Thursday, 16 September 2010

Worth the Fight


I woke up this morning feeling particularly itchy. Metaphorically. It was as if there was something under my skin. Stress, probably. Usually what happens is I hear my inner voice getting increasingly louder, and my thoughts spinning faster. It sometimes takes me a few days to catch up with myself. Something I often do when I’m feeling like this, is step outside with my camera for a walk. Today it was Coromandel Valley.

I parked my car at the war memorial gardens and read about how, following WW1, this little community contributed an average of two weeks wage to cover the cost for the memorial to be built for their neighbours who fought for them.

I meandered down the main street, where I met a lovely elderly man who was particularly excited about the new footpath that was being paved. We talked for about half an hour about the area. He had lived there his entire life, and built his current home in the sixties. His parents had owned some of the land that is now the community oval. When they sold it to a developer, he and the community petitioned the local council to ensure the land was not used for new housing developments but a shared community space.

This conversation, along with my experience at the memorial led to some serious thinking about my own commitment to the things I care about, whether that be house, country, community or justice. Sadly, I think that something our generation has lost is that compulsion to stand up for what we believe in. We have become very complacent. It’s interesting that one of the traits of Australian culture is our “she’ll be right” attitude. It certainly hasn’t always been the case. Those before us fought.

Why, I wonder, has this changed? Is it a natural result of diversity and tolerance? Perhaps it’s compassion fatigue? Or is it just that the majority of us are not in want or conflict? What can we do to change? 

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