gunai people concludes his story to Cal Flyn (a great-great-great niece of Angus McMillan): ‘We won’t forget, but we don’t bear a grudge.’ And ‘You won’t understand. You’ll never understand.’

Refer ‘Thicker than Water’ by Cal Flynn.