#AceNewsReport – Apr.26: “ When I wake up to Anzac Day, and the fighter jets are flying overhead, I just get a full feeling of dread in my body,” the community health worker said:
Kindness & LoveX❤️ says that on everyone indigenous, from another country should feel included: This lady on Anzac Day, the regional town of Lismore is ensuring no Australian feels like an ‘outsider’
updated 15h ago
“I know that those fighter jets are being used in conflicts overseas to bomb people like me.
“I’m very aware that my ancestors were the enemy.”
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Until recent years, Ms Lampis felt she had no way to engage with Anzac Day.
However, thanks to an annual Remembering and Healing event – and a corresponding interfaith service – held in the Northern NSW city of Lismore, Ms Lampis has found a way to be included in this national day.
“[They] give me a reason to leave the house, and a place to bring my grief at my ancestral experiences of war,” she said.
“And to envision the Australia that I want to live in – [one] that really embraces the multicultural community and perspectives, as we walk together.”
Respecting all sides
Lismore’s Remembering and Healing events have been running since 2009.
Today, they are attended by people representing 11 different faiths and more than 50 countries.
German-born Australian Sabina Baltruweit is one of the lead organisers.
She moved to Australia in her 30s in 1984, and, like Ms Lampis, felt a sense of discomfort on Anzac Day.
“I felt like an outsider, because the doors are open to glorification of war, even just a little bit, and that gives me the total creeps,” she said.
Ms Baltruweit feels that in Germany, commemorations of war come with greater acknowledgement of suffering caused to all sides, and a commitment to lasting harmony.
And it’s these values – inclusiveness, reconciliation and peace – that she has tried to instil with Lismore’s Remembering and Healing events.
Ms Baltruweit points out the events are not an alternative, but additional, to traditional Anzac Day services.
“Too often the comments have been that we don’t respect Australian soldiers enough, and that is absolutely not the case,” Ms Baltruweit said.
“It’s because we respect the suffering war brings, on all sides – for military and civilians, and second and third generations – [that] we need to make a very big commitment to not resort to war.”
Honouring Indigenous soldiers
The Remembering and Healing events also provide an important space for local First Nations people. This year, elder Aunty Thelma James will perform the Welcome to Country.
Widjabul Wia-bal Githabul and Yorta Yorta woman, and candidate for Lismore City Council, Cindy Roberts, says too often Indigenous soldiers are forgotten in the Anzac Day narrative.
“They were brothers, and in their suits were the same, they didn’t distinguish race,” she said.
“But when they came home, they were divided again.”
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Ms Roberts says the echoes of this injustice are still felt today.
She believes official Anzac commemorations should include the sounds of the didgeridoo and clapsticks, alongside The Last Post on the trumpet, and feature traditional smoking ceremonies to honour fallen soldiers.
“We always hold smoking ceremonies for our loved ones lost, and for death, sorrow and healing,” Ms Roberts explained.
“When you prepare a smoking ceremony, you’re speaking to that fire – you can speak love, healing protection, strength – and what goes into the fire comes out through the smoke.”
In Adelaide, Australian Army veteran and RSL Anzac Day committee chair, Ian Smith, began his dawn service address with an acknowledgement of the Kaurna people as the “traditional custodians of the Adelaide region”.
But he also spoke of the need for a greater recognition of the sacrifices of Aboriginal people in uniform.
He told the 2,500 people gathered at the city’s National War Memorial that Indigenous veterans often came home to the same discrimination they had endured before they left.
“Despite obstacles placed in their way for many years, Aboriginal men and women have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with their non-Aboriginal brothers and sisters in every war that Australia has fought since the Boer War,” he said.
“They often returned to the same discrimination and marginalisation that they endured before their service and many were excluded from the comradeship of their fellows.
“We also acknowledge there is more to do in recognising their service.”
Australia’s changing face
As a Turkish-Australian and lecturer in theology, philosophy and history at Charles Sturt University, Mehmet Ozalp agrees it’s important to reflect on the struggles behind our nation’s history.
Mr Ozalp spoke at a previous Remembering and Healing event, and was struck by the active role that Australians from all backgrounds played in the proceedings.
“Conceptualising the Anzac tradition to include only Anglo-Australians … and just keep it as the dawn service limits its inclusive potential, because Australia has evolved and changed over time,” he said.
“I think there is a need to really think about what the Anzac tradition means, and to see in which ways we can include all Australians.”
Previous Remembering and Healing interfaith events have included addresses by Japanese Buddhist Reverend Shigenobu Watanabe, Northern Rivers Muslim Association President Abdul Aziz, and Reverend Christian Ford from the Lismore Anglican Church.
While Anzac Day still carries mixed emotions for many Australians, Mr Ozalp believes it’s important to continue the tradition.
“I don’t want it to dissipate because it’s about the history of Australia,” he said.
“Rightly or wrongly, Australia took part in certain wars, and people died, and people suffered. That has an impact on the character of the nation.”
#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Apr.26: 2021:
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