Paula Levis, October 2014

In Anna Goldsworthy’s illuminating article (September), she attests, “To strip a people of both land and language, as we have done, amounts to a double displacement, from within and without.” Who is this “we”? I know it’s not me or my Greek migrant ancestors. And I don’t think it’s recent Sudanese immigrants, Vietnamese refugees or indeed the inspirational Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann on whom the article is based. In choosing to live in this country, most will accept and deplore the lurid history of settlement and the heinous crimes that were committed against Aboriginal people in the name of colonisation and progress. I do not understand and will not accept, however, being thrown into one of either camp of “us” or “them”. The issues facing indigenous Australians and the ways in which other Australians are involved in them are infinitely complex. Keeping “us” at a distance by implying “we” are or have been the perpetrators does little to unite new generations of Australians and can in no way assist with healing.

Paula Levis
Northcote, VIC